Breaking Into Internet Marketing by Dave Salois

 I started my journey into cyberspace back in 1984.  I had witnessed the famous Apple “1984″ ad on the Super Bowl XVIII on my wife’s birthday on January 22nd and just had to have one.  During summer vacation, I drove to Seattle from Post Falls, ID and bought one of the first roll-out Apple Macintosh 128K computers, fresh off the shelf in an Apple retail store that stocked new units direct from the factory. What made it a very useful tool was that it came with a Laserwriter printer, which allowed me to get rid of my clumsy old typewriter.  It also came with a neat “Paint” graphics package and PageMaker, the first desktop publishing software. My daughters loved it. It was an ugly little beige box with a tiny 7 inch high x 10 inch wide screen, but our family fell in love with it and used it every day.    

In those early days we used the computer mostly for writing documents, homework reports, social purposes, and some education because the Internet was still in it’s infancy and we used an online service provider called “Prodigy” to navigate the web using a 1200 bit/second modem and the local telephone company analog lines. Surfing took forever.  Prodigy offered its subscribers access to a wide range of networked services, which included news, weather, shopping, Internet marketing, bulletin boards, chat rooms, ebooks, games, polls, stock quotes, travel, banking and a host of other features.  CompuServe also offered an ISP service and later, in 1989, America Online (AOL) was available to Macintosh users and went on to acquire Netscape Communications. There were a variety of dial-up services available but it wouldn’t be until the mid nineties that high speed broadband (DSL) would be affordable and accessible for me.

In 1994, Prodigy became the first of the early-generation dial-up services to offer full access to the World Wide Web and to offer web page hosting for its members.  Me and my family used Prodigy for a decade while the Internet was unfolding. Prodigy had developed its own web browser, but it had fewer features compared to other mainstream browsers like Internet Explorer and Quake.  In 1996, Prodigy debuted its own real-time chat area within the service similar to AOL’s and offered members access to USENET newsgroups. Also, Prodigy’s first web presence, called Astranet, was released shortly thereafter, which was to be a web-based news and information service and supported in part by advertising, but it never got off the ground.

My Internet Marketing experience really didn’t take off until the mid ninties when the working browsers came out. I never managed to do anything until I purchased a few how-to ebooks and started dabbling in writing ebooks and reports and trying to draft salespages and delivery systems.   The first browser was invented in 1990 and called WorldWideWeb (WWW).  Mosaic (later Netscape) was invented by Marc Andreessen in 1993, followed by Netscape Navigator in 1994.  Microsoft came out with Internet Explorer in 1995 and offered their browser for free and that’s when things really got interesting for me. It really opened up the Internet to me.

In 1994, GeoCities was created by David Bohnett and John Rezner. It was a web hosting service that allowed its users to create their own webpages with little or no knowledge of coding needed. These web pages were allocated about 15 MB of space on their server and mostly were based on personal interest, such as fan pages or personal homepages. GeoCities was initiated as a beta program called Beverly Hills Internet, which created cyber “cities” in which users would select a virtual “city” where they wished their web site to be categorized under. When the site went public on June 7, 1995, it consisted of only 5 “cities”: Beverly Hills, Silicon Valley, Capitol Hill, Tokyo, and Paris. Around this time, the owners rebranded the company as GeoPages, and then later changed it back to GeoCities. After being publicly available for only a short time, GeoCities’s popularity jumped immensely and by December 1995, it hosted 25,000 pages and had over 6 million page views per month.  

In 1996, GeoCities introduced ads on every page in order to make more profit. While this move was greatly protested by users, the action was not dropped, and remarkably, GeoCities’s popularity did not suffer any negative effects. By June 1997, GeoCities had become the fifth most popular web site on the Web.  In 1999,  GeoCities was purchased by Yahoo, for $3.57 million with a user base count  at 1.8 million users; over 200,000 of which were between the ages of 3 and 15.  At the end of 1999, GeoCities was the third most visited site behind AOL and Yahoo. I used GeoCities to create my first web page and enjoyed surfing around to the different cities, which gave me a lot of experience.  Most of the last half of the nineties was a learning experience for me.

The Internet experience, and specifically the Internet marketing experience, has really come a long way, obviously, since those early days. Unfortunately, I have not.  I have tried hundreds of different marketing programs and bought tons of eBooks from the early gurus in an attempt to make a little extra income online, but I never quite succeeded or made any serious money.  The technical requirements were always just beyond my grasp and it was very frustrating. I doubt if I even broke even on any of my ventures. My hard drive is still cluttered up with a lot of all these antique programs, most of which have become outdated and useless. I keep them for sentimental reasons and because I’m too lazy to take the time and sort through them and clean house. 

The learning curve required to create web sites using html and graphics was just too formidable for me.  So after many years of struggling and  frustrated efforts and trying to make it on my own, I finally decided to select a mentor and get some coaching. This is what the guru’s had recommended all along, but I  was just too proud or  stubborn and determined to learn it by myself.  What a big mistake that was and a waste of time and money!       

I recently ran across “Dean Holland’s QuickStart Challenge” last week and signed up for his premier coaching program, which I actually just started.  I am optimistic and looking forward to completing the four week course and finally getting started following someone who has already become successful online.  If only I had done this twenty years ago….  All I can say is, “better late than never”.

~ Dave Salois

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