for 15 October 1996. Updated every TUESDAY.

BIG IDEA Microsoft Word meets HotMail...
on the web!
25 WORDS <= Don't shell out bucks for a shrink-wrapped
letter-cruncher; edit on the web, free of
charge - in exchange for a little product
HARD SELL Just as HotMail satisfies users' burning
desire for free, web-based email,
Wordprocessor.com offers - at no cost -
the features of the leading standalone
word processor. No longer need the typist
worry about the pesky issues like disk
space and local file management. Best of
all, users can wordsmith without leaving
the safety and comfort of their familiar
The benefit for advertisers is a new,
print-based distribution channel for
their brand names. Of course, those using
Wordprocessor.com will have the
sponsoring brands phosphorescently burned
into their consciousness. But the real
payoff comes when users print out their
finished drafts, with the traditional ad
banner appended to the top of each page.
By employing the user's hard copy as a
channel for advertisers, even those
who've never used the web can be reached.
The recipient of the printout - whether a
credit card company representative, Dear
John, or a term-paper grader - also
receives the benefit of brand
reinforcement. Brand names can also be
inserted into the text itself for more
subtle effect. This can be done either
automatically or by interactively
suggesting the appropriate branding -
during the spell-checking process, for
instance, or by way of a "Brand Wizard."
Wordprocessor.com will be effective
immediately, but will also lie in wait
for widespread installations of network
computers to appear. These machines will
require web-based applications to work,
and their users will gravitate toward the
better-known products that have already
met with success. Using one application
as a starting point also lends itself to
obvious c|net-style horizontal spinoffs:
Calculator.com, Spreadsheet.com,
Database.com, and Presentation.com. These
could be accessed at different
"channel"-specific URLs or through a main
site, Suite.com.
OVERHEAD True, it would take a small group of Java
programmers at least a year to emulate
the market-leading word processor
completely. If the programming team seeks
only to copy the five percent of the feature
set which is actually ever used, however,
the task shrinks to a manageable few
weeks, and could easily be finished
during a cut-rate summer internship
period. If automatic brand-name insertion
is implemented, some sort of common sense
will have to have to be built in, to
avoid placing a brand name in an
unambiguously negative context.
Otherwise, unfortunate sentences like
"Water Joe is suitable only for radiators
and should not be consumed by humans"
might find their way onto the printout.
Although some suggest all reviews are
good reviews, advertisers may not agree.

[Pitch Archive]

courtesy of
The Internick