October 22, 2001-- Newsletter #153

By Joe Burns

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Goodies to Go (tm)
October 22, 2001--Newsletter #153

This newsletter is part of the internet.com network.
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Greetings, Weekend Silicon Warriors,

The moratorium on Internet taxes is dead. I don't know that state governments will immediately jump on new taxes, but within a year new taxes will start to show up. It's a real shame too.

Common sense should tell lawmakers that adding high taxes will not raise great revenue from hurting sites. It'll only put them out of business so no taxes whatsoever are coming in. However, I'm afraid that logic won't enter into the conversation.

Did you hear...

No, you cannot get Anthrax from you computer, but you can get Antrax. It's a new low-level virus that's making it's way around the Web. The subject line offers information about the virus and clicking on the attachment fires the virus. Sound familiar? Be careful. Don't open attachments.

NBC is jumping on the E-commerce bandwagon. ShopNBC is up and running at http://www.shopnbc.com/nbcstore/. There's NASCAR stuff galore so that alone should keep them in business.

All those videophones being used to cover the war should help the sales of handspring's new phone/PDA combo. The new devices are part of the Treo 180 line and come in at around $400.00 when you buy service also. The phone without service is up around $550.00.

Now on to today's topic...

Is the Web the safe place to be?

You'll not get a strange brownish powder from an email. Doing your shopping online allows you to stay out of the mall. Watching Web-based movies and just plain surfing for information are becoming Friday and Saturday night activities.

I'm not predicting this. It's happening. Online sales are up 32% over the week following the attacks.

Usual dead surfing times are up. In some cases it's a full 24 percent so says Yahoo.

News site surfing is way up. Jupiter Media Metrix Inc. reports that news sites won the surfing wars. CNN.com was the most visited with over 24 million unique visitors. That's almost 150% of the normal surfing rate. Visitors also spent longer periods of time. The mean was over a half hour within the site. MSNBC came in second with Time.com and ABC.com tying for the bronze.

Email is flourishing. Direct marketing firms are nervous. The Direct Marketing Association CEO Bob Wientzen says the Anthrax scare will certainly take a bite out of his and the Post Office's business. AOL says that email has nearly doubled from one year ago.

The Internet has become a mirror image of many of our day-to-day activities. Afraid of a letter, send an email. Afraid to go out, stay in and surf.

The four news stories that I pieced together to put create the few paragraphs above proclaimed this as a good thing for those working in the Internet sector. It is. I'm not taking anything away from the Internet economy improving. I run two online sites that are trying to make money. I welcome more surfers and more buyers.

I'm just not as happy about the increase as the articles. I would be happier if the surfing and the buying and the emailing was done out of want and not fear. People aren't emailing because they want to, they're emailing because the alternative is scary.

I brought this up to a couple of friends before starting to write. Someone suggested that it is a bit of a victory that our society is so advanced that we can stay in the comfort and relative security of our own homes and, through our computer, keep in touch with the outside world.

Hmm...yes, but is cocooning ourselves in our homes any better since we can do it comfortably? I mean, would jail be much better if the cells were mauve with throw pillows, abstract art, and comfy chairs?

Please understand I don't mean to say that the population is cocooning itself, but there are signs that it's happening in pockets. Movie ticket sales are way down for one. Restaurants are begging for customers. Here in New Orleans, the food industry is huge. People have stopped coming as tourists and thus I can get a table at Emeril's just about any night of the week. The governor has set up a "night out" so that locals will fill the chairs. Walking the French Quarter is rather eerie without a hundred people in every shop and bar.

The Internet is great, no doubt, but it's allowing people to stay "hidden" in relative comfort.

That's not good.

I say, continue to buy that stuff online. Visit those news sites. Send that email. But then, come the weekend, thumb your nose at the people who are responsible for your staying home.

Write a nice letter to a good friend. Get dressed up and take in dinner and a movie.

That'll show em'.

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

That's That. Thanks for reading. I spent this past weekend watching the Saints get beat. It was me and 70,000 of my closest friends. The Superdome is just an amazing place.

Joe Burns, Ph.D.

And Remember: How about some Oreo cookie facts? First off, the original Oreo cookies were not just vanilla cream filled. You could also get lemon. That made sense in 1912 when Americans were obsessed with "English" style cookies, or "biscuits." The Oreo was created to give the impression of being English. There are numerous theories as to how the cookie was named. The most common was that the "RE" came from the word "cream" and the two "Os" came from the two cookies that held it all together. It takes an hour and a half to produce one single cookie. Good thing there are lots of bakeries. I can kill a bag in a sitting.

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