I-Show '96 brings top exhibitors to Louisville

May 5, 1996


If there was a common denominator among conversations at Iglou's I-Show '96, held March 27 at the Kentucky Fair and Exposition Center in Louisville, it was the explosive popularity of the Internet.

I-Show '96 was an Internet-oriented conference open to the public, but aimed primarily at the subscribers of Iglou, a Louisville-based Internet service provider.

The growth of the Internet continues to be nothing short of phenomenal, said Elizabeth Lawler owner of Lawler Creative Services.

Lawler's Louisville company offers Internet-related creative services, and her presentation for I-Show attendees was a media professional's view of what makes a great Web presence.

Keeping up with new technology and Web page design is a challenge for any professional, she said. ``I may say something today that will be wrong by this time tomorrow.''

CYBERGRRL. I-Show attendees were fortunate to also have the opportunity to hear a presentation by Aliza Sherman, also known on the Web as Cybergrrl.

Sherman's New York-based Cybergrrl Internet Media started as an on-line public relations firm, but quickly blossomed into a developer of interactive content and complete Web sites.

The Cybergrrl concept soon grew to include Webgrrls, an international networking group from women interested in new media.

``I went to these (Internet) conferences and I would look around and see mainly men and think, `Now who here can I talk to?' '' Sherman said of the origins of Cybergrrls.

And when it comes to planning a Web site, Sherman said marketing strategies should really be no different from any other media. ``But you need to be sure your audience is on line,'' she said.

Educating the audience you want to reach will help, she said. Free seminars and demonstrations of Internet use, and newsletters can help let people know about your Web site.

And while there's not much buying and selling going on directly over the Internet, Sherman thinks this will change as consumers become more comfortable with sending credit card and debit information over the Internet.

It's not a security issue as much as it is one of becoming more familiar with the new technology, Sherman said. ``The reality is, it is safer for you to e-mail your credit card number than to carry it around in your pocket,'' she said.

NETSCAPE NEWS. On Monday, Netscape Communications announced the beta release of Netscape Navigator 3.0.

With plans for a new-and-improved (and fully tested) Navigator release by the end of June, Netscape is hustling to fix a number of problems aimed at making the Web easier to navigate and improve security for credit card transactions.

Netscape is racing to maintain its lead over Microsoft, which announced its change in business strategy late last year to make connectivity with the Internet a priority.

Navigator 3.0 includes technology developed by VeriSign Inc. to allow identification of users with electronic ID certificates. These certificates will allow businesses to verify the identity of Web browsing patrons.

Heavy demand on Netscape's server may mean that like me, you won't get in very easily to download the new software. Try after midnight or before 8 a.m. for fastest downloads.

STUDY VERIFYS WEB'S POPULARITY. A new University of Kentucky study confirms what most of us using the World-Wide Web are witnessing: businesses are racing to establish themselves and their products on the Internet.

Researchers at UK's Carol Martin Gatton College of Business and Economics studied 212 companies that advertise on the Web and found that most executives feel the Internet will ``enhance their competitiveness or create strategic advantage.''

But as has been chronicled elsewhere, the results aren't in as to the effectiveness of going on line.

The researchers found requests for information on products and services outnumbered actual sales on the Web. Al Lederer, a UK professor of decision science and information systems, said that many businesses are launching Web sites as ``defensive strikes,'' since they know their competitors are also establishing a presence on the Web.

``Probably no business will stand to gain a significant edge by participating in the rush to the Web, but those who fail to participate stand to lose big,'' Lederer said.

TANGLED IN THE WEB? An Associated Press story earlier this week reported that more than two dozen congressmen's Web pages may have broken congressional rules.


Existing rules say congressmen may use the Internet for official business, much like their free postage service.

And the free postage can't be used for campaign materials. But some lawmaker's Web sites contained links to their political campaigns, lobbying groups, and a host of other partisan sites on the Internet.

And much of the information found at these links wouldn't fall under the official business designation for free congressional mail. So what's a law-abiding congressman to do?

``It's still sort of the Wild West of communication at this point and we're all sort of waiting to agree on what is and what isn't the best way to use this new medium,'' said Matt Raymond, a spokesman for Sen. Conrad Burns, R-Mont.

Until then, congressional staff members are examining their pages for what could be construed as improper links, while the House Oversight Committee rewrites its rules and the Senate's Rules Committee and Ethics Committee determine who should interprets existing Senate rules.

To examine your tax dollars at work, you can find a list of congressional Web pages at http://www.house.gov/MemberWWW.html for the House, and at http://www.senate.gov/senator/members.html for the Senate.

Comments and questions about this column may be sent to jbrooks@myoldkentuckyhome.com, or visit www.myoldkentuckyhome.com on the World Wide Web.

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