I-Show '96 brings top exhibitors to Louisville
May 5, 1996
By JIM BROOKS
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
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
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.