Transcript of Frankel's Free Clinic March 22, 1999

Jim O'Donnell (3/22/99 8:55 AM): G'day mates

Terri (3/22/99 8:55 AM): Good morning !!

Michelle Banks (3/22/99 8:56 AM): Hi Terri, Jim :)

Terri (3/22/99 8:57 AM): I guess we're the early birds this morning :)

Teresa (3/22/99 8:57 AM): Entered the room.

Jim O'Donnell (3/22/99 8:57 AM): three minutes and counting

Terri (3/22/99 8:58 AM): Hi Teresa :)

RobFrankel (3/22/99 8:58 AM): Entered the room.

Terri (3/22/99 8:58 AM): Good morning Rob! Got your coffee ? :)

Jim O'Donnell (3/22/99 8:58 AM): hey rob

RobFrankel (3/22/99 8:59 AM): Greetings....Had a Vanilla roast and feeling GREAT!

RobFrankel (3/22/99 8:59 AM): What's up this morning?

Anne Zieger (www.erols.com/azieger) (3/22/99 8:59 AM): Entered the room.

Michelle Banks (3/22/99 8:59 AM): Morning Rob !

Terri (3/22/99 9:00 AM): Yeah!!

Jim O'Donnell (3/22/99 9:00 AM): ok -- since this is my first visit, I'll start. I need $15-million for advertising my new auction/classifieds website at wantads.com. Any suggestions?

Bruce (3/22/99 9:00 AM): Entered the room.

RobFrankel (3/22/99 9:00 AM): Aha! Anne has figured out the old "tag your site" trick!

RobFrankel (3/22/99 9:00 AM): $15 million? Tell me more about the site...

RobFrankel (3/22/99 9:01 AM): ...and have you shopped the deal yet?

Jim O'Donnell (3/22/99 9:01 AM): Nope -- we just got the site up a few days ago

Jim O'Donnell (3/22/99 9:01 AM): wantads.com is a combo of e-bay and classifieds2000

RobFrankel (3/22/99 9:02 AM): And why do you need $15 million? How do you know it's not $25?

Jim O'Donnell (3/22/99 9:03 AM): A lot of money is a lot of money. I could live with ten, but fifteen is better. 25 is even better than that We want to run national advertising.

RobFrankel (3/22/99 9:03 AM): How much has the site capitalized with so far (and remember this is a publicly archived site, so if this is too confidential, steer the conversation in a different direction)

Jim O'Donnell (3/22/99 9:04 AM): we've got about $500k in the bank

RobFrankel (3/22/99 9:04 AM): You've got a great URL, that's for sure. Have you dog and ponied the deal in front of any VC houses?

RobFrankel (3/22/99 9:04 AM): Or any private offerings?

Jim O'Donnell (3/22/99 9:05 AM): Nope. Not yet, and you're right. What sets us apart is the URL and the team. But the missing ingredient is big bucks for a national rollout.

RobFrankel (3/22/99 9:06 AM): Okay, you have two options: formal VC and private equity placement. The former will rip you off, the latter will try...unless you choose carefully

Meg Rottman (3/22/99 9:06 AM): Entered the room.

Jim O'Donnell (3/22/99 9:06 AM): anyone can do an auction site....but we're in the chicken-and-egg stage where we need traffic to stock the shelves and buyers to buy the goods. Both come at once if national promotion can be applied to the site.,

RobFrankel (3/22/99 9:06 AM): Venture guys will do what they can to take a minimum of 60% on the first round -- and they won't even do that unless you have a biz plan to show them.

Jim O'Donnell (3/22/99 9:07 AM): the term "VC" is highly appropriate

Anne Zieger (www.erols.com/azieger) (3/22/99 9:07 AM): Rob, is a comment in order here?

RobFrankel (3/22/99 9:07 AM): I disagree, Jim. Because I've done so many of these kinds of deals, that I'll tell you this: VC's can only be cornered in one circumstance: Frankel's Three P's.

Jim O'Donnell (3/22/99 9:08 AM): business plans are easy for i-net startups. Pick a number, any number lol

RobFrankel (3/22/99 9:08 AM): Jump in any time Anne.

Jim O'Donnell (3/22/99 9:08 AM): 3p's?

Muhammad Lee(www.adgconsulting.com) (3/22/99 9:08 AM): Entered the room.

David Beroff (Freedback.com) (3/22/99 9:08 AM): Entered the room.

Anne Zieger (www.erols.com/azieger) (3/22/99 9:08 AM): Jim, I have a couple of suggestions when Rob's finished

RobFrankel (3/22/99 9:09 AM): Jim, you're my kind of guy. I once looked a VC straight in the eye when he questioned my valuation of a start up. He said, "why is it worth $12 million?"

Jim O'Donnell (3/22/99 9:09 AM): I haven't any earthly idea what its worth. Nor does anyone else. Ask me in three years.

RobFrankel (3/22/99 9:09 AM): I said, "Tell me why it's NOT?" WE got the money -- at 25% higher than the valuation he proposed.

RobFrankel (3/22/99 9:10 AM): Anne, go ahead. Then I'll add my comments.

Anne Zieger (www.erols.com/azieger) (3/22/99 9:10 AM): Jim, forgive me if you're already at this point in either case

Jim O'Donnell (3/22/99 9:10 AM): ROB lol. I like that style. I don't want to hog this conversation, so I'll hush for a while.

Anne Zieger (www.erols.com/azieger) (3/22/99 9:11 AM): But for what it's worth, have you tried getting a major distribution deal before seeking VC?

Anne Zieger (www.erols.com/azieger) (3/22/99 9:11 AM): I'm betting that there are many well-funded companies who could use your core offering/infrastructure

Jim O'Donnell (3/22/99 9:11 AM): ANNE I don't know what you mean by "major distribution deal"

Anne Zieger (www.erols.com/azieger) (3/22/99 9:11 AM): to build out their own business faster than they could

chazaustin.com (3/22/99 9:12 AM): Entered the room.

Jim O'Donnell (3/22/99 9:12 AM): ANNE unless you mean a portal or something similar

Jim O'Donnell (3/22/99 9:12 AM): I don't want to sell a URL -- I want to build a major online enterprise and then sell it

Anne Zieger (www.erols.com/azieger) (3/22/99 9:12 AM): Yes, a portal...or some other e-commerce site that's expanding

Anne Zieger (www.erols.com/azieger) (3/22/99 9:13 AM): understood, but few of those are worth anything without their relationships

Scott Baker (Big Planet) (3/22/99 9:13 AM): Entered the room.

RobFrankel (3/22/99 9:13 AM): Jim, what I want to say is this: VC's want to maximize their profit and minimize their risk. They also like to crowd out inventors.

RobFrankel (3/22/99 9:13 AM): The only way they CAN'T do that is with Frankel's Three P's: convince them that you're Proven, Proprietary and Profitable

Jim O'Donnell (3/22/99 9:14 AM): ROB -- gotcha. But its a chicken-and-egg. Our costs are miniscule, but until we drive major traffic we can't get revenues/profits.

RobFrankel (3/22/99 9:14 AM): If you have 500K in reserves, I'd build a strong branded community FIRST. THEN go after expansion capital. Right now, all you MIGHT get would be $1 million first round, probably from a group that didn't understand how to build you out.

Anne Zieger (www.erols.com/azieger) (3/22/99 9:14 AM): Also, are you doing guerilla PR efforts?

Anne Zieger (www.erols.com/azieger) (3/22/99 9:15 AM): A lot of folks I know who've gotten big bucks tell me that they had a stack of clips first

Jim O'Donnell (3/22/99 9:15 AM): Appreciates the thoughts so far, doesn't want to hog this session, will not shut up for 10 minutes

Anne Zieger (www.erols.com/azieger) (3/22/99 9:15 AM): Rob, maybe you can expound on PR and branding?

Jim O'Donnell (3/22/99 9:16 AM): lol typo -- Freudian -- will NOW shut up for 10 minutes

RobFrankel (3/22/99 9:16 AM): Jim -- and everyone -- dig this: I've just completed a year long study, in which I've found that BRANDED communities (at least the ones I've designed) are reaping response rates of 10% to 25%. With $100K, you could build a huge following.

Jacob (3/22/99 9:16 AM): Entered the room.

David Beroff (Freedback.com) (3/22/99 9:16 AM): Yer not hogging, Jim ; that's what this place is for.

RobFrankel (3/22/99 9:16 AM): As a matter of fact, I just got off the phone this morning with the folks at Prodigy (remember them) who are trying to launch a new brand. They are very interested in this approach.

Tom (3/22/99 9:16 AM): Entered the room.

Jim O'Donnell (3/22/99 9:17 AM): OK Rob I will call you after this session ends. What time is good for you.

RobFrankel (3/22/99 9:17 AM): Correctomundo, Beroff!

Jacob (3/22/99 9:17 AM): Hi, today I am pretty busy, just wanted to come, say hi, and see what topics are being discussed.

RobFrankel (3/22/99 9:17 AM): Any time after the chat, Jim.

Anne Zieger (www.erols.com/azieger) (3/22/99 9:17 AM): Prodigy? muy interesante. :)

RobFrankel (3/22/99 9:17 AM): I'm on the west coast.

Jim O'Donnell (3/22/99 9:17 AM): ok

Anne Zieger (www.erols.com/azieger) (3/22/99 9:17 AM): As always, I'm here to get a better sense of how to brand my business

RobFrankel (3/22/99 9:17 AM): Anne, what were you asking about?

Anne Zieger (www.erols.com/azieger) (3/22/99 9:18 AM): I was just suggesting before that you could share your thoughts on PR and branding

Jim O'Donnell (3/22/99 9:18 AM): ANNE what's your business?

David Beroff (Freedback.com) (3/22/99 9:18 AM): Anne: Start with a domain :-)

RobFrankel (3/22/99 9:18 AM): Well, what are you doing?

Anne Zieger (www.erols.com/azieger) (3/22/99 9:19 AM): Yes David :) that *had* passed through my head :)

Anne Zieger (www.erols.com/azieger) (3/22/99 9:19 AM): but I am hoping to choose the right one

RobFrankel (3/22/99 9:19 AM): First thing Anne, is right on your tag here today: GET YOUR OWN URL!!!

Anne Zieger (www.erols.com/azieger) (3/22/99 9:19 AM): right now I'm doing nothing -- want to frame message and market first

JorgeR (3/22/99 9:19 AM): Entered the room.

Anne Zieger (www.erols.com/azieger) (3/22/99 9:19 AM): for those who don't know -- am transitioning from solo professional to building an Internet research firm

RobFrankel (3/22/99 9:20 AM): At $8.95 per month, you can get full web site hosting for up to 10 MEGS, it's really worth it to look professional. Like you invested in our own business.

Anne Zieger (www.erols.com/azieger) (3/22/99 9:20 AM): I have "www.quodfish.com" -- don't ask :) -- but I'm concerned that that's too whimsical

Jacob (3/22/99 9:20 AM): Anne, just visited your site- kudos on the great design. short, sweet, to the point, not complicated at all. Well done.

Jim O'Donnell (3/22/99 9:20 AM): Anne -- try eresearch.com or ireserach,com

Anne Zieger (www.erols.com/azieger) (3/22/99 9:21 AM): thanks Jacob - my husband designed it

RobFrankel (3/22/99 9:21 AM): ...and perception is everything, you know. I can't tell you how important it is to THEM out there.

JorgeR (3/22/99 9:21 AM): Hello Everyone! Hello Rob. When is due your book to go out?

Anne Zieger (www.erols.com/azieger) (3/22/99 9:21 AM): Jim, like that suggestion!

Jim O'Donnell (3/22/99 9:21 AM): ANNE your concerns are well-founded

Anne Zieger (www.erols.com/azieger) (3/22/99 9:21 AM): Rob, point taken and thanks

RobFrankel (3/22/99 9:21 AM): It is too whimsical. If you want people to fork over big bucks, they don't want whimsy. Save that for client dinners...

Anne Zieger (www.erols.com/azieger) (3/22/99 9:22 AM): yeah, I've got plenty of one liners for that :)

RobFrankel (3/22/99 9:22 AM): Buenos dias Jorge! McGraw Hill is finalizing the contract, so I'm expecting it in fall 99 now....

Jim O'Donnell (3/22/99 9:22 AM): ROB are you whimsical at client dinners?

chazaustin.com (3/22/99 9:22 AM): Anne - You need every edge you can get. A company name and URL that tell people *exactly* what you offer is the first step.

RobFrankel (3/22/99 9:23 AM): Anne, why is your research a better solution than anyone else's, hmmm?

Anne Zieger (www.erols.com/azieger) (3/22/99 9:23 AM): good for you Rob!

RobFrankel (3/22/99 9:23 AM): Jim, I'm whimsical at client dinners...downright hysterical when they pick up the check!

Scott Baker (Big Planet) (3/22/99 9:23 AM): Anne, What do expect to do on the Web-TV aspect?

JorgeR (3/22/99 9:23 AM): Entered the room.

Jim O'Donnell (3/22/99 9:24 AM): lol

RobFrankel (3/22/99 9:24 AM): Actually, this is a good point for discussion. As many of you know, I get pretty whimsical myself, which I can tell you has cost me as much business as it has won me.

Jacob (3/22/99 9:24 AM): Rob, don't mean to be off-topic, just wondering if you got my draft letter/email over the weekend?

Anne Zieger (www.erols.com/azieger) (3/22/99 9:24 AM): Scott, will be glad to discuss -- maybe even separately?

Anne Zieger (www.erols.com/azieger) (3/22/99 9:25 AM): My feeling was that whimsical was memorable if executed well

RobFrankel (3/22/99 9:25 AM): Unfortunately, I have found that people buy "legitimacy" before they buy friendly. Yet we still have to balance that with our personalities.

Anne Zieger (www.erols.com/azieger) (3/22/99 9:25 AM): Scott, feel free to call me - # is on my site

Jim O'Donnell (3/22/99 9:25 AM): Whimsy is cool once they find you -- but you gotta get found first

RobFrankel (3/22/99 9:25 AM): No, Jacob, I don't believe so.

Jacob (3/22/99 9:26 AM): Ok, I'll resend, thanks.

RobFrankel (3/22/99 9:26 AM): Yet on my own site, you can clearly tell that I am not your basic blue pin stripe kind of guy. Striking that balance is crucial to your branding.

Tom (3/22/99 9:26 AM): Does anyone know of a good software program for Business Planning?

Anne Zieger (www.erols.com/azieger) (3/22/99 9:26 AM): To answer Rob's earlier question about why I'm a better solution -- and this addresses the whimsy thing -- it's essentially because I'm me (grin)

RobFrankel (3/22/99 9:26 AM): Yes, Jim, you're right. But the critical point is getting them from "finding you" to "Contacting you" and that's where over-doing it will kill you..

Scott Baker (Big Planet) (3/22/99 9:26 AM): Anne, sounds good. my email is sbaker@bigplanet.com. Lets set up a time to talk.

Jim O'Donnell (3/22/99 9:27 AM): Anne....I always say that too, and sometimes people even believe me

RobFrankel (3/22/99 9:27 AM): That's fine Anne, but the people who buy your services won't be able to sell you to the decision makers based on that.

Anne Zieger (www.erols.com/azieger) (3/22/99 9:27 AM): A lifetime of contact with the medium, and therefore what I hope others agree is deep insight into the medium

RobFrankel (3/22/99 9:27 AM): Especially in research, where the main concern is reliability of data, and avoidance of subjectivity.

Anne Zieger (www.erols.com/azieger) (3/22/99 9:28 AM): yes, I understand Rob...hey, I should shut up now ;)

Anne Zieger (www.erols.com/azieger) (3/22/99 9:28 AM): Well, I'm no statistician -- just an "advisor"

Anne Zieger (www.erols.com/azieger) (3/22/99 9:28 AM): Anyway, I'll shut up now...thanks for your comments !!

RobFrankel (3/22/99 9:28 AM): Anne, you gotta do better than that. I suggest really mastering a niche or two. On the web especially, the better you niche, the better you do.

Anne Zieger (www.erols.com/azieger) (3/22/99 9:28 AM): Jim, a kindred spirit

Anne Zieger (www.erols.com/azieger) (3/22/99 9:28 AM): yes, Rob, I hear you...will continue to meditate on that

RobFrankel (3/22/99 9:29 AM): No, as Mesiter Beroof intoned, that's exactly why we do this every week. We've had some GREAT issues today. Don't stop now!

RobFrankel (3/22/99 9:29 AM): Yowee, is my typing off today or what? That should have been Meister Beroff...

Michelle Banks (3/22/99 9:29 AM): Anne, my two cents.... a phrase like "I hope others agree"... doesn't instill confidence. Don't be afraid to "toot your own horn" as long as you can back it up with facts and/or results.

RobFrankel (3/22/99 9:30 AM): Tom, what are you looking for precisely?

RobFrankel (3/22/99 9:30 AM): Michelle, I love you. Perfectly said.

Terri (3/22/99 9:30 AM): Rob, going back to your "whimsy" thought - I have a press release written by someone and I thought the subject could be "Marriage broker for the business/employee relationship" but my author didn't think the press would be amused .. what do you think?

Tom (3/22/99 9:30 AM): I trying to write a bus.plan for an e-com .

Michelle Banks (3/22/99 9:30 AM): LOL Rob!

Michelle Banks (3/22/99 9:31 AM): thanks :)

RobFrankel (3/22/99 9:31 AM): You have no idea how many "coded" and "hidden" communications we all bury in our promotional literature that telegraphs our insecurities to clients and prospects

Scott Baker (Big Planet) (3/22/99 9:31 AM): Tom, I have used BizPlan software and it seems to be very thorough.

Anne Zieger (www.erols.com/azieger) (3/22/99 9:31 AM): ah, the press is *quite* tolerant of whimsy :)

Anne Zieger (www.erols.com/azieger) (3/22/99 9:32 AM): if it's whimsy that makes a point

Meg Rottman (3/22/99 9:32 AM): Terri - I can answer press concerns -be more specific about headline

Michelle Banks (3/22/99 9:32 AM): Terri, is the message of the release intended to amuse the reader?

RobFrankel (3/22/99 9:32 AM): I like it, Terri...conceptually. But I'd push that one over the edge. Maybe the Marriage counselor theme: Can this relationship be saved? This is a tough issue where whimsy is part of diffusing the tensions.

RobFrankel (3/22/99 9:33 AM): Meg runs a PR firm out on my coast...

Meg Rottman (3/22/99 9:33 AM): thanks Rob

Michelle Banks (3/22/99 9:34 AM): Rob, at the risk of sounding sexist.. one of the things that gets we 'womenfolk' in trouble in business, is the fear of sounding like we're boastful.

RobFrankel (3/22/99 9:34 AM): Remember, I recognize PR as a totally different skill set than advertising or marketing. I don't even attempt it myself.

Meg Rottman (3/22/99 9:34 AM): Is the press tolerant -- I would say, in general, NO

Muhammad (www.adgconsulting.com) (3/22/99 9:34 AM): Entered the room.

RobFrankel (3/22/99 9:34 AM): Tom, have you tried BizPlan Builder?

Muhammad (www.adgconsulting.com) (3/22/99 9:34 AM): Morning Folks

Terri (3/22/99 9:34 AM): Ahh I'm in the right place today! Michelle it isn't intended to amuse the reader - it is to grab the attention of the editor so that I can maybe get an interview

Michelle, you're right on there (3/22/99 9:34 AM): Entered the room.

Meg Rottman (3/22/99 9:34 AM): Don't confuse boastful with honest -- honest is important

Michelle Banks (3/22/99 9:35 AM): I agree with Meg, the press is not tolerant...nor do they particularly want to be amused.

Michelle, you're right on there (3/22/99 9:35 AM): whoops.....

Jim O'Donnell (3/22/99 9:35 AM): Entered the room.

Michelle Banks (3/22/99 9:35 AM): I agree with Meg, the press is not tolerant...nor do they particularly want to be amused.

Jim O'Donnell (3/22/99 9:35 AM): ---booted

RobFrankel (3/22/99 9:35 AM): Right. And Meg, don't you agree that TOO self-serving is a turn off, while "newsworthy" for the industry is better?

Anne Zieger (www.erols.com/azieger) (3/22/99 9:35 AM): Entered the room.

Anne Zieger (www.erols.com/azieger) (3/22/99 9:35 AM): was booted too

Michelle Banks (3/22/99 9:35 AM): exactly Meg.. (I made that point before you arrived)

Tom (3/22/99 9:36 AM): Will check it out...thanks

Anne Zieger (www.erols.com/azieger) (3/22/99 9:36 AM): I've been a trade reporter for 10 years, and my taste is for a balance

Anne Zieger (www.erols.com/azieger) (3/22/99 9:36 AM): can be cute, but only if intelligently cute

Meg Rottman (3/22/99 9:36 AM): Rob -- exactly. The question has to be: what about this information can help the reader (not the person being interviewed)

RobFrankel (3/22/99 9:36 AM): No guarantees, Tom, but they offer it as a cheap way to get started.

Michelle Banks (3/22/99 9:37 AM): Terri, what 'grabs' the editor is information that will interest their reader...is it newsworthy? is it timely?

Anne Zieger (www.erols.com/azieger) (3/22/99 9:37 AM): I prefer just a hint of fun or at least color

Anne Zieger (www.erols.com/azieger) (3/22/99 9:37 AM): Otherwise you end up with pompous bombast, in my view

Anne Zieger (www.erols.com/azieger) (3/22/99 9:37 AM): Humor is useful if it sells the benefit of the release

RobFrankel (3/22/99 9:38 AM): Yeah, a few years back, I called the L.A. Times about how ad agencies were moving totally digital. I gave myself and other competitors of mine as examples. They put me on the front page....

RobFrankel (3/22/99 9:38 AM): ..and reprinted my entire portfolio in the center spread.

Terri (3/22/99 9:39 AM): Meg, the press release itself describes the benefits of my service and what I do that makes me different from staffing agencies - I appreciate all your input on how the press views humor

Anne Zieger (www.erols.com/azieger) (3/22/99 9:39 AM): in other words, to second-guess what the reporter's boss wants :)

Anne Zieger (www.erols.com/azieger) (3/22/99 9:39 AM): and help Jane Reporter please him/her :)

chazaustin.com (3/22/99 9:40 AM): I do marketing & promotion, but occasionally a client will ask for some pr., too. The pr., I've found, needs to be appropriate to the campaign. The work I did for ihadsexwithclinton.com what completely whimsical - and that worked! I got them on the front

Michelle Banks (3/22/99 9:40 AM): As an editor friend of mine puts it "If you want to tell me how great your business is, buy an ad; if you can give my readers useful info, let's talk!"

Anne Zieger (www.erols.com/azieger) (3/22/99 9:40 AM): ihadsexwithclinton -- LOL!

Meg Rottman (3/22/99 9:40 AM): Rather than being too concerned about any ONE release - send many releases to the same reporter using different angles for the same topic

Mike Tingle (3/22/99 9:40 AM): Entered the room.

Tom (3/22/99 9:41 AM): New Question.. We are awaiting our U.S. patent -- our patent pre-succeeds 2 other patents in the U.S. Corp. Attys have drafted a letter to Companies who are selling something similar. How effective do you think this will work ???

RobFrankel (3/22/99 9:41 AM): That's two for you today, Michelle...!

Jim O'Donnell (3/22/99 9:41 AM): Entered the room.

Michelle Banks (3/22/99 9:41 AM): Ditto to what Meg said about repeated releases with different 'hooks'

Jim O'Donnell (3/22/99 9:41 AM): ---booted again

Terri (3/22/99 9:41 AM): thanks Michelle, Meg and Anne! This is all a big help!

chazaustin.com (3/22/99 9:41 AM): Anne - ihadsexwithclinton.com - a political site masquerading as comedy.

RobFrankel (3/22/99 9:41 AM): Oh man, Tom, that's not good. Sounds like you're headed for a patent fight.

Anne Zieger (www.erols.com/azieger) (3/22/99 9:42 AM): that just annoys me, the multiple PR release thing

Michelle Banks (3/22/99 9:42 AM): thanks Rob... (looking for a pin to pop my swelling head!)

Anne Zieger (www.erols.com/azieger) (3/22/99 9:42 AM): I prefer just one that reads as though someone understood what benefits my readers seek

RobFrankel (3/22/99 9:42 AM): How do you know that your patent pre-dates the others or that they infringed on yours?

Anne Zieger (www.erols.com/azieger) (3/22/99 9:42 AM): chaz, sounds like a capitol steps kind of thing

Muhammad (www.adgconsulting.com) (3/22/99 9:43 AM): If they are already selling something that you are waiting for a patent for....good luck...

Muhammad (www.adgconsulting.com) (3/22/99 9:43 AM): What kind of product is it? Can you really prove that they are infringing on yours?

chazaustin.com (3/22/99 9:43 AM): Anne - it's still up. Check it out.

Anne Zieger (www.erols.com/azieger) (3/22/99 9:44 AM): gotcha - I will

Anne Zieger (www.erols.com/azieger) (3/22/99 9:44 AM): gotcha - I will

RobFrankel (3/22/99 9:44 AM): Here's the truth Tom: whoever gets first to market, wins. Unless you wait for first-to-market to establish the market for you and poise for takeover.

Tom (3/22/99 9:44 AM): There are currently 15 companies who are selling a similar product only two have a patent.. Trying to avoid court..rather sell them our product in a private label program.

Tom (3/22/99 9:45 AM): Have done all the research ...

RobFrankel (3/22/99 9:45 AM): Apparently the other guys are already hitting the streets. Your atty's are only preventing ALL customers from even getting involved with your product. Killing off business for both you and your competitors.

Meg Rottman (3/22/99 9:46 AM): Back to PR -- TOM -- promote your product as THE ORIGINAL - if it is - and get the credit and the business

Muhammad (www.adgconsulting.com) (3/22/99 9:46 AM): And minor differences will hurt you....in the pro audio field Behringer blatantly copied a Mackie design....however they made minor changes and got away with it

Anne Zieger (www.erols.com/azieger) (3/22/99 9:46 AM): and if you could back up that claim with insight, Tom, I'd believe you

Muhammad (www.adgconsulting.com) (3/22/99 9:46 AM): Any electrical engineer could tell you that the designs are identical except for the quality of the parts

Tom (3/22/99 9:47 AM): We were waiting for a International patent.

Muhammad (www.adgconsulting.com) (3/22/99 9:47 AM): But behringer got away with it, they do it all the time....reverse engineer other companies products or copy designs...a slightly different capacitor here and there and they are home free

RobFrankel (3/22/99 9:47 AM): Yes, be combative where it counts, not where it feels good Forget ego. Your idea of approaching them with OEM contracts is a sound strategy.

Muhammad (www.adgconsulting.com) (3/22/99 9:48 AM): Like First to market wins, and once it's in the market forget it.

RobFrankel (3/22/99 9:48 AM): Tom, international patents are not like American ones. In fact, for a long time, in Japan, where proof of invention means nothing. Who gets to the patent office first matters.

Meg Rottman (3/22/99 9:48 AM): Fighting patent infringement takes time (lots) and money (even more) and is rarely effective.

Anne Zieger (www.erols.com/azieger) (3/22/99 9:48 AM): in the Internet space, how important are patents anyway?

RobFrankel (3/22/99 9:49 AM): Not necessarily, Muhammad. I've often sat back, let someone else spend the money to develop the category, then "stolen" the market form them. That works for the undercapitalized.

Anne Zieger (www.erols.com/azieger) (3/22/99 9:49 AM): technologies, sure. but they're configured to address current trends anyway

Meg Rottman (3/22/99 9:49 AM): Rob - stolen the market HOW?

RobFrankel (3/22/99 9:49 AM): Patents -- in any space -- are only important where lawyers are concerned. Getting them costs money, protecting them costs way more.

Anne Zieger (www.erols.com/azieger) (3/22/99 9:49 AM): if you simply execute better on generic tech, things can work fine

Tom (3/22/99 9:50 AM): Rob-- the product is ScratchAway the CD repair kit....www.scratchaway.com We have been selling all over Europe on the Home Shopping net and QVC U.K...

Anne Zieger (www.erols.com/azieger) (3/22/99 9:50 AM): in that way, Rob, I disagree with the whole VC "proprietary" formula

Muhammad (www.adgconsulting.com) (3/22/99 9:50 AM): I was referring more to products than the market itself..I've seen dozens of cases of blatantly stolen technology in the audio field that people get away with once the product gets to market...

Jim O'Donnell (3/22/99 9:50 AM): TOM what's the selling price at retail?

RobFrankel (3/22/99 9:50 AM): Easy Meg: Let Microsoft test the waters for their latest online failure. I sit back and watch them raise awareness. I watch their mistakes. Then I do it differently -- and right.

Anne Zieger (www.erols.com/azieger) (3/22/99 9:50 AM): Tom, have you been doing direct e-mail marketing? My husband got a pitch for such a product recently via e-mail...

RobFrankel (3/22/99 9:51 AM): But I benefit because I use their money to raise category awareness. Then I present my better solution for that category

Jim O'Donnell (3/22/99 9:51 AM): TOM I saw that product blister-packed at the WalMart checkout over the weekend

Michelle Banks (3/22/99 9:51 AM): Speaking of legal issues: What is the most one should spend in obtaining a trademark?

Tom (3/22/99 9:51 AM): Yes, Anne it was from Xoom.com

Muhammad (www.adgconsulting.com) (3/22/99 9:51 AM): Are you referring to their cyber mall

Jim O'Donnell (3/22/99 9:51 AM): MICHELLE how high is up?

Anne Zieger (www.erols.com/azieger) (3/22/99 9:52 AM): ah, and my husband wanted it immediately ! :)

RobFrankel (3/22/99 9:52 AM): Trademarks, service marks, copyrights are all different costs and protections

Meg Rottman (3/22/99 9:52 AM): Tom - do some tie ins with record companies or stereo manufacturers -- check out CES in January

RobFrankel (3/22/99 9:52 AM): (TEN MINUTE WARNING)

Michelle Banks (3/22/99 9:52 AM): LOL Jim!

Steve (3/22/99 9:52 AM): Entered the room.

Anne Zieger (www.erols.com/azieger) (3/22/99 9:53 AM): Hey folks, last minute inspiration

RobFrankel (3/22/99 9:53 AM): Hi Tingle! You're late!

Anne Zieger (www.erols.com/azieger) (3/22/99 9:53 AM): Brand myself "the portal researcher"? That's pretty much what I do anyway.

Tom (3/22/99 9:53 AM): Jim.. $19.95

Muhammad (www.adgconsulting.com) (3/22/99 9:53 AM): Since you fix scratches I would tie in with CD-R manufacturers, once who produce the recorders and the blank media

Anne Zieger (www.erols.com/azieger) (3/22/99 9:53 AM): or should I say $$portal$$...it seems to be a magic word

Tom (3/22/99 9:53 AM): Meg.. they don't want to know

Jim O'Donnell (3/22/99 9:53 AM): TOM the Wal-Mart version was 10 bucks with a cloth and two small bottles of liquid

Muhammad (www.adgconsulting.com) (3/22/99 9:54 AM): There is also the NAMM show in July....

Tom (3/22/99 9:54 AM): Jim- There product doesn't work...has a alcohol base..

Anne Zieger (www.erols.com/azieger) (3/22/99 9:54 AM): Tom, any possibility of having the product given away with certain purchases?

RobFrankel (3/22/99 9:54 AM): Anne, a huge branding mistake that people make is hitching their wagons to TIMELY issues. Don't do it. Don't hitch on to anything. let others hitch on to you

Jim O'Donnell (3/22/99 9:55 AM): Portal research sounds like an inquiry into doors and windows

Anne Zieger (www.erols.com/azieger) (3/22/99 9:55 AM): grin - sure does

Jim O'Donnell (3/22/99 9:55 AM): TOM I accept your claim. But there it was in all its glory, and I assume it is selling.

Anne Zieger (www.erols.com/azieger) (3/22/99 9:56 AM): What I do is research chains of relationships, and use my common sense to predict where they're going

Tom (3/22/99 9:56 AM): Jim-- made in China Radio shack has the same, they sell 3,000 pre week..Radio Shack sent two letters to me ,,, don't come back

Tom (3/22/99 9:56 AM): Currently doing private label for Fellows and Blockbuster IN AU.

Jim O'Donnell (3/22/99 9:57 AM): Anne sounds like e-research or I-research to me

Anne Zieger (www.erols.com/azieger) (3/22/99 9:57 AM): Jim, I'm going to look into that for certain...thanks for your insight...makes a lot of sense to me

Jim O'Donnell (3/22/99 9:58 AM): ROB thanks for hosting this session. It's fun and informative. See y'all next week!

Meg Rottman (3/22/99 9:58 AM): ANN - how about Net Know

RobFrankel (3/22/99 9:58 AM): (TWO MINUTES) By the way -- don't forget that we're having a face to face on April 13 at the Los Angeles Internet I-World show!

RobFrankel (3/22/99 9:58 AM): WGI is sponsoring and sending free passes to the show, as well.

Anne Zieger (www.erols.com/azieger) (3/22/99 9:58 AM): Meg, will toss that into the hopper...thanks!

Meg Rottman (3/22/99 9:59 AM): ROB - bye and thanks

RobFrankel (3/22/99 9:59 AM): How about Ziegerresearch.com and work from there?

Jim O'Donnell (3/22/99 9:59 AM): wwwhowhatwhere has a nice ring but sounds like a search engine

Michelle Banks (3/22/99 9:59 AM): Good idea Meg... do you have a website, btw?

chazaustin.com (3/22/99 9:59 AM): Thanks, Rob!

Michelle Banks (3/22/99 10:00 AM): as always, thanks Rob!

Terri (3/22/99 10:00 AM): Bye Rob and everyone! See you next week!

Anne Zieger (www.erols.com/azieger) (3/22/99 10:00 AM): Rob, sounds straightforward..thanks..much to consider here

RobFrankel (3/22/99 10:00 AM): Entered the room.

Meg Rottman (3/22/99 10:00 AM): www.stylepr.com -- for

RobFrankel (3/22/99 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!

Anne Zieger (www.erols.com/azieger) (3/22/99 10:01 AM): okay Rob -- thanks as always!!

Jim O'Donnell (3/22/99 10:01 AM): later all

Michelle Banks (3/22/99 10:01 AM): thanks Meg :)

Tom (3/22/99 10:01 AM): Thanks

Muhammad (www.adgconsulting.com) (3/22/99 10:01 AM): C-ya

Anne Zieger (www.erols.com/azieger) (3/22/99 10:03 AM): Folks, re: the PR discussion -- I'd be glad to do a quick review of anyone's release from a cynical reporter standpoint :)

Terri (3/22/99 10:04 AM): wow! thanks Anne! I would really appreciate your view on mine :)

Anne Zieger (www.erols.com/azieger) (3/22/99 10:05 AM): Terri, my pleasure - I don't pretend I'll have time for a huge analysis, but comments, sure.:)

Terri (3/22/99 10:06 AM): Anne, any help is greatly appreciated :)

Anne Zieger (www.erols.com/azieger) (3/22/99 10:08 AM): Terri, just e-mail it to me.

Anne Zieger (www.erols.com/azieger) (3/22/99 10:09 AM): see (or e-mail with you) later:)

Terri (3/22/99 10:09 AM): will do Anne :) okay :)

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