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How to earn less than nothing

Some companies, often created with Internet, have tried to assemble different users around precise themes : arts, cuisine, banks, cars ... by offering them free services (studies, bulletin boards, discussion forums, distribution lists) with the aim of selling them products or services. Halfway between distribution services and publishing content, between the free origins of Internet and the commercial ethic that businesses are trying to impose, these communities are a compromise that attract a large number of users who not only connect to these sites en masse but are beginning to buy these services.

The economic efficiency of these different types of commercial presence vary from the simple to a hundredfold. The Winsome Website, mentioned earlier, could perfectly well have been a dead loss had it not managed to integrate a relevant global approach. And there's the rub : finding a relevant strategy.

The commonest mistakes when starting thinking about it

The test syndrome

It's understandable that the majority of businesses begin life on Internet with a shop-window type site, which involves minimal investment and can evolve later towards more advanced economic forms as it learns the usage and customs of Internet. On the other hand, it is questionable what lessons the creators of these sites hope to learn. This first site is seen as a test to evaluate the commercial potential of the Web for this company. This is paradoxical, since a site's success depends on the budget invested, but above all on the commercial concepts put into practice and a good working knowledge of electronic commerce. So, clearly, if a company creates a shop window site, it must be aware that this only allows it to exist on Internet, and will be more a pretext for thinking long-term commercially than a real means of measuring, evaluating or planning.

Considering Internet as a technological gamble

Internet is important for a company because it will help to reorganise its information systems. And it's natural to associate Internet with the idea of software, protocol, security, hypertext navigation, multimedia functions and connection to Internet access providers. Basically, non-Internet users think of it like this, and company directors far too often fall into this category. The lack of analysis of this phenomenon means that Internet projects are left entirely to the computer department, who naturally seek to keep control of the tool which arousing such a total craze. Controlling the Internet is seen by the computer department not only as its legitimate right, but also desirable in the company's interest, bearing in mind that the most intensive computer users are found in the computer department. This also suits the other departments, who use Internet little, because of the apparent complexity of this new medium, and don't see themselves capable of even partially managing the project.

However, I hope by now that my readers are convinced that it is not a simple gamble on the part of the computer experts.


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If you enjoyed this site, we obviously share values: we have written it in 1999 !

We haven't updated it online as the vision still is more and more relevant: the more the internet matures, the closer it gets to our vision.

We still believe in innovation, creativity, rigour and results control.

Contact us if you need webmarketing services:

Raphael Richard, founder

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