"a fish, a barrel, and a smoking gun"
for 5 September 1996. Updated every WEEKDAY.

Hit & Run L



c|net's latest techie news

effluent is sited at the coveted

news.com, and Netscape has

provided a prized home page link -

purportedly because it

demonstrates some of their

browser's multimedia features.

But in order to get pole

position on the world's most-hit

web page, it seems c|net had to

assume the position: Yesterday's

top two stories were headlined

"Netscape gets fired up" and

"Java bugs hit Explorer 3.0."

c|net certainly benefits from

the reach of the Netscape home

page in this reach-around deal,

but they're not on top in the

bargain. With this sort of murky

launch tactics on display, one

might wonder how anyone could

find their news coverage

penetrating - yet it would seem

c|net's old-school competitors

Ziff-Davis, CMP and IDG are

feeling shafted. Why was c|net

forced to bust the golden nut on

a full-page WSJ ad yesterday?

Maybe getting their ads refused

by the aforementioned dweeb-pub

triumvirate reminded them of

what they knew all along: News

these days is a lot like sex -

the lucky ones get it for free,

the unlucky ones can't find it

in a morgue, but a trenchcoater

with a gold card rarely goes

unsatisfied for too long.



Ever the gap-toothed icon of

good-humored sponsor-baiting,

the decreasingly funny David

Letterman now wants to eliminate

all midprogram advertising from

his September 20 show in favor

of short "Corporation X is proud

to sponsor"-style announcements

at the beginning of the hour.

Coming from a new media

perspective, we can't help but

assume the real reason

advertisers cried foul was that

CBS wasn't - how to say this

delicately - creative enough in

coming up with substitutes for

the traditional 30-second spot.

With the "World-Wide

Pant-o-meter" in mind, our top

ideas include sponsorable stupid

human tricks, product-centered

top ten lists (say, ten coolest

Certs encounters), and having

Dave announce during the show's

opening that a given lifestyle

accessory is part of "the

world's most dangerous brand."

Hell, look at what it did for




You'd think the cynicism bred by

openly selling out (see above)

would spur advertisers to

subtlety. Instead, they continue

to count on our own stupidity.

How many times a day do you ask

yourself, "Where can I go?" and

"What can I buy?" We generally

are content with the replies

"Nowhere," and "Nothing," but

those even more lost than us

might find some use in the

latest application of agent

technology, the Lifestyle

Finder. Despite what the name

suggests, when their web wizard

looks into his magic ball, all

he sees in our future are more

ads. Andersen Consulting must be

trying to play nice with all the

online stores it offended by

providing a useful tool for

getting decent prices on CDs. We

used to think that Bargain

Finder made a great team with

Firefly, but when you're out to

make money, the recipe for

success is the Psychic Friends

meet the Home Shopping Network.



For those prognosticators who

have been rumored to argue that

Muzak's incorporation of

networked technology prefigured

(and serves as metaphor for) the

growth of the net, the news of

Muzak's stalled IPO was bad

enough. Now, the Wall Street

Journal reports that the Seattle

company is looking to junk bonds

to stave off its $7.2 million

dollar debt. But, far from

learning a lesson, those high on

launching new media projects

geared at "Keep[ing] Employees,

Clients Customers and Guests In

Touch With The Outside World"

are simply changing their tune.

The crumpled Pointcast-killer

proposal we found lying

forlornly outside a South Park

cafe informed us that, after

all, it might be that "ambient

information is not Muzak." Well,

we hope not.

courtesy of the Sucksters