"a fish, a barrel, and a smoking gun"
for 20 June 1996. Updated every WEEKDAY.

Hit & Run XXXIX


[Hardcore Banner]

It's 10 A.M. and you're perched

on the bed of a roach-subsidizing

Hotel 6 a few miles away from

EMail World '96, taking in the

jackhammer strobe of the $6.95

adult skinslapper the hotel

management has so thoughtfully

facilitated (and your company

management so blithely

recompenses). Without warning,

and in callous defiance of the

DO NOT DISTURB doorhanger you've

presciently displayed, cleaning

staff barges in on your moment

of salty prayer. The

non-sociopathic amongst us would

be red-faced, no doubt, but in

this sticky scene's online

analogue, it could be a welcome,

rather than humiliating, rub.

Take the hard place we've found

ourselves in lately: while

clever hacks like Privnet's

ad-filtering IFF tickle even the

sponsor-friendly bones of the

Sucksters, the silent victory

brings with it a bit of a chill.

IFF might muffle all those dopey

USWeb ads, but at the price of

quashing our new favorites for

the Best Ad Banners of 1996

award: Hardcore.com. Sure,

sometimes it's nice to fly

Stealth through the increasingly

intelligent radar screens of

database marketers, but with

targeted ads like this, who

needs content?



And in this atmosphere of privacy

champions versus one-to-one

marketing utopians, watching the

blurring of the lines between

charming and alarming graduate

to Laff-a-thon levels appears to

be the ultimate Dream Job. The

net may be our planet's most

sophisticated proving ground for

swiss-cheese concepts so far,

but these days, the gas that

drives the holes must be nitrous

oxide. Anonymizer.com laments

the fact that "Every time you

visit a site, you leave a

calling card that reveals where

you're coming from, what kind of

computer you have, and other

details," while Anonymizer

itself collects a cookie with

just this sort of information

from each visitor. To be fair,

it is a freely-offered public

service, and as a value-add,

anonymizer.com is generous

enough to toss their own ad

banner on top of every site you

visit via their tendentious

tech. What's good for the goose

may be good for the gander, but

given a choice, we'd prefer

pâté de foie gras.



It's easy to build a technology

company completely out of hype,

but can you build one out of

jargon? In fact, you can. More

formulaic than the romance novel

is the technology start-up Web

page, and now it's a cinch to

generate your own automatically.

Just as Eliza's ability to

simulate a psychiatrist with

reasonable accuracy says more

about psychiatrists than it does

about computing, the marketing

bot offers more of a jab at

copywriters than at CGI

scripting. But with generators

now available for Star Trek

plots, Wired phrases, haiku, and

surrealist compliments, one

wonders how far the trend can

progress. After all, if someone

gets a surrealist insult

generator up and running, with a

little tweaking we'd be able to

get tomorrow's issue of Suck out

a lot faster.


[700 Million]

Every good host knows that the

success of one's parties is not

measured by the decibels, puke

stains on the shag, or heads

smashed through windows, but by

the number of couples

successfully introduced. In a

case of "cobbler's children

having no shoes" raised to

Nike proportions, we were

puzzled to see self-described

design genius David "Tekton"

Siegel at a loss as to how he

should renovate his highfive.com

site - and he's trolling for

clues in the form of a redesign

contest with "FABULOUS prizes."

David, meet 700 Million dot Com.

700 Million has seen their

future, and it's a Pepsi-branded

AV8 Harrier Jet. How to slurp in

the requisite motherlode of

Pepsi Points that PepsiCo.'s

demanding? By bartering the only

thing less valuable than a

chilled six-pack - HTML service!

Siegel wants "a third-generation

site," and Pepsi wants 700

million Pepsi points from

someone whose budget for "new

generation" cola product roughly

matches the GNP of a middling

Third World nation. We see a

marriage made in heaven and a

bachelor party from hell, with

fire and brimstone provided by

the largest carbonation-induced

gastroextravaganza of the

century. Get drinkin', boys...

courtesy of the Sucksters