Magazine article Information Today

The Internet Business Book

Magazine article Information Today

The Internet Business Book

Article excerpt

As a result of writing about the Internet regularly, Information Today "Internet Waves" columnist P. Michael McCulley has the chance to see, read, and use some of the newest Internet books as they are published. There are now literally hundreds of titles, lots of good basic beginner texts, and many specialized guides covering tools and subject areas, as well as how-to resource books. In this first of a two-part book review article, McCulley examines two recently published titles about business use of the Internet. (Next month, he reviews a book covering educational resources on the Net, plus a comprehensive text for Internet users and information providers.)

The Internet Business Book offers well-crafted overview of creating a business presence and using the Internet for business operations and purposes. It's aimed particularly at those wanting to market products and/or services on the Internet. Author Jill Ellsworth, a professor the University of Texas, is on the Net lot, and I see her savvy and thoughtful postings particularly on the Inet-Marketing mailing list. She and co-author/ husband Matthew keep their writing grounded in practicalities, and use layman's language that I find refreshing. They provide solid startup information for new business-oriented users.

The Internet Business Book is divided into five sections, covering what the Net is and how to get connected; creating a business presence on the Net; Internet tool and resources; doing business on the Net; and resources--categorized by profession--on the Internet; In a conclusion, the authors discuss their view of the future of the Internet. And three brief appendices cover basic hardware/software areas, sending and receiving files, plus basic UNIX commands. I like the glossary they included, which defined most of the basic terms briefly and clearly.

Section 1, on the basics, is brief but thorough, and provides information to help readers select a service provider--a key factor in having good Net connectivity. Section 2, on creating a business presence, is at the heart of the book's purpose, along with Section 4 on doing business on the Net. In Section 2, the authors provide plenty of facts, as well as examples of businesses using the Internet today. I particularly liked their discussion of the "why" question: why are companies using the Internet today? The examples they cite cover everything from e-mail to cost-containment to global communications. They also touch on "netiquette," the rules and guidelines for acceptable use of the Internet by businesses and companies. Their advice can help new user avoid getting "flamed" for inappropriate business postings and e-mail.

Also in Section 2 is this noteworthy advice on avoiding the traffic jams, or overloading, that can occur on the Net: "For a business, this doesn't mean avoiding these services entirely during the day, but just doing a little planning if you have a computer-intensive or long job for the remote computer. For instance, if you are on the East Coast of the United States, you could use the services of some West Coast sites before 11 A.M. Eastern time, so you would be finished before West Coast users got to work at 8 A.M. Pacific time. …

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