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     Geek-Free, Commonsense Advice on Building a Low-Cost Web Site

       Editor: Peter Kent
         Top Floor Publishing

        Over 39,000 Subscribers in More Than 100 Countries!

   ~~~ IN THIS ISSUE ~~~

   ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

   Beginner's Column:
      Contests to Promote Your Site

   RealNames -- Part II

   Another Web Research Tool

   A Useful Tool For Site-by-Site Web Research

   Need Free Content?

   Poor Richard's Web Site and Other Top Floor Books

   Book Reviewers Wanted

   Reading Back Issues

   ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

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   {{ Beginner's Column:
         Contests to Promote Your Site }}

   I've used sweepstakes a number of times to drive traffic to my
   site. Believe me, it works. (And it's far cheaper than banner
   advertising.) For another perspective on running contests and
   sweepstakes, here's an article from Larry Dotson. (I wish I'd
   known about the sweepstakes directories!)

   Quickly Increase Your Traffic By
   Holding An Online Contest Or Sweepstakes!
   by Larry Dotson

   Holding a contest or sweepstakes can draw a lot of traffic to
   your Web site. You can announce your site to hundreds of online
   contest and sweepstakes directories. Send out a press releases
   about your contest or sweepstakes. Ask entrants to your contest
   or sweepstakes if they would accept offers from your business
   in the future by e-mail.

   Here are some online directories where you could list your
   contest or sweepstakes:

   Contest World - http://www.contestworld.com/
   Sweepstakes Online - http://www.sweepstakesonline.com/
   Online-Sweepstakes - http://www.online-sweepstakes.com/
   Prize Club - http://www.prizeclub.com/

   The prizes should be something your target audience would need
   or want. Try to be as original as possible with the prizes you
   are offering. Always offer more than one prize, a grand prize
   and runner-up prizes. Use your products or services to give
   away as prizes. Make sure your prizes have some value, nothing
   cheap. Give enough information about all the prizes, so people
   will be interested in entering.

   Make it easy for people to enter your contest or sweepstakes. I
   feel the easiest ways online are from an entry form on your Web
   site or by e-mail. Capture as much information as you can when
   they enter your contest or sweepstakes like:

   Company Name
   First/Last Name
   Street Address
   City, State, Zip
   Day/Evening Phone Number
   E-mail Address
   Web Site Address
   Purchasing History
   Survey Questions

   Give your contest or sweepstakes a professional look and feel.
   Provide an "Official Rules" Web page for your contest or
   sweepstakes. Include a time period of how long your contest or
   sweepstakes will be held. Tell visitors how you will deliver
   the prizes. Include pictures of the prizes on your site. Tell
   visitors who will judge your contest. Check out other contests
   and sweepstakes Web sites to get more ideas.
   50   FREE   Internet    Business   E-Books!
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   A bit more information. I'm not sure what Larry means about
   announcing your site to "hundreds of online contest and
   sweepstakes directories" (I'll e-mail him and ask). I did find
   several more places to register a contest, though:

   Contests, Competitions, and Giveaways:
   Contest Catalogue: http://contest.catalogue.com/
   ContestGuide.com: http://www.contestguide.com/
   CyberPrizes.com: http://www.cyberprizes.com/
   Playles Sweepstakes: http://www.playle.com/psw/
   Sweeptastics: http://www.sweepstastic.com/
   See also this Yahoo Category:

   Also, more important than registering with these contest sites
   is to find a popular e-mail newsletter or Web site to promote
   the competition. (When we promoted a drawing in the
   Lockergnome, we had almost 6,000 entries. For more information,
   see http://www.poorrichard.com/newsltr/034.htm#locker2 )

   By the way, the most common question about these contest that I
   hear is, are they legal? The answer, at least for within the
   USA, is yes. As long as you are not charging an entry fee, you
   can easily run a simple giveaway contest with no legal

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   {{ RealNames -- Part II }}

   In the last issue I discussed RealNames, a system by which you
   can "buy" search-engine keywords:


   Several readers wrote to me to tell me about their experiences
   with the RealNames system. The first reader I heard from
   thanked me effusively (the subject line was "RealNames - Yeah,
   baby!!"). Edward Bishop ( http://www.audioamigo.com/ ) told me
   that he was happy to discover that he was "the first person in
   my industry niche to take advantage of RealNames." He bought
   four phrases that, "according to my research at GoTo.com Search
   Suggestion List and my own web logs, would be considered the
   most coveted." He was pretty happy, but others were not quite

   One reader complained that she'd gone through the process of
   picking names, been told that the names were available, but was
   later told that the phrases were too "generic." (I must admit
   I'd had a similar experience earlier, when I registered a
   phrase only to have it rejected a few days later.) She also
   told me that RealNames had changed their policy and no longer
   allow the registration of "generic terms." This is not quite
   correct, but their policy is not very clear, either. They allow
   the registration of generic terms in some cases ... if your
   company or brand name is associated with a generic term, or if
   a generic term is often used to describe your products, you may
   be able to get the generic term.

   It does appear possible to "keyword stuff" generic phrases,
   though, as Alan Gardyne did. He couldn't register "marketing
   advice," but he could register "AssociatePrograms.com -
   marketing advice." AssociatePrograms.com is his company's Web
   site, so he managed to slip this through. Now, if someone types
   "marketing advice" into Internet Explorer, it's not going to
   take him to the AssociatePrograms Web site. But if he types
   "marketing advice" into a search engine that is using
   RealNames, such as AltaVista, it will bring up
   AssociatePrograms.com at the top of the list. I mentioned
   Alan's article about RealNames in the last issue. You can read
   it here:

   Another reader complained that he'd tried registering keywords,
   that his credit card was charged three times, that the keywords
   were never actually registered, and that he had, thus far, been
   unable to resolve the problem.

   It's worth registering RealNames if you can get the keywords
   you want, as generic as possible. It's also worth registering
   if you have a well known brand that someone might type into a

   Here's an interesting example of what RealNames have done for
   us. Hoover, the vacuum clean company, owns the hoover.com
   domain name. A couple of years ago, anyone typing "hoover" into
   a browser and pressing Enter would have been taken to
   hoover.com. Now, however, with the advent of RealNames, there's
   a good chance that if someone does that the browser will search
   the RealNames directory, find that the word hoover is
   associated with hoover.com, and display the hoover.com main
   page. Exactly the same outcome. Except that Hoover had to pay
   $100 to get the system that worked well in the first place to
   continue working.

   By the way, the RealNames staff, if you ever get to talk to one
   of them, will try to sell you on the idea that RealNames are
   better than URLs, that with a RealName you'll be able to use a
   keyword instead of a URL. This is complete nonsense, though
   unfortunately a lot of Internet "newbies" are perhaps not quite
   knowledgeable enough to understand this. Yes, if you have a
   RealName keyword you can, in some circumstances, type it into a
   browser and get straight to the referenced site. But in most
   cases it _won't_ work. If you dig around at the RealNames site
   you'll find they claim keywords provide "access to 63.8% of
   U.S. Web users" -- I believe the number is more likely under
   40%, the proportion of Web users working with Internet Explorer

   It's only going to work in Internet Explorer 5 -- it won't work
   in earlier versions, it won't work in Netscape Navigator, and
   it won't work in most other browsers (it'll work in NeoPlanet,
   but then, how many NeoPlanet users do you know?). They want you
   to start promoting your RealName keyword as a way to get to
   your site. Don't do it. It doesn't make sense to try to "brand"
   your site using a Web "address" that won't work in most cases.
   Instead, make sure you have a good, memorable domain name.


   {{ Another Web Research Tool }}

   A few months ago I wrote about a variety of automated research
   tools you can use to keep an eye on the Web for you:

   A reader, Adam Amir, recently told me about a new one, Karnak:

   "Karnak has saved me so much time," this reader wrote, "in
   finding, storing and tracking my information that I have
   stopped using anything else."

   [I've got to say that I don't like this site's design. I think
   the whole idea of using a picture of a building and expecting
   users to click on doors and desks and so on -- a door for the
   entrance, a big desk for "signup," etc., is plain silly. But
   that's another story.]

   I haven't used this site myself. But Karnak claims that it
   "compiles information from multiple sources, weeding out
   obviously bad information, storing findings in your personal
   library, and providing you a summarized, condensed, and
   highlighted report." Sounds good, if it works. The system
   periodically checks for more information, and e-mails you

   They have a free service that allows you to research multiple
   topics, but it only saves the most recent topic. The advanced
   services cost from $9.99 to $49.99 a month, depending on how
   many topics the system maintains for you.


   {{ A Useful Tool For Site-by-Site Web Research }}

   I recently ran across a useful little tool that can assist you
   when visiting Web sites. For instance, let's say you're
   visiting Web sites looking for places that might link back to
   your site. Or perhaps you are looking for sites that might want
   to mention your contest or get involved in some other kind

   2bpop is a special browser (it actually works through Internet
   Explorer). When you open a Web page, the system quickly creates
   a list of all the e-mail addresses and links in the page. You
   can click on an e-mail address, select a message from a list of
   templates, and e-mail it. For instance, you might find a
   [EMAIL PROTECTED] address in the Web page, and send a
   message asking the Webmaster if he'd like to hold a contest at
   his site giving away some of your products. From loading the
   page to sending the message can take just a few seconds, making
   this a tremendously efficient process.

   The system also allows you to save lists of Web sites, so you
   can easily visit again.

   You can find the program at http://www.2bpop.com/


   {{ Need Free Content? }}

   Want to make your site more attractive to visitors? To add
   content to complement what you already have? How about _free_
   content -- photos, news-headline links, columns and articles?
   Take a look at iSyndicate.com, a system that currently takes
   content from almost 600 providers, and channels the content to
   over 140,000 sites.

   You can link to this content for free. So you can have news
   headlines, for instance, on your Web site, but when someone
   clicks on a headline they'll be taken to another site ... which
   is not always something you want to happen, of course. You can
   also buy content to incorporate into your site, starting at
   $500 a month.

   See http://www.isyndicate.com/


   {{ Poor Richard's Web Site and Other Top Floor Books }}

   Top Floor Publishing now has five books in print:

   Poor Richard's E-mail Publishing

   Poor Richard's Web Site

   Poor Richard's Internet Marketing and Promotions

   The CDnow Story: Rags to Riches on the Internet

   MP3 and the Digital Music Revolution: Turn Your PC into a
   CD-Quality Jukebox

   Order direct from the publisher, and you'll get a 100%, 1-Year
   Guarantee. If you feel the book wasn't worth the money, send it
   back for a refund!

   And remember, these books are discounted at the Web site, and
   you pay just one shipping cost regardless of how many books you


   {{ Book Reviewers Wanted }}

   Do you review books for newspapers, magazines, newsletters
   (electronic or paper), Web sites, or other media spots? If so,
   perhaps you'd like to review Top Floor Publishing's latest
   book, "Poor Richard's E-mail Publishing." Or perhaps you'd like
   to review one of the other books I mentioned above?

   Contact my Marketing Director, Missy Derkacz, at
   [EMAIL PROTECTED] Include your full mailing address, the
   name of newspaper/magazine/whatever in which the review will
   appear and the probable date of publication, and the editor's
   contact information.


   {{ Reading Back Issues }}

   If you need to refer to back issues of this newsletter -- and
   search the archives -- you can find them at the following


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