February 2002

WEB CONFERENCING WORKS in times of travel budget cuts and ever busier schedules, which we discovered when OMIX and Documentum held a very effective Web conference last year. If you have not seen a Web conference you can see an example of a recorded Documentum conference on their 4i Content Management System at: http://us1.webex.com/... (it may require a few steps to start).

BETASPHERE GETS FEEDBACK from your beta customers by giving them a simple Web page to fill in that makes it easy for them to participate. This can open up your beta program to hundreds, and response rates are over 80%, not the 10% or so typical of some beta programs. Best of all, beta testers do not hesitate to give glowing testimonials in a private Web form. With permission, these testimonials can then be turned into public testimonials and/or used as sales leads. Your company can also run BetaSphere internally, for free, to allow staff involved with new products to run ad-hoc reports on results from beta testers.

CONSUMER .COMs TURN TO BUSINESS to find new revenue sources. AksJeeves.com, AltaVista.com and now Google.com have offered their software (Google is offering hardware, too) to perform searches intended for internal documents. Yahoo offers its software to build business portals, http://portals.yahoo.com. OMIX first saw this phenomenon when the OMIX-built site uGripe.com changed from a consumer complaint site to a business tool for analyzing customer feedback (see www.Enkata.com).

CONSUMER .COM THAT'S SUCCEEDING is Netflix.com of Los Gatos, CA. For $20/month you can rent 3 DVDs at a time. A prepaid mailer lets you easily swap out viewed movies for new ones. Netflix did about $75M in revenue last year, and has over 300,000 subscribers. They are also getting a 90% conversion from their free trial membership. www.e-businessworld.com/...

CUSTOMER RELATIONSHIP MANAGEMENT or CRM systems provide customer-facing employees with customer data, product data, order information, up-selling scripts and other information that can help in managing the customer experience. Siebel is the company with the strongest sales in this category, and Siebel is now expanding its technology to cover Partner and Employee Relationship Management as well.

IS LIVE CHAT DEAD? Yahoo is finding that live chats are not getting good attendance even with celebrity hosts. Another problem is that many live chats drift far from the subject at hand, and instead become trivial and irrelevant. See http://chat.yahoo.com for examples. However, some threaded newsgroups (also called forums, bulletin boards or posting sites) are flourishing. www.BadGirlSwirl.com has a thriving forum with over 50,000 posts since going live about a year ago. Another community building tool is Yahoo Groups (formerly eGroups.com), which is experiencing rapid growth. I now find myself in seven groups without even trying (see http://groups.yahoo.com).

PHOTO QUALITY PRINTING DROPS IN PRICE with a new low of $49 for an HP 656C. This is $5 cheaper than buying the ink cartridges for this printer! - (www.hp.com). Like having an Internet connection, photo quality printing is becoming standard for US homes. Customers can now print marketing brochures, product manuals and datasheets as needed.

FOR QUESTIONS, REMOVALS, OR TO RECEIVE OMIX NEWS contact Kyle Hurlbut at 650-330-8980, kyle@OMIX.com