My Website is “1995”?


Tuesday, 24 January 2006 at 5:00 am Pacific USA Time.

FastCompany magazine is running a contest where they’re trying to find innovators. They selected me as a finalist, and put my entry on their website. Oddly, they are allowed anybody to publicly comment on any entry. If you read my and other entries as well as their comments, you might get the feeling that the only innovators on the planet are ad agencies whose goal is to be the best ad agency around. Innovative (NOT)!

Some of the public comments I’ve received have made me laugh out loud. A few comments about how nobody needs help with eBay, so there’s no use for my services (try telling my clients that). Or how people shouldn’t bother paying us… just use free services and free advice as that’ll be the same (OK prove it :) ).

But the latest comment I read has me really laughing. Someone said my website is very 1995. I was creating websites in 1995, and I can say that you could not have built this in 1995. Then why does my website look like that?

  • I don’t believe in using tiny fonts or "European" styling. I actually want my website visitors to be able to read what’s on the screen.
  • I don’t think that all good websites are done in Flash. I believe that some of the people who visit my site are printing out multiple pages. It would be harder for them to do that in Flash, and I’d be making more work for everybody if I had to link to a printable version of every page.
  • I think that simple and straightforward matches the way the eBay buyer and seller think. I can’t find a good reason to overwhelm people with design or eight million choices on the home page.
  • And most importantly, nobody has ever emailed me to say that my website was just too simple, so they’re not going to hire me. I tend to hear that people were very happy with how much information they found, allowing them to consider our company without having to email or call us to ask questions.

That makes me feel like I have the right site for the right audience. If I were trying to attract Fortune 500 companies, I’d have to have a different site. While I’m trying to attract the small businessperson of the world, my site connects to them, so I’m calling this good marketing. I always say our work speaks for itself.

To the people who wrote negative comments about how nobody needs us, I hope I run into you at the annual eBay convention. Of course, you’ll be there to learn more about improving your eBay business, so evidently all the free services weren’t helping enough AND the idea that nobody needs help with selling on eBay would have to be out the window. :) See you there!


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Categories: That's Good Marketing

Comments Closed

3 Responses to “My Website is “1995”?”

  1. Kyle Bennett says:

    “Someone said my website is very 1995.”
    The implication being that nothing done in 1995 could possibly be of any value any more. Those same people would probably thumb their nose at a finely preserved Craftsman style house as being “so 1920’s” (or whatever decade that was…). Your site looks fine to me.
    “…ad agencies whose goal is to be the best ad agency around. Innovative (NOT)!”
    Have you ever read the Cluetrain Manifesto?
    –Kyle Bennett

  2. Debbie says:

    Don’t know Cluetrain.
    I still think it’s wacky that my site looks as “advanced” (or not) as the other companies in my industry.

  3. Kyle Bennett says:

    Debbie,
    They are here:
    http://www.cluetrain.org/
    Your comment about “innovative” ad agencies – NOT, sounded like something they would say. Their site looks a little “tin foil hat”ish at first, but it’s interesting stuff, and I’m seeing alot of things around that look either influenced by them or arose independently but are similar in attitude.
    –Kyle Bennett