Book Reviews

Web Marketing

Publicity on the Internet: Creating Successful Publicity Campaigns on the Internet and the Commercial Online Services

Author: Steve O'Keefe, Tim Ryan (Editor), Mark Hayden (Editor)
Publisher Wiley, John & Sons, Incorporated
Publication Date: October 1996

Reviewer:Joel Klebanoff
Joel Klebanoff, is a copywriter and marketing communications consultant specializing in the information technology industry. He is president of Klebanoff Associates, Inc.

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Creating Successful Publicity Campaigns on the Internet and the Commercial Online Services

Any Internet-related book that is more than about one month old is out of date. This notwithstanding, you do need a starting point when trying to figure out how to best promote your organization, product or service on the Internet. This book is a good starting point.

The writing style and level is easy to read for most individuals with an interest in the subject matter. It is directed at people who want to undertake publicity on the Internet, not at the technical wizards. With just the most basic of understandings of what the Internet is about, you should have no problem following the book's advice.

Publicity on the Internet is quite comprehensive. It talks about the how to get the most publicity value out of e-mail announcements, e-mail press releases, news groups, chats, mailing lists, search engines -- and the list goes on. A small portion of the material is, however, somewhat dated. For instance, the book devotes a section to the use of the proprietary online services such as AOL, Compuserve, and Prodigy. Proprietary services are still important players -- none more so than AOL, which has grown considerably and bought Compuserve, but their role relative to the open portions of the Internet has changed considerably since the book was written.

The author also offers suggestions about the limits on the proper use of some these Internet media. However, these are primarily the author's opinion. There are times when following his advice might ruffle some feathers. Some purists are upset that there is any commercialization of the Internet (obviously, they lost that battle in a big way). Others find objectionable some practices that the majority of Net citizens accept as part of having an open communication media, even when they are less than thrilled with some of its manifestations. To the author's credit he points out some of the instances when one of his suggested practices might result in you being "flamed."

Throughout the book, the author makes extensive use of real-life examples. The only weakness is that the examples are weighted towards the author's own interest and experience -- book publicity on the Internet. However, extrapolating the examples for other use in other areas is not a big step.

The book also offers an extensive list of links you can use in your online publicity efforts. This is, of course, subject to the opening caveat. The book, or at least the edition on my shelf, was published in 1997. The Web is a different place today and some of the links are now out of date. Most of the concepts are, surprisingly, still very relevant and valuable today.