Thursday, October 07, 1999

The Internet World Whirlwind

Taking a deep breath, I braced my shoulders and marched squarely into the mad frenzy of barkers, hawkers and showmen for my lap around the Javits Center for the fourth day of Internet World on Thursday, October 7th. Qwest and MCI might win the awards for the loudest demos -- which might have been a bit jarring for Globix, which was quietly doing business next door. The book publishers McGraw Hill and O'Reilly were marketing recent and big seller Internet-related books, the latter of which was offering a 20% discount at the show. Among the gimmicky "sites" were (a CMGi company and formerly known as Planet Direct) that had Laurie Edmonds of Eisnor Interactive as a caricaturist drawing attendees who'd sit through a session; Intel had some actors popping out of cubes and interacting for their demo and Cable & Wireless apparently had a full service bar on an upper deck at their booth. Even PriceWaterhouseCoopers got into the act, with a magician selling their services.

Folks from Asimba, a health and fitness resource, were talking with folks, stationed next to the team, who was previewing the "diamond evening bag," which will be one of the items for sale on their luxury goods, diamonds and jewelry site.
Other countries were also present at this IW, highlighting the advantages of doing business oversees. Shannon, Ireland, for instance, offers tax breaks and tax-free income from products developed and patented in Ireland.

Lille, Metropole is apparently the European capital of mail-order businesses. I spent a moment and chatted with Frederic Saubade, EVP sales & marketing for COM One, who also showed me the new @Max, which is the next generation of the famous Minitel. This unit, which will be available in France in January 2000 and the rest of the world in March 2000, is a complete Internet unit (not PC) and will retail for approximately $350 for the first production and $250 thereafter. End-users through ISPs are their target market to start. France Telecom was also being represented by, which was demoing its new "thematic search engine."

Back in the US-land, I saw Rob Argento of Middleberg, who handed me a recent client's offering--a Zagat's Map of Restaurants. Finally Zagat's has it's own Web site! Michael Terpin of the Internet Wire (an Internet-based news distribution service) had some announcements, and he told me of their new alliance with Network Solutions where new domain name registrants can send out a release to its network for just $30. Macromedia's Shocked-site-of-the-day multiple-time winners Dennis Interactive's Eric Lobel and Tom Livaccari were showing off their site and some recent client work for McDonald's and Disney. was showing off it's new and improved site, Allaire was demoing new products and I-recall was marketing their media-enabled note-taking software for palmtops, laptops and desktops where you can pinpoint audio and video highlights.

IBM's "mark" of distinction was its Web Integrator Initiative, which enables companies to grow and handle all their "e-business" challenges. The other "mark" was the exciting news that Mark Hanny was recently promoted from his director of Channel Marketing role to Vice President of the entire Web Integrator Initiative! Not only has that been keeping him busy, but he and his wife are about to have a baby girl! Congratulations Mark!

Upstairs in the pressroom, I met Sacha Cohen, the DC Cyber Scene reporter and Scott Jensen of Berton & Donaldson. Shinji Hara a professor with Kagawa University in Japan interviewed me for a study of networking, the Internet and it's effects on our culture while at UCLA. On my way out towards the night of parties, I stopped in SkipJack Merchant Services' booth to meet with Bradley Hoeweler, George Farnell, Jr. and their team to learn about them and grab a "pop" (as they call them in Cincinnati, OH). This company has been offering secure transaction services for clients for several years now and they just announced their point-of-sale software for the Palm. And they're a nice group of people!