Transcript of Frankel's Free Clinic February 8, 1999

RobFrankel (2/8/99 8:58 AM): Anybody home? (2/8/99 8:58 AM): Entered the room. (2/8/99 8:58 AM): Good Morning, all! (2/8/99 8:59 AM): Hi everyone. I do internet marketing & promotion - (2/8/99 8:59 AM): It is snowing now near Seattle if anyone asks.

RobFrankel (2/8/99 8:59 AM): Yes, and I've actually spoken to Chaz's class at UCLA...

Ira Pasternack (2/8/99 8:59 AM): Hi All, good to be here, first time in a while (not including a few times I was able to lurk for a few minutes :) (2/8/99 9:00 AM): And Rob was great. My students really loved him. (2/8/99 9:00 AM): Ira, how far back do the archives for the tips go?

RobFrankel (2/8/99 9:00 AM): Is Paul-waby still here?

Jim Dattilo (2/8/99 9:00 AM): Entered the room. (2/8/99 9:01 AM): Yeah. Hi!

RobFrankel (2/8/99 9:01 AM): Okay, who's first today? (2/8/99 9:02 AM): I am going to be first lurker...I learn from reading this chat.

RobFrankel (2/8/99 9:02 AM): Paul or Jim -- haven't seen you here before -- what can I do for you today?

Ira Pasternack (2/8/99 9:03 AM): My archives are in a transition stage right now, Guy.

Jim Dattilo (2/8/99 9:03 AM): I was here a few weeks ago... you helped with some sponsorship questions

Ira Pasternack (2/8/99 9:03 AM): My archives are in a transition stage right now, Guy. (2/8/99 9:03 AM): Entered the room. (2/8/99 9:03 AM): Thanks IRA, I am asking about the one for the OOPS file, in particular

Jim Dattilo (2/8/99 9:03 AM): Follow-up to that meeting -- we have gotten a sponsor for March (2/8/99 9:04 AM): Good Morning, M! Told you I'd make it!

RobFrankel (2/8/99 9:04 AM): okay, Paul -- what's WABY,COM? (2/8/99 9:04 AM): Morning People! (2/8/99 9:04 AM): I was on TV this morning. Local ABC & WB affiliates new shows. Talking about Idea Lab's giving away 100K free computers in exchange for them streaming advertising at you. I told them I thought it was a bad idea (privacy issues). Anyone heard about this site (2/8/99 9:04 AM): I think I have a great brand. Altho' my site is under construction, I think its pretty good with the brand all over it, consistently defined. Now I'm trying to think of ways to tell people about it. I have followed all the banner/branding debate etc. It seems that unless you get a big brother like an AOL you go no where! Rob, I'm a huge fan of your writing ability. Thanks for months of enjoyable lurking.

RobFrankel (2/8/99 9:06 AM): No problem, Paul. Are you looking for site promotion? Or do you have the bucks for offline? (2/8/99 9:06 AM): I can't get to ... or is it (2/8/99 9:06 AM): Both

RobFrankel (2/8/99 9:06 AM): My experiences with AOL is that they are generally sloppy, but if you use them for surgical strikes, ,they can be an effective tool. (2/8/99 9:07 AM): How do you start?

RobFrankel (2/8/99 9:07 AM): Yeah, keep in mind that we all tend to visit your URL if you tell us where it is,,,in REAL TIME! (2/8/99 9:07 AM): With AOL that is.

RobFrankel (2/8/99 9:08 AM): The best way to start is with a healthy dose of cynicism: AOL will do their best to push you in front of as many eyeballs as they can. (2/8/99 9:08 AM): it can't locate the server for either of those?!?! (2/8/99 9:08 AM): I do online marketing & promotion. There are no easy answers. You have to grind out the cross-links and promotions one site at a time.

RobFrankel (2/8/99 9:08 AM): They generally have so many uneducated people that they burn you out within 30 days. (2/8/99 9:09 AM): But don't they charge gazillions. Isn't that where all the IPO money seems to go that Yahoo has not already sucked up?

RobFrankel (2/8/99 9:09 AM): That having been said, one thing I like about AOL is their Digital Cities program, which works well for online brands that are terrestrially local. (2/8/99 9:10 AM): Thanks Chaz I guess the way is webmasters one by one

RobFrankel (2/8/99 9:10 AM): ....And AOL will do revenue sharing deals with you that minimize your up front expenses.

RobFrankel (2/8/99 9:11 AM): Paul, our sponsor this month on FrankelBiz is WGI. They are very good at web promotion, because they do search optimization, but more, too. Like newsgroups, etc.

RobFrankel (2/8/99 9:11 AM): And of course, WGI, gives us special FrankelBiz rates!

RobFrankel (2/8/99 9:12 AM): What does your site offer, Paul? (2/8/99 9:12 AM): Paul - You've got to try everything, AOL, banner ads, cross-links, high listings in search engines, etc., etc.

RobFrankel (2/8/99 9:12 AM): (And I'm SURE that Chaz would give you a FrankelBiz discount, too....)

Ira Pasternack (2/8/99 9:12 AM): Guy, you had asked about a specific tip, but I had a phone call and missed your question... just email me at and I'll help you out... (2/8/99 9:13 AM): I've watched the debate on search optimization. First you read that the big 6 is it. Then that all the big guys own it. Then it takes 6-8 weeks to get on. My hope is that if you've got something unique and you push, maybe you'll do OK. or is this too optimistic? (2/8/99 9:13 AM): Paul, let me throw my hat into the ring too. Media Planning, cross links, etc. we do it all

David - Computer Money (2/8/99 9:13 AM): Entered the room.

Ira Pasternack (2/8/99 9:14 AM): Chaz, in general that is great advice to Paul, but imo everything depends on the specifics of the site... not all sites should bother with every single technique

RobFrankel (2/8/99 9:14 AM): NO, it's not too optimistic, but the discipline has progressed to the point where I believe it's worth hiring a specialist. (2/8/99 9:14 AM): Ira, I agree. You do what's appropriate to the site. Don't expect any one strategy alone will do the job.

RobFrankel (2/8/99 9:15 AM): Yes, Ira has a point. There are some categories on engines that are just not worth optimizing on. Too general. Or not targeted enough. (2/8/99 9:15 AM): depends on the business. Some of my clients have great rankings and can depend on engines. On the other hand, some clients have great rankings and don't get great traffic from engines (2/8/99 9:15 AM): Thanks for the reality check. When the URL is ready I'll stop lurking and return.

RobFrankel (2/8/99 9:15 AM): Before you stop lurking, are you at least going to tell us what kind of site it is? (2/8/99 9:16 AM): Thank you IRA, will do.

RobFrankel (2/8/99 9:16 AM): My guess is that it's a TV or radio station....WABY... (2/8/99 9:16 AM): It depends on how many people are looking for you, one of my clients is a gerontology consultant not a common field. (2/8/99 9:16 AM): It's so half ass at the moment. I'd embarrass myself before I have to really embarrass myself

RobFrankel (2/8/99 9:17 AM): Oh, Paul, we're all naked least I am. (2/8/99 9:17 AM): so the engines don't help that much. However after conferences regarding the subject, the number of people searching for them increases. One marketing tactic complementing the other.

RobFrankel (2/8/99 9:18 AM): Nah, just kidding! I'm still in my bath robe, though. And still no coffee! (2/8/99 9:18 AM): Entered the room. (2/8/99 9:18 AM): LOL.

Jim Dattilo (2/8/99 9:18 AM): Our site deals with home business -- almost impossible to be ranked on that term, we've turned to longer terms like "home business strategies" (2/8/99 9:19 AM): The snow is really coming down now, I have to go "check the hatches" etc. have a great week all. (2/8/99 9:19 AM): Sorry I got kicked off. An installation finished and FORCE re-started me.

RobFrankel (2/8/99 9:20 AM): I agree with Muhammad, actually. I strongly believe that creating a community and giving people a reason to come back is where it's at. The web is great for word-of-mouth, but you have to give them something to talk about. (2/8/99 9:20 AM): Rob, are you going to speak at Internet World in Los Angeles?

RobFrankel (2/8/99 9:21 AM): Nobody asked me to speak, Jo Anna, so I guess the answer is no....although I'd like to. It's a perfect venue.

Ira Pasternack (2/8/99 9:22 AM): there is all kinds of talk about "creating community", and I agree that is an important thing to do... on that note, I have a question: How big should the community be when it starts? Anyone ever think abut that one? (2/8/99 9:22 AM): I second what Rob said - read the Ten Web Site tips on my site - community is vital to getting repeat customers.

RobFrankel (2/8/99 9:22 AM): Maybe we should organize a FrankelBiz F2F around that show...

Bruce (2/8/99 9:22 AM): Entered the room. (2/8/99 9:22 AM): Yes Yes! that would be fun!

Ira Pasternack (2/8/99 9:22 AM): And... at what point do you really have a community anyway?

RobFrankel (2/8/99 9:23 AM): JoAnna, let's think about a date and a place.

RobFrankel (2/8/99 9:24 AM): Ira, I don't think it's about numbers. It's about dynamics. If you have 15 people who are incredibly active, it's better than having 1,000 lurkers.

RobFrankel (2/8/99 9:24 AM): I think you have a community when you start seeing business coming in from points where you have never been. (2/8/99 9:25 AM): The show ends at 6 every nite, and at 4 on Friday, but I already have another networking event that night, so Thurs would be best for me. Let's discuss offline?!

RobFrankel (2/8/99 9:25 AM): On my site, for example, I get a lot of requests for publication notification of my book. These people are finding me from somewhere else...people reprint my articles, and they send people my way, too.

Ira Pasternack (2/8/99 9:26 AM): I strongly agree with your first point there Rob, that's where I was headed with my question... but not so sure about your second point, as I'm not so sure that new business has to be the focus of community...

RobFrankel (2/8/99 9:26 AM): Yes, Jo Anna, let's connect offline and then we can post it to the list.

RobFrankel (2/8/99 9:27 AM): Ira, if new business isn't the point of community, why be on the web in the first place? Unless you're doing the non-profit altruistic thing...

Ira Pasternack (2/8/99 9:27 AM): Another one to think about - how is "virtual community" similar to and different from real live in-person community? (remember those? ;)

RobFrankel (2/8/99 9:27 AM): Community is a by-product of the business -- a welcome one -- but a by-product nonetheless.

RobFrankel (2/8/99 9:28 AM): It's not different, except for the increased openness you find online. It's easier to join online because there's less social risk.

Ira Pasternack (2/8/99 9:29 AM): Rob, I'd say that business is one aspect of a community.

RobFrankel (2/8/99 9:29 AM): The central point is that people gather around a central focus. In this case, it's an issue which can also link to commerce, usually offering solutions to that purpose. (2/8/99 9:30 AM): Like, as Rob said, he's in his robe... I'm much more likely to come talk to y'all if I don't have to shower FIRST. (thank goodness video phones are a long way off for the masses!)

RobFrankel (2/8/99 9:30 AM): Okay, what's another -- with regard to our purposes here? I mean, we're here to do business, not just whine about it (<---FrankelBiz tagline) (2/8/99 9:30 AM): Community depends on what type of a site you have and what its purpose is.

RobFrankel (2/8/99 9:31 AM): Ira, what purpose does community serve for you?

Ira Pasternack (2/8/99 9:32 AM): Rob, I'm not just talking about the FB community, my questions relate to the community I'm building... and I've recently changed my focus a bit, to try to build a community in an organic fashion, modeled more after the way a real community might form (or the way one would in a frontier anyway) (2/8/99 9:33 AM): Entered the room. (2/8/99 9:34 AM): Personally, I come here to listen to other peoples questions. Often, the questions asked here come from issues that other companies are dealing with that haven't plagued me yet. I get support by learning from others' trials and tribulations. (2/8/99 9:34 AM): Ira - how do you build community in an organic fashion? It builds itself, methinks, and is chaotic in nature, much like the internet itself. (2/8/99 9:34 AM): ...and I help others when I can

RobFrankel (2/8/99 9:34 AM): Well, Ira, then your question goes to the heart of your overall strategy. What's the point of your new strategy (without revealing too much)?

Ira Pasternack (2/8/99 9:35 AM): Here's the deal... in the past, I was focused on quantity not quality... now, I'm looking to start very small, and build slowly... starting with current clients, improving my service to them by bringing in some new people who can provide greater expertise in their niche than I can myself... (2/8/99 9:36 AM): Ira - what's your URL?

RobFrankel (2/8/99 9:36 AM): Ira, that's very close to the FrankelBiz origin. I started by telling my Clickz readers that I was leaving..and a couple hundred followed over to FrankelBiz. It grew form there.

Ira Pasternack (2/8/99 9:37 AM): I'm building a community that is starting with a core group of "providers" to help clients with Internet business (around 5-6 providers, each with their own niche, but some overlap also)...

RobFrankel (2/8/99 9:38 AM): You're going to have to invent some neat programs. And since I can't imagine your providers are working for free, they must have SOME motivation... (2/8/99 9:38 AM): (2/8/99 9:36 AM): Ira - what's your URL?

Ira Pasternack (2/8/99 9:39 AM): And that core group will provide services to a group of clients, and the clients will also in some cases provide services to other clients ("members") as well as to providers... sorry if this is a bit confusing, I have been struggling with some of the descriptive aspects, but I'm getting close and will be posting to the list soon about this... (2/8/99 9:40 AM): Sounds interesting, what industry are you in?

Ira Pasternack (2/8/99 9:40 AM): my URL is - FYI, I'm meeting with several of the providers I mentioned later today to start a major redesign of the site

RobFrankel (2/8/99 9:40 AM): So Ira, are you mining data that you can resell to other producers?

RobFrankel (2/8/99 9:42 AM): (BTW, if anyone has any questions, please feel free to jump in)

Ira Pasternack (2/8/99 9:42 AM): I'm no where near the need for "mining" (I don't think, anyway), as I'm dealing with small numbers... this is VERY one-to-one... there will be some limited aspects that depend more on "the masses" but the Community is the core group...

RobFrankel (2/8/99 9:42 AM): Bruce? Klee?

RobFrankel (2/8/99 9:43 AM): Then maybe your definition of Community might be different than the commonly used term.

Ira Pasternack (2/8/99 9:43 AM): In other words, the Community is the service providers and the members... these are like the people who live in a community... "the masses" are just people passing though (some regularly, others just once)

RobFrankel (2/8/99 9:43 AM): Sounds like your community is a small cadre of professionals, almost a salon.

Bruce (2/8/99 9:43 AM): Sorry for lurking. I arrived late and am trying to catch up to the community..

Ira Pasternack (2/8/99 9:44 AM): That is part of the issue Rob... so, is there a commonly used definition for community? How would you define it?

RobFrankel (2/8/99 9:44 AM): No sweat, Bruce, just didn't want you to feel left out if you had anything to ask.

Bruce (2/8/99 9:44 AM): So can a virtual classroom be a community (this a.m.'s definition of) (2/8/99 9:44 AM): Ira - why would I, say, as a professional, want to be a part of your community?

Jim Dattilo (2/8/99 9:45 AM): Question - it seems we've hit a limit on marketing our site - using the free stuff: cross linking, search engines, LinkExchange - is there a logical next step or is it too case-by-case for an answer?

RobFrankel (2/8/99 9:45 AM): define community as a group of individuals aggregated for a common purpose. (2/8/99 9:46 AM): Maybe newsgroups, band groupies and soccer teams are communities as well. (2/8/99 9:46 AM): Jim- I'll be happy to talk to you offline as to what you want to accomplish and what's next to do.

Ira Pasternack (2/8/99 9:46 AM): that definition fits with my ideas Rob, as long as the size of the group isn't an issue...

RobFrankel (2/8/99 9:46 AM): Jim, you should talk to a pro like Chaz or our sponsor, WGI. If you talk to WGI, tell Dan Geist I sent you. If you talk to Chaz, he's right here, but do it off chat.

RobFrankel (2/8/99 9:46 AM): ANYTHING that unites people in one purpose is a community, as far as I'm concerned.

Jim Dattilo (2/8/99 9:47 AM): ok... I had a feeling that was the next step

RobFrankel (2/8/99 9:47 AM): Size doesn't matter, Ira. Didn't your wife tell you?

Ira Pasternack (2/8/99 9:47 AM): Chaz, providers will have a guaranteed amount of work each month, as well as a team of other specialists they can call upon...

RobFrankel (2/8/99 9:48 AM): FWIW, Jim, I no longer optimize my clients' sites. I hand that duty off to pro's. who can do a better job because they're full timers. (2/8/99 9:48 AM): klee, your site is cool; I'm into the drum&bass! You're testing my German skills, tho!

RobFrankel (2/8/99 9:49 AM): Klee has a point, too, Ira. The stronger the niche, the stronger the community. No matter if it's soccer or rock bands. (2/8/99 9:49 AM): Ira - that's cool. Tell me more - off line.

Ira Pasternack (2/8/99 9:49 AM): But Rob, my point is that if you try to start too big, you won't really have a community, just a group... not all groups are communities - for example, currently I would not quite consider MTOTD a community...

RobFrankel (2/8/99 9:49 AM): But if you want to grow a business, you want your community to grow, I can tell you that much.

RobFrankel (2/8/99 9:50 AM): MTOTD isn't a community because it wasn't moeled that way. I could turn it into a community, if that's what you wanted to do.

RobFrankel (2/8/99 9:50 AM): Oops. I meant "modeled"

Bruce (2/8/99 9:50 AM): Small groups gathered to learn together....just like this one

Ira Pasternack (2/8/99 9:51 AM): I don't quite agree that ANYTHING that unites people is a community, I think it takes (in many cases, at least) a COMBINATION of things that unite people to have a real community... for example, you have your mailing list, this weekly chat, and then other one-on-one communication, as well as f2f meetings that are now starting, etc.

RobFrankel (2/8/99 9:51 AM): You would likely lose membership at first, but you would maintain a core group of users and build from there.

Ira Pasternack (2/8/99 9:52 AM): Rob, that is sort of what I'm doing, but I'm not turning mtotd into the community, instead I'll use that as one tool available to the community...

RobFrankel (2/8/99 9:52 AM): True, but those are varying executions on a central theme. In every one of those executions, members know that I'm there to help them grow their businesses.

Ira Pasternack (2/8/99 9:52 AM): And I agree that this will very likely lead to some loss of subscribers, but the key is quality not quantity :)

RobFrankel (2/8/99 9:52 AM): Ira, why even bother? Simply announce to MTOTD that you starting a community and let them come.

RobFrankel (2/8/99 9:54 AM): (FIVE MINUTE WARNING)

Ira Pasternack (2/8/99 9:55 AM): Makes sense Rob... I'm thinking about the differences between FB and what I'm working on, and I think a key one is that FB has you as the "dictator"... I'm looking at a more democratic model

Bruce (2/8/99 9:56 AM): a benevolent dictator it seems (2/8/99 9:56 AM): Pls. allow me to use the community's collective brain: can anyone recommend a teambuilding Organization? I'm planning a retreat near San Diego, and we need a group to help our group be more cohesive. Pls. email me off line.

RobFrankel (2/8/99 9:57 AM): Ira, I will be announcing at least one new program to the FB's this month. And possibly two more by April. But I'm sticking to my main core issues....

RobFrankel (2/8/99 9:57 AM): All of these "higher" level programs will be focused on building list members' businesses at low cost or free.

Ira Pasternack (2/8/99 9:57 AM): Definitely benevolent, but still a dictator... without Rob, there wouldn't be much to FB... without me, once "my" community is off the ground, it will be able to grow just as well as with me

RobFrankel (2/8/99 9:58 AM): Thanks, Ira, but the truth is that the community has spawned a number of profitable relationships. I have the fan letters to prove it.

Ira Pasternack (2/8/99 9:58 AM): Thanks for all your help everyone, I'll be posting to the list soon with more on the ideas I've alluded to here...

David - Computer Money (2/8/99 9:59 AM): Good Luck, Ira!

RobFrankel (2/8/99 9:59 AM): I cast myself in the role of dictator only because that's what it takes to lay down a vision. It also suits my personality.....

RobFrankel (2/8/99 9:59 AM): (ONE MINUTE)

Ira Pasternack (2/8/99 9:59 AM): I don't need letters Rob, I've formed several of those myself... but if you left, and no one stepped in as a replacement, no new relationships could really form...

RobFrankel (2/8/99 10:00 AM): I think you're underestimating the strength of the community...

RobFrankel (2/8/99 10:00 AM): Okay, you guys, I've gotta run. But you are most welcome to continue as long as you want. You can also use this site to meet any time you like during the week. See you online!

Jim Dattilo (2/8/99 10:01 AM): have a good day everyone....

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