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NetGain Update for July 2000

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  • Jim Rink
    PEER-TO-PEER COMPUTING HAS COMMUNICATION IMPLICATIONS by Shel Holtz, ABC The federal court has dealt a blow to Napster, ordering the file-sharing site shut
    Message 1 of 1 , Aug 1, 2000
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      by Shel Holtz, ABC

      The federal court has dealt a blow to Napster, ordering the
      file-sharing site shut down pending trial. The judge cited
      the service's blatant facilitation of copyright violation
      and piracy. But even if Napster dies, the file-sharing
      genie is out of the bottle and will not be stuffed back
      in. Music fans already are telling one another where else
      they can go to continue their downloading of MP3 files.

      In case you've been on the island with the cast of "Survivor,"
      Napster is a free downloadable application that allows you to
      download MP3 music files from the hard drives of other Napster
      users. I have about 50 files in the "My Music" subdirectory on
      my computer. Thus, whenever anybody launches Napster and logs
      onto the centralized Napster server, he now has access to the
      50 files in my folder, along with all the music in all the other
      folders of any Napster users who happen to be simultaneously
      logged on. No music actually resides on the Napster server;
      it serves only to connect the thousands of individuals' computer
      that happen to be connected at the time.

      The record industry isn't happy about this, claiming it is mighty
      easy for average computer users to "rip" a song from a CD and
      place it in their music folders, where any other user could access it, bypassing
      the purchase of the CD and depriving the
      industry of the revenues it currently earns. (Not that this
      wasn't happening before Napster; Napster only makes it easier.)
      The lawsuits against Napster are based, technically, on the fact
      that all those users log onto a centralized Napster server that
      handles the connection.

      The music industry may have a harder time with Gnutella, which
      does essentially the same thing, but without the use of a server.
      It is nothing more than a Windows-based application that allows all those
      individuals to be linked with one another. You only
      need to find one other Gnutella user who is logged on and, using
      that individual's IP address, connect to that machine. You're
      now linked to every Gnutella user who happens to be online. It
      effectively turns every computer on the network into both a
      server and a client. Gnutella is not designed to facilitate the
      sharing of music, either; while it's just as easy to share music as anything
      else, it was developed to enhance the sharing of

      (The coyright issue is a whole different kettle of fish --
      an important kettle to be sure, but outside the scope of
      this article.)

      With or without the server, the concept is known as "peer-to-peer
      computing." That is, the users are directly linked with one another -- and able
      to search and download one another's
      content. (In Napster's case, you can only find files in the "My
      Music" folder. With Gnutella, you specify which of your folders
      contain content you're willing to share.)

      The implications of peer-to-peer computing extend well beyond
      music, although nobody's given it much thought yet, what with
      the uproar over the protection of Metallica's intellectual
      property (which may be an oxymoron -- and besides, Courney
      Love, among others, have been singing Napster's praises).

      What else might be shared via peer-to-peer computing, and who
      should be concerned besides Sony and MCA? Other intellectual
      property comes to mind: chapters from books and articles from
      magazines. Beyond that, though, consider the anti-corporate
      activists who can store everything from rants and diatribes to
      research and records on their own hard drives. Conducting
      an Alta Vista or Google search would be fruitless because the
      content is not on Web servers reachable by search spiders.

      None of which is meant to suggest that peer-to-peer computing
      is inherently bad. Think about it -- it's actually quite
      exciting, establishing more of a content Web than the World
      Wide Web could ever dish up. But the implications for
      organizations should be considered, and as these applications
      become more popular, new ones evolve, and their uses expand,
      you should add them to your frame of reference.

      Contact Shel at shel@...


      by Dan Janal

      The latest battleground for reputation management is on sites
      like epinions.com. This is a wonderful site that features
      unedited comments from people who rave or vent their feeling
      about everything from airlines to brokers to kitchen knives.
      (Similar sites include deja.com, consumerreview.com,
      productopia.com, and the venerable Consumer Reports Website.)

      You can see a cumulative rating for the product, company or
      service and then read individual opinions.

      You can relive people's bad experiences with one airline and
      then read another opinion of a fan! Some writing sounds like
      soap operas or fan letters. It is a fun read. These are
      literate people (who can't spell) and to whom attention must
      be paid.

      Sure, there are lunatics, people who never have anything nice
      to say, and the occasional competitor who writes nasty stuff
      to save his job, but for the most pay, there's a lot of good
      information as well as opinion on this site.

      Then there's The Vault, where employees can warn prospects
      about working at their company before they accept job offers.

      What does all this mean for reputation managers?

      First, these are more sites you must monitor to maintain the
      reputation of your company and its products.

      Second, you must set the record straight when errors are posted.

      Third, these are important tools for finding true problems. For
      instance, several people complained about the Northwest hub
      in Detroit. But others liked the service in Minneapolis.
      Managers should route this info to the proper channels to
      solve a very real problem.

      Fourth, you can find the features that people want from your
      products, either by reading reviews of your products, or scanning
      the review of your competitors.

      Contact Dan at dan@...


      by Carol Kinsey Goman

      In the recent past, I have addressed three different
      organizations facing the same issue: how to manage the
      transition from traditional classroom-style learning to
      online learning. For corporate training departments, as
      well as colleges and universities, this is a BIG change.
      Education is an industry that has looked pretty much the
      same since 12th century Italy, when the first universities
      placed students in a classroom to listen to the lectures
      of an instructor.

      Now, thanks to connective technology and the explosion of
      knowledge in the information age, this traditional view of
      education is fast becoming obsolete. Online learning has the
      power to change training more than any other force in the
      recent history of education. First of all, e-learning
      changes the rules about who is in charge - the learner, not
      the instructor.

      "Free-agent students" seek education on their own, learning
      at their own pace, whenever and wherever it's convenient.
      And the best online courses are proving to be more effective
      than classroom teaching. They are highly interactive and
      personalized -- rich in multimedia and full of role-playing and
      real-life simulations. A course in situational leadership by
      Ninth House Network is a six-hour event, much of which is a
      movie with endings that differ depending on your decisions. If
      you make the wrong choice, your electronic mentor explains
      why and returns you to the appropriate decision point. This
      program (and others like it) has been proven to increase retention

      Faced with the challenge of transforming corporate education, Neil Johnston,
      Chairman of the American Society for Training and
      Development, made these observations as he opened ASTD's 2000

      * A knowledge-based economy is a learning economy. In the
      global war for talent, 70% of the world's 1,000 top-tier
      companies cite lack of trained talent as the #1 barrier to
      sustaining growth. This drives the need for learning.

      * Training is now seen as a competitive advantage. According to
      ASTD research, companies that invest the most in training, do
      the best in the marketplace.

      * Corporate learning has a seat at the executive table. It is
      fully integrated into the strategic management of companies
      that want to keep a competitive edge. Corporations get an
      increased competitive advantage from having a well-trained
      workforce that's up to date on latest trends, collaborating
      and sharing knowledge.

      * There is a tidal wave of capital flowing into the learning
      industry: Education is a $772 billion industry - the second
      largest sector in the U.S. economy. (Healthcare is first.)
      Corporate training is $66 billion of that market. Learning is
      projected to be a multi-trillion dollar market by 2003.

      * The potential for e-learning is vast. Of the $66 Bill a year
      spent on training, 20% is e-learning and 80% traditional
      classroom instruction. By 2003, predictions are that the
      percentages will be 40-60. The market is poised to explode.

      * According to John Chambers, CEO of Cisco, e-learning is the
      next killer app of the Internet: "Education over the Internet
      is going to be so big it is going to make email look like a
      rounding error."

      Question: How is your organization adapting to online learning?
      Better question: What are you doing to champion online learning in your

      Contact Carol at carol@...


      by Tudor Williams, ABC

      Many of the largest companies in the US and UK lack an effective
      communication strategy for using the Internet as a direct communication channel
      with customers and investors.

      Rainier, a marketing communications agency, conducted a study of the Fortune 100
      companies in the US and the FTSE 100 in the UK
      between March and July 2000. The study found that more than one
      in five of the Fortune 100 companies couldn't be contacted by
      email through their web sites. In the UK almost one in three
      could not be contacted by email. A few of the UK companies did
      not even have a Website.

      Of the 77 Fortune 100 companies that could be contacted by email, a third of
      them failed to respond to email requests for
      investor information within three months. In the UK, more than
      20% failed to respond within three months. Only three of the
      Fortune companies responded to requests for information within
      two hours. In the UK, 20 companies responded within two hours.

      In the study, initial contacts were made at the beginning of March with a follow
      up at mid-March, if a company failed to
      respond. Emails were sent in the middle of the working day.

      Of the most responsive UK companies the fastest response was
      four minutes (National Power) and in the US, five minutes (UPS).
      The 10 most responsive companies responded in 21 minutes or
      less in the UK and in 3 hours 3 minutes or less in the US.

      Of those who responded but in the longest time, the response time for the 10
      least responsive was between four and 27 days
      (Colt Telecom) in the UK and between seven and 25 days (SBC
      Communications) in the US.

      Incredibly, some of the slowest responses and non-responses came from some of
      the biggest companies in communication - Colt,
      Dell, Energis, Telewest, IBM and Motorola.

      What was missing? No online contact method or mechanism to email a query, or the
      online forms crashed or didn't load.

      Current trends show increasing numbers of customers with Internet access,
      increasing customer expectations for Internet
      interactions with companies, and increasing customer
      dissatisfaction with Internet transactions that do take place.

      When are the corporate communications strategists going to get with it and
      address the growing need to communicate with the
      e-customer more effectively? Is the corporate web master a part
      of the strategic communication planning team? Does this suggest
      little or no integration of communication strategy planning that
      brings together the corporate communication group, the marketing
      communications group and the customer service group?

      What is clear is that there is a frightening lack of
      e-communication blueprints in many of the leading corporations
      and a corporate blindness to the impact of the Internet on
      ustomer satisfaction.

      Tudor can be found at tudor@...


      NetGain's partnership with IABC in presenting a two-day
      conference on new strategies and approaches to ecommunication
      was so successful, we're doing it again.

      NextWave, the IABC/NetGain eeommunication conference, is being
      presented in Toronto September 25-26. The lineup is not the
      same as the February conference in Washington, DC -- new
      topics and speakers are being offered, along with pre-
      conference workshops, so NextWave continues to offer the latest
      thinking and successes in the use of the Internet as a
      communication tool.

      The site for the conference, www.nextwave2000.com, will
      relaunch soon with details and registration capabilities.
      We hope to see you there!


      NetGain is a unique consortium. It is the only consulting
      organization made up of public relations and business
      communications consultants dedicated to helping other
      PR and business communications organizations capitalize
      on the advances being made in electronic communications
      technology. NetGain's solutions are built upon four
      cornerstones of People, Culture, Business Strategy and
      Technology which are translated into successful coaching,
      competitive analysis, consulting, knowledge management,
      research, seminars, speaking and strategy development

      To find out more about NetGain, send an email message to


      Jim Rink
      Senior Contributing Editor


      AAA Michigan, 1 Auto Club Drive,
      Dearborn MI 48126

      (313) 336-1513 voice (313) 336-0986 fax

      pr@... userg@...
      http://www.aaamich.com http://www.jimrink.com


      PRBytes Web page: http://www.jimrink.com/cmc.html

      "Not all that is gold does glitter..."
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