"a fish, a barrel, and a smoking gun"
for 14 November 1995. Updated every WEEKDAY.

Indexing for Dollars

[Today's guest columnist, writing
 as the Corporate Lackey (the    
 "John Doe" of the net?), offers 
 some insights into moving out of
 the Shithouse and into the      
 Greenhouse, ponders the         
 redemption value of a URL, and  
 answers the age-old question    
 over whether you should really  
 leave "alphanumerical filing   
 skills" on your resume...]      


Brewster Kahle of WAIS, Inc.

often jokes at his speaking

engagements, "The only real way

to make money on the Web is to

sell your company." It may be

more caveat than bon mot, but

it's a truism for Mr. Kahle and

many other former owners of

companies quickly being

swallowed by the ever-expanding

America Online corporation.



Quite a truism, in fact - 400,OOO

shares of AOL stock makes for a

very green house, indeed.



However, if you're in the mood

for moola you've first got to

deal with the problem of

creating a company with enough

apparent value to be noticed by

a larger entity with deep, deep

pockets and a fear of being

"left behind" by the technical



Well, if you've got a little

talent, an idea, some computer

expertise and a Nietzschean Will

to Power, you've probably

already thrown together your own

Web-based business.


Those who can, do.


If you're low on the

entrepreneurial scale, you might

have your own side business of

writing HTML for the

net-ignorant in your spare time -

maybe a couple of lousy pages

about some florist shop in the

Midwest. Sure, it may carry

about as much social cache as

scrawling cardboard signs for

hobos, but for a few weekend

hours you score a modicum of

walking-around money.


Those who can't, teach.


What about the perennial

majority - those people who want

to make money, have border-line

sociopathic entrepreneurial

drive but have no talent




Those who can't do or teach,



With Yahoo, preferred by 9 out of

10 librarians, in bed with

Netscape, and GNN being

bought by AOL (there's another

AOL buy-out in the works, mark

your scorecards) everyone wants

a piece of the action. Indices

that were around before the

bigtime are gearing up for

corporate sponsorships. New

indices are popping up left and

right with their proverbial hats

out, begging "URLS! URLS for the

poor!" A certain amount of

copycat-ism is spread around as

all these johnny-come-latelies

and johnny-came-early-but-just-

smelled-the-coffees dig in the

same goldmine for the precious

Web resources to put in their



URLs create size. Size creates

hits. Hits create sponsorships,

or so the theory goes. Even

non-commercial, non-indexing

sites are getting into the

"sponsorship" binge, but that's

another story for another time.



Everyone has a favorite index.

Unfortunately for those other

up-and-coming kids on the block,

it's usually Yahoo. That won't

stop the dreamers, the salesmen,

the people who think they can

charge a grand a month for a

banner-logo on their page. After

all, how many sets of yellow

pages can one Internet support?


The answer? All that the sponsors

will bear.

courtesy of the Corporate Lackey