Transcript of Frankel's Free Clinic September 7, 1998

Carole (9/7/98 8:56 AM): Hi Rob,

Carole (9/7/98 8:57 AM): Are you saving the log files - if we're going to discuss Prototype project - I'm sure everyone involved would appreciate reading back...

RobFrankel (9/7/98 8:59 AM): Entered the room.

RobFrankel (9/7/98 9:00 AM): Hi Carole...Labor Day here...wonder if our American folks will show up...

Carole (9/7/98 9:01 AM): Hi Rob, do you prior messages or is your screen "clean"?

RobFrankel (9/7/98 9:01 AM): Yes, the archives are always posted every week

Carole (9/7/98 9:02 AM): On my window there is at least 6 other people... Have they left???

RobFrankel (9/7/98 9:02 AM): I clean the screen after every session. The stuff you see here is left over from people who have been using the site for the past week or so.

Jacob (9/7/98 9:02 AM): Entered the room.

RobFrankel (9/7/98 9:02 AM): The lower right window indicates who has signed on. So far, just you and me.

Carole (9/7/98 9:02 AM): So we're alone... How have you been? I tremendously enjoy your articles in Ziff Davis - I'm so proud of you.

Jacob (9/7/98 9:03 AM): Hello, sorry for coming late.

Carole (9/7/98 9:03 AM): Hi Jacob

Jacob (9/7/98 9:03 AM): wow, it's so crowded, I was afraid there would be no room for me.

RobFrankel (9/7/98 9:03 AM): Aw shucks, thanks. I am having lunch with Eva in a week or so, whom I met on your chat.

Carole (9/7/98 9:04 AM): Eva, my great soul friend! She told me about the family background - life is absolutely incredible!

RobFrankel (9/7/98 9:04 AM): Jacob, it's only three minutes after the hour plus it's Labor Day.

Jacob (9/7/98 9:05 AM): I like to be punctual! :-)

Carole (9/7/98 9:05 AM): What do you "do" Jacob?

Jacob (9/7/98 9:05 AM): So how are you doing? how was the vacation?

Jacob (9/7/98 9:05 AM): Carole, I do lots of things, website design, promotion, stuff like that.

Netsongstress (9/7/98 9:07 AM): Entered the room.

Netsongstress (9/7/98 9:07 AM): Hi there...

Carole (9/7/98 9:07 AM): Hi Netsong

RobFrankel (9/7/98 9:08 AM): Netsongstress, do you have a real name?

Netsongstress (9/7/98 9:09 AM): I'm Judy

Netsongstress (9/7/98 9:09 AM): It is great to meet you

Jacob (9/7/98 9:09 AM): Happy Labor Day

RobFrankel (9/7/98 9:10 AM): Nice to meet you as well...are you truly a songstress/

David Beroff (9/7/98 9:10 AM): Entered the room.

Netsongstress (9/7/98 9:10 AM): Truly yes... It is an avocation of mine

RobFrankel (9/7/98 9:11 AM): The way this works is that you can ask whatever you wish as it pertains to our business issues. Jump in any time. Today, we should have people who are also interested in the Prototype project I posted earlier.

Gary Scott (9/7/98 9:11 AM): Entered the room.

David Beroff (9/7/98 9:11 AM): Hi. David Beroff,, first-time FrankelChat, hi all

Netsongstress (9/7/98 9:11 AM): I'm usually 3 hours deep into my regular 9-5 job by now

RobFrankel (9/7/98 9:12 AM): Hi David. Hi Gary.

Carole (9/7/98 9:12 AM): Would like to give us more details on Prototype project? What would be the deadlines and size of project. Do you want to break down the work in small teams: graphics design, programming...

Netsongstress (9/7/98 9:13 AM): Entered the room.

Netsongstress (9/7/98 9:13 AM): Sorry, my connection dropped

RobFrankel (9/7/98 9:13 AM): Okay, Carole et al. Let me start on the prototype project with its background.

David Beroff (9/7/98 9:13 AM): Hi. It is my intention to become the hosting provider for this Prototype project

RobFrankel (9/7/98 9:14 AM): There are a lot of numbnuts out there that are approaching e-commerce totally wrong. And nowhere is this more true than in Hollywood.

Carole (9/7/98 9:14 AM): Ah... Maybe PP members could identify??? I'm into high-end design

RobFrankel (9/7/98 9:15 AM): The problem is that Hollywood is very narrow-minded and extremely naive when it comes to the web.

David Beroff (9/7/98 9:15 AM): PP?

RobFrankel (9/7/98 9:16 AM): Prototype Project

Jacob (9/7/98 9:16 AM): I don't really know about your prototype project, but I can testify to how stupid "Hollywood" is when it comes to the internet, period. Let alone e-commerce.

David Beroff (9/7/98 9:16 AM): oh. duh. :-) sorry

RobFrankel (9/7/98 9:17 AM): After a meeting with a high-end Hollywood agent, I took a look at a project that he is doing with his clients. I can tell you all right now -- as I did to him -- that this project will fail, for a variety of reasons.

Carole (9/7/98 9:17 AM): So this means that your "potential" client has all kind of expectations - and you're going to operate his brain to make perceptions "right" - prior the project gets anywhere???

RobFrankel (9/7/98 9:18 AM): The main reason it will fail is that the project is based on a TV model, rather than a retail model.

David Beroff (9/7/98 9:19 AM): probably a mixture of fear and lack of knowledge on the part of the higher-up Hollywood type.

RobFrankel (9/7/98 9:19 AM): Not quite, Carole. I negotiated a deal where I could take one of his non-participating clients and show him how the job ought to be done.

Carole (9/7/98 9:19 AM): What do YOU want to do??? Make a prototype and show it to his face and walk him through the persuasion phase?

David Beroff (9/7/98 9:20 AM): Well, I for one wouldn't mind being associated with a failure of a big fish, since it seems to have more "pull" than successes with small fish.

Carole (9/7/98 9:20 AM): Good - it means that the "prototype" could be used for any other "TV" based projects. I have the same problems over here.

RobFrankel (9/7/98 9:21 AM): After the blood rushed back into his face, he agreed and offered me any personality in the remaining list of clients. Which is where this project starts. If we can put together a strategically driven retail site, it essentially gives us credibility in Hollywood.

Netsongstress (9/7/98 9:21 AM): I would sooner walk away than take on something I knew had no chance to work

David Beroff (9/7/98 9:21 AM): sorry; this delay (on my end) is killing the interaction; didn't mean to repeat what had already been said.

Carole (9/7/98 9:22 AM): What is the "topic" to be retailed?

RobFrankel (9/7/98 9:23 AM): Well, Judy, we've all been there. But this is a real opportunity to show a major power player in Hollywood how it really is done -- with a financial incentive to boot.

Netsongstress (9/7/98 9:23 AM): Your convincing him to let you demonstrate is an excellent idea

RobFrankel (9/7/98 9:24 AM): My strategy: Let their other project fail; watch our prototype grow -- and generate revenue. Their project has one main revenue source -- that's it. Mine has at least five.

David Beroff (9/7/98 9:25 AM): One issue that I have been hitting with is that one of the ways it "should" be done is to have the talent interact with the audience, and he basically won't.

Carole (9/7/98 9:25 AM): Well you can count me in - for any help you need. The "prototype" model has been one of the "sales pitch" tool we've used and it has its value - if not just in "learning" more!

RobFrankel (9/7/98 9:26 AM): David, I don't think it's necessary. In fact, the LESS the celeb has to do the better the chances of success.

Jacob (9/7/98 9:26 AM): So what you are talking about is putting together a money-making celebrity fan site? Like a leonardo dicaprio site that makes money?

Gary Scott (9/7/98 9:26 AM): Any chance that the popularity of the actor will carry the site and produce superior results even if your site is "better"?

Netsongstress (9/7/98 9:26 AM): At the risk of showing how new I am to all of this, can you define prototype for me

RobFrankel (9/7/98 9:27 AM): Okay, let me explain my own PERSONAL agenda

David Beroff (9/7/98 9:27 AM): "less", Rob? Why? Fans want their stars...

Carole (9/7/98 9:27 AM): prototype = in-scale model

RobFrankel (9/7/98 9:28 AM): Yes, Gary, that's factored in. The whole idea is to leverage an installed fan base into retail action.

RobFrankel (9/7/98 9:28 AM): David, OUR fans won't. I've rewired that notion, too.

RobFrankel (9/7/98 9:28 AM): Judy, a prototype is a working model.

RobFrankel (9/7/98 9:29 AM): Okay, back to MY PERSOAL AGENDA:

RobFrankel (9/7/98 9:30 AM): My personal core strength is branding and strategic issues. I suppose I could build this stuff and design it, but frankly, that's not what I want to build here.

RobFrankel (9/7/98 9:31 AM): I need time to develop strategies, work with client and negotiate terms. In short, I can supervise this tuff, but I really don't want to code or design. What I want is a small team of players who can work quickly and without ego.

RobFrankel (9/7/98 9:32 AM): So I want a Rapid Deployment Force, consisting of a designer, developer and host. If this team works out for the prototype, their learning curve will be much shorter on the next celeb site.

Carole (9/7/98 9:34 AM): I'd like to pitch in as designer - but we could be a few: structuring lay-out, content/editing...

RobFrankel (9/7/98 9:34 AM): On the prototype phase, everyone -- including myself -- works for "sweat equity". That means no pay, but a stake in whatever it brings in. Once we have proof of concept, it should be easier to crank these types of sites out.

RobFrankel (9/7/98 9:34 AM): I should add that I already have a separate mega-celebrity in the wings, independent of this deal.

Carole (9/7/98 9:35 AM): Do you think it ok Rob - if we "write" in our http:// to check everyone's after chat???

RobFrankel (9/7/98 9:35 AM): The Ultimate Goal: An official, tightly-woven team that's known as the Webmaster to the Stars.

RobFrankel (9/7/98 9:35 AM): Okay, now are there any questions?

Carole (9/7/98 9:36 AM): When is the "launch"?

David Beroff (9/7/98 9:36 AM): I know all about "sweat equity". I finally hit 10k ad impressions/day (1% of my year's goal). My wife says, "so, where's the money?" She just doesn't understand.... This all will pay off eventually.

RobFrankel (9/7/98 9:36 AM): Carole, everyone can and should trade URL's but I am looking to select only two or three people, max.

RobFrankel (9/7/98 9:37 AM): I would like this to launch no late than November. This particular actor has a new TV show airing in winter.

David Beroff (9/7/98 9:38 AM): 2-3 people? I agree with the others; you will need a larger team

Netsongstress (9/7/98 9:38 AM): In summary, you assess your own strength & forte, create a unit of 3 to take on the position of WEBMASTER to the stars?

Jacob (9/7/98 9:38 AM): The same question I had before: so basically you are designing money making websites devoted to specific celebrities, like a revenue generating Leonardo Dicaprio website.

RobFrankel (9/7/98 9:38 AM): David, nobody except people like us understand. You and I must be married to the same girl.

Carole (9/7/98 9:38 AM): When do you want to start? Agreed with David, we're still in "investment" stages...

RobFrankel (9/7/98 9:39 AM): Yes Jacob, these will be free-standing celebrity based websites.

David Beroff (9/7/98 9:39 AM): She does keep talking about her other husband. Hmmm.. :-)

Carole (9/7/98 9:40 AM): Roughly - 2.5 months to produce is ok... I've seen "worst" deadlines...

RobFrankel (9/7/98 9:40 AM): Judy & David: How the two or three delegate beyond their level is up to them. I'm looking for mind-synch here. I want to have a conference call and then be able to log on to a website to check the results.

RobFrankel (9/7/98 9:42 AM): Keep in mind this will be a BASIC web site. Enough to show the concept with fully-functional features. But nobody is expecting is to crank in millions of dollars anytime soon. Remember that Hollywood types have NO imagination. They need to see it finished

Carole (9/7/98 9:42 AM): Male or female site?

Carole (9/7/98 9:43 AM): So we're talking about 15-20 pages roughly?

Jacob (9/7/98 9:43 AM): Carole, does it matter?

RobFrankel (9/7/98 9:43 AM): The first celeb is male, the second is female.

Netsongstress (9/7/98 9:43 AM): Rob, do you have any idea what size site you'll be looking to host?

David Beroff (9/7/98 9:43 AM): Don't forget that there is not necessarily any correlation between size/power of site and # of $'s. I think we are all familiar with examples of this.

Carole (9/7/98 9:43 AM): We were work with "screening rooms" for clients to view the work in progress

Carole (9/7/98 9:44 AM): Yes, I think as designer - chromatic rules - ambiance - visual metaphors

RobFrankel (9/7/98 9:44 AM): If you're talking about pages, I'd guess that to be low, Carole. I count every thumbnail that clicks to a large size as a page.

David Beroff (9/7/98 9:44 AM): didn't know sites had gender. (just kidding ;-)

Jacob (9/7/98 9:44 AM): I could see that

RobFrankel (9/7/98 9:45 AM): Absolutely, David. These types only understand one method of revenue: endorsement/advertising fees.

RobFrankel (9/7/98 9:46 AM): Okay Carole, you have that side of it right. The other side is a developer who implements the technical aspects like searches and shopping carts, lead tracking, registration, etc. The three of us would brainstorm on content, although I have a good list t

Netsongstress (9/7/98 9:46 AM): As far as the hosting of the site goes Rob, what specs do you have?

David Beroff (9/7/98 9:46 AM): oh. well, that shoots it for the "please leave some cash in the begging bowl" business model. ;-)

Carole (9/7/98 9:47 AM): Content: something like 5-7 first levels areas - leading to second level pages... I was thinking more in how many "areas" that would need a "different" design... the number of pages is not important 'cause it can grow...

RobFrankel (9/7/98 9:48 AM): I just want enough stuff for no cost. I expect we'll require a cold fusion type of engine that is simple and reliable to track. forward and script.

RobFrankel (9/7/98 9:49 AM): I would expect that these types will need to see a sample execution of each of the five to seven strategies I have identified for them. That translates into five to seven areas.

RobFrankel (9/7/98 9:49 AM): Now, being the cagey sort of guy I am, I should tell you that I already hand-tooled something like this for the crew to view at our first meeting, but it's really homespun.

RobFrankel (9/7/98 9:50 AM): Again, this will be a highly confidential project, with team members swearing loyalty on the lives of their first borns.

Carole (9/7/98 9:50 AM): 5-7 strategies - that can be researched to be "expressed" visually...

David Beroff (9/7/98 9:51 AM): Just curious: since all of us realize that many of these strategies require work *off* the website, and your exec-clients may not realize this, do you have an idea how this will be handled, Rob?

RobFrankel (9/7/98 9:51 AM): Yes, each area would showcase its own revenues strategy

RobFrankel (9/7/98 9:51 AM): Elaborate, David.

David Beroff (9/7/98 9:52 AM): Loyalty can be sworn, but it goes both ways. (i.e., When a paying client appears, we'll expect some of that, as well.)

RobFrankel (9/7/98 9:53 AM): Well, my idea is to form a team that I can bring into the subsequent deals. I sure don't want to recruit a new team every time...

Netsongstress (9/7/98 9:54 AM): I am a web-presence provider ( and if I could see your 'home-spun" version, my tech guy and I could see if we could take it on, if you'd like.

David Beroff (9/7/98 9:54 AM): e.g., One of the best audience-building methods that my client,, has is a very active discussion list via email. Now we all know how effective that is, but how do you demonstrate that to an offline-kinda person?

RobFrankel (9/7/98 9:55 AM): Judy, I'll visit your site...and that goes for any of you. I am NOT impressed by anything other than reliability and talent -- in that order.

Carole (9/7/98 9:55 AM): I'm always working with "virtual" teams... it's a good idea to form a tight unit - than you get to count on strengths and leverage expertise...

RobFrankel (9/7/98 9:56 AM): David, I can sell anything once I have structured it right. Remember, I'm the guy who insists that branding is about convincing people you're their ONLY solution.

David Beroff (9/7/98 9:56 AM): Funny, both the Netsongstress and I have music incorporated into our site names; mine is (currently a private site)

RobFrankel (9/7/98 9:57 AM): Anyone who wants to send me anything on this project, please include the word PROTOTYPE in the subject header. That way I'll get to it quicker.

Netsongstress (9/7/98 9:57 AM): I think the idea of an 'on-going' unit that works together well is exciting...

RobFrankel (9/7/98 9:57 AM): Don't forget, too, that many of my "offline" clients are blown away by the FrankelBiz concept, which proves that case.

RobFrankel (9/7/98 9:58 AM): Anyone else have any questions?

Carole (9/7/98 9:58 AM): Rob - I did send you a list of sites to review... and that "unit" can take on other "projects" as well...

RobFrankel (9/7/98 9:59 AM): Great. I know that ALL of you have worked with a team at least once where everything just flowed nicely. That's what I want to create here.

Carole (9/7/98 9:59 AM): What's next???

Carole (9/7/98 10:00 AM): I would like to receive everyone's URL at

RobFrankel (9/7/98 10:00 AM): Well, I've hogged all the bandwidth today. If anyone has any other questions, I'll take them.

Netsongstress (9/7/98 10:00 AM): Great idea Carole, 'ditto' to

RobFrankel (9/7/98 10:02 AM): And please don't be shy about contacting me directly on this. Anything that you feel may add to your qualifications.

Carole (9/7/98 10:02 AM): When do you want to "choose" your team and do conference and start working?

Netsongstress (9/7/98 10:02 AM): Rob, is it okay to pick brains here a bit regarding ideas on how to increase our own businesses?

David Beroff (9/7/98 10:02 AM): nothing wrong with taking the time to discuss what the intended topic of discussion was to be. :-)

RobFrankel (9/7/98 10:03 AM): I would like to make that choice within the next two weeks. Hopefully sooner.

RobFrankel (9/7/98 10:03 AM): Yeah, Judy, I'll hang out a little longer for that.

Carole (9/7/98 10:04 AM): What do you mean David?

Netsongstress (9/7/98 10:05 AM): My business is a sense I'm just starting out because my 'partner' dropped off the face of the earth...and I want to get it moving in the right direction.

RobFrankel (9/7/98 10:05 AM): Judy, what's your question?

David Beroff (9/7/98 10:05 AM): Carole, he said, "sorry for taking up the bandwidth"; my point was that there was nothing to apologize for, this is why we all came here. :-)

RobFrankel (9/7/98 10:06 AM): Wow! Now you know why I mentioned "reliability" before "talent"! Tell us about your business and what you're trying to do...

Netsongstress (9/7/98 10:06 AM): Pretty much ALL my time is sweat equity...but I need to know the best way to go about it.

Carole (9/7/98 10:07 AM): Thanks David - what do you do exactly? I'd like to visit your site...

Netsongstress (9/7/98 10:07 AM): I'm a web presence provider.... I sell virtual servers, do domain hosting and web hosting

RobFrankel (9/7/98 10:08 AM): And why should people choose you over someone else?

Netsongstress (9/7/98 10:09 AM): I offer a very personal level of customer care and support

David Beroff (9/7/98 10:10 AM): My public persona is (Free Feedback Forms). Along the way, I've sold enough's (and my "partner" dropped out, too) that I figured I might as well host the domains myself. So I bought a Sun Sparc 20, and now have much faster service.

RobFrankel (9/7/98 10:10 AM): Okay, so far that good, but very general. What are you rates; How are you more personal?

Netsongstress (9/7/98 10:10 AM): I believe that the only way to get by is to help others make things successful.

RobFrankel (9/7/98 10:11 AM): Nice sentiment, but if you're in business, you have to make money while you're doing that. The other issue is that you must do more than "get by".

Carole (9/7/98 10:11 AM): And you Gary? What do you do?

David Beroff (9/7/98 10:11 AM): Bingo, Judy! That's how I've been working, too.

RobFrankel (9/7/98 10:12 AM): For example, I created FrankelBiz to help people meet each other and do business. It costs them nothing, but I do sell sponsorships that defray the cost. And the other programs I have in line will also generate profit.

Netsongstress (9/7/98 10:13 AM): So you're suggesting other programs, Rob?

Carole (9/7/98 10:14 AM): The "real" netizens share a same profile: intelligence, generosity, community sense and wanting to succeed... There is a need "to help" others' biz succeed then - it helps "ours" succeed as well.

David Beroff (9/7/98 10:14 AM): True; our field has already become commoditized, so it's tough to make money just on hosting. Out of the ten leads that I'm currently working on, nine were from word-of-mouth, etc.

RobFrankel (9/7/98 10:14 AM): Absolutely, Judy. Stay within your focus, but offer more value.

Netsongstress (9/7/98 10:14 AM): I offer a free webmaster course to people that want to learn more about how to administer their own site

RobFrankel (9/7/98 10:15 AM): Yes David, your "brand" is working for you when your word-of-mouth increases. That, incidentally, is how I get all my business.

David Beroff (9/7/98 10:15 AM): Right, Judy. has led to many other things, including daily discussions with potential clients who are considering their own domain, etc.

Jacob (9/7/98 10:15 AM): Entered the room.

Jacob (9/7/98 10:15 AM): (my browser crashed a second ago) As always, it has been a very interesting chat, but now I have to run, see you all in cyberspace!

Carole (9/7/98 10:16 AM): I would turn the "course" into a "mailing list" - a constant "training" webmaster course and could generate other clients amongst your existing...

Netsongstress (9/7/98 10:16 AM): That, so far has brought in many people. Yet its been more sweat equity

RobFrankel (9/7/98 10:16 AM): Judy, referral programs are great! Can I tell you that since I met our current FrankelBiz sponsor, I have referred enough business to them to generate over $1000 in profit. Simply for placing a link on my site and directing clients their way.

RobFrankel (9/7/98 10:17 AM): Yes, I have a barbecue to fir up, too. Two more minutes and I have to run.

Netsongstress (9/7/98 10:17 AM): My tech-guy has introduced me to WGI, Rob. Dan is wonderful!

Netsongstress (9/7/98 10:18 AM): Carole, your idea about the newsletter and course, may I e-mail you so we can go further with that idea?

David Beroff (9/7/98 10:18 AM): True. I just started a referral incentive program for

RobFrankel (9/7/98 10:18 AM): So #1 in my book is to create your own referral program. It's easy, and people love you for it. It's a great way to help people and make bucks along the way.

RobFrankel (9/7/98 10:19 AM): Anyway, everyone take the rest of the day off (in the USA at least). I'll see you online or here next week.

David Beroff (9/7/98 10:19 AM): (After seeing the issues that came up with the other ClickTrade program that was posted to FrankelBiz, I wanted to set up a separate referral program just for F'Bee's, with a higher pay out)

Netsongstress (9/7/98 10:19 AM): And David, I'd love to find out if the music theme is just a coincidence. Feel free to e-mail me at

Netsongstress (9/7/98 10:20 AM): Thanks everybody for all the input

David Beroff (9/7/98 10:21 AM): no coincidence ... :-)

David Beroff (9/7/98 10:22 AM): oops .. typing too quickly. no "s" in

Carole (9/7/98 10:23 AM): Thanks to all - hoping to have the opp to work with you all

Carole (9/7/98 10:23 AM): Thanks to all - hoping to have the opp to work with you all

David Beroff (9/7/98 10:23 AM): bye all .. c ya!

Carole (9/7/98 10:23 AM): sorry... boob!!!

Netsongstress (9/7/98 10:23 AM): bye all

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