Jury's still out whether or not this MySpace phenomenon will actually serve as the killer marketing tool an obscure artist needs to penetrate an audience, but with Google's sliding scale ranking system giving preference to the big toothy high-volume dogs like online communities in its keyword call-ups, it surely beats no notice at all.
With MySpace links to and fro, I'm hoping that my other websites can be rescued from relative obscurity again. Since I owned and managed my own web, mail, and DNS servers right here at home on completely unreliable ISDN technology from the early days, and now on synchronous DSL bandwidth, in a spirit of good riddance wiping my brow of constant sweat when I pulled the plug on them when I was sweating a major renovation to my DC condo back in the summer of '04. That maneuver (or lack of one) cost me precious search engine ranking that I'd earned for serving up my handful of domains continously since 1996, another of the valued criteria, companies like Google and Yahoo use in their complex algorithms to determine placement. I've been online since December, 1995, and have been an instant messaging and BBS geek since 1993 (when AOL boasted a mere 250K members a distant third to now mostly forgotten competitors, Compuserve & Prodigy, and the web nonexistent), and I have no intention of disappearing into that good night until the worms or blaze of eternity finally pick this wanton flesh clean of artistic ambition.
But yes, this community is an interesting one. My major beef with these free online communities and services is the ephemeral nature of most of them. The frustration of someone else perpetually reorganizing and rendering my links or content obsolete or completely vanquished was the fickled finger that finally poked me into hosting my own sites. I made a few bucks in web design and hosting in the those early years before big business made it tough to keep up plus the fact that I was more interested in content creation than simply tossing designs together for lukewarm businesses who never did much more with their sites than use it as an online business card, thus suppressing my own business requirements for cashflow and expansion. As much as things are changing now, Moore's law didn't start yesterday either. I couldn't keep up, was more interested in my own writing and art, so I gave up hosting and designing for others, and am now focussing completely on my own career (what's left of it).
With several recent large canvas sales under my belt and my book publication last year, I'm finally beginning to ride a slightly aggressive optimism again. Pitching the tent, and rolling out the insignificance...fact is, I tend to be far too pensive to carry a smile the whole length of a metaphor, but let me give a shout out to all you new online contacts, old acquaintences and new, just to let you know I am cheerful today, and you've played a big part in the game...let's rock!
From: Amy van Sant
Date: Fri Jul 2, 1999 7:32:06 PM America/New_York
GOT IT! And like it. And here's a job for you already if you wantI'll send it to you on one of my work order emailsI'll have the stuff you'll need to make it happen tomorrow. Basically, it's a redesign of "famouscarpetcleaner.com" site, the only problem being you will be hampered by a really ugly logo of theirs...
It's a redesign and a few corrections in existing text. If you can do it for $500, it's all yours. Give me the go ahead and I'll send you the work order tomorrow.
At 09:38 AM 12/15/98
Greetings Amyhere's that repost. Was great to finally have a chance to chat. We had a fab time last night at the Toad Family Holiday Party, and will look forward to those "nuisance" jobs you might send my way,
Sorry to hear you still haven't gotten your new laptap Mac. The grapevine speaketh. However, what I really wanted to discuss was the possibility of doing business together.
This weekend I conducted a short Alcalde & Fay client ist Internet search. I was surprised that among the many clients I searched who do not currently support a web site, the Agassi Foundation, was one of them. The Foundation was listed among others on several sites giving thanks for donations, and some included a link to another Agassi page, which unfortunately is no longer active. However, several sites profiling the Foundation were:
* The HSA Architects, Inc. site includes two photographs of the Agassi Center For Education in Las Vegas, along with a brief description of the Center
* The Peter Max site includes a graphic depiction of the Peter Max painting and subsequent poster which were used to raise money for Andre Agassi's Grand Slam for Children
* The Genesis Art gallery site includes a graphic of a commissioned lithograph designated to support the Andre Agassi Foundation
...and a host of sports sites mention the tennis star, but there is no formal site for the Foundation or the tennis player. I might point out that many athletes and special foundations host functional web sites for many different reasons. I noticed in this past weekend's Post that Mr. Agassi is fast approaching a Top 20 ranking again, after dropping out of competitive tennis for several years. I'd like the opportunity Rick, to discuss working with you in developing a website with a strong focus in providing the public greater access to the information and the charitable work of the Foundation.
If you feel my proposal is inappropriate for this particular client, then perhaps you might have other clients who can better profit from my web design & maintenance services.
Graphic Solutions Ink Systems
What in hell are you talking about... don't you like my "longputter" address name? I thought you were my friend! No offense meant...just tweaking a good friend. Thanks for your suggestion about switching from AOL's native lines to a TCP/IP dial in line. I'll give it a try, hopefully this will fix the problem. Explain how you lowered the AOL monthly fee from $19.95 to $9.95. I think that is about the only way i will stay with them. My computer is a Mac Performa 630 CD with 36 RAM. I do have a Global Platinum Telaport Fax program, but it works perfectly. I've had no conflict problems of any kind and have been using it for almost two years so my problem must stem from something else.
Yes your still in the loop for designing a home page for our steel company. Things have been moving so fast with them that we've not had a chance to follow up, but we will take another look at it shortly. I'll keep you advised. My best to your beautiful bride, Sue.
Date: Thu Oct 9, 1997 9:01:35 AM
From: Gabriel Thy
Hello old friend,
It's been some time since we last heard from you. Trust all is roses and good health in the Chaffee household. Owen, perhaps you heard through the grapevine that Alcalde & Fay has just completed the initial phase of its Internet presence, and will soon have Internet E-mail capabilities thanks to our money-saving recommendations.
Our company, Graphic Solutions Ink Systems, was awarded the web design and maintenance contract for Alcalde & Fay. Our own commercial web site is located here. Owen, since you were one of the eager early birds to embrace E-mail several years ago, I'm inclined to think you are also savvy to the potential of a professionally designed web site to help build a lasting corporate community with higher visibility, expeditious communications, and integrated management, while keeping pace with the competition with perceptibly enhanced revenues over the long haul as the Internet moves from novelty to must-have technology in business.
While not privy to any specifics, we understand that you operate several successful businesses, and could quite conceivably profit from a strategically-designed and managed web site. Graphic Solutions Ink Systems seeks to appeal to the well-established Owen Chaffee business sense for the opportunity to discuss this matter in more depth at your earliest convenience. Perhaps you already have a site, perhaps you do not. Whatever your current situation, I do believe that we can offer a more competitive service. Shouldn't we chat?
Graphic Solutions Ink Systems
P.S. Immensely appreciated your call and flattering comments the other day. Let's put it this way, the only way I will stay with them is to leave size 13EE tracks...
Not since that night, yes, THAT night. I did get a follow-up note from Garfinkel a month or so back, and as usual attached at the end of the note was that sending work my way, recommend you to anybody chachacha that came at the end of EVERY SINGLE NOTE of about seven or eight I got from the two of them plus of course the three or four mouth to ear versions being much of the same.
In September I will make my move to shake them up after giving them the benefit of the doubt of a long lazy hot summer. They've not even finished up their site in the "other services" and "testimonials" department. I heard rumors of patent lawyers coming aboard. No movement there either. No other projects, not even a whisper, except when I put some new badge or widget on their page, and write to explain. Then come the thanks and golly geez, you are swell Gabriel and the obligatory carrot at the end, but nothing else. I still handle all their mail, forwarding probably a half dozen pieces a week. But only one person even indicated he fit the bill, had invented something, paid for and was ripped off by crooked marketers, and was wondering what to do next. He, however, suspected that this IAG outfit was pretty much of the same. Everybody else has some grandiose opinion of themselves, saying silly things like they've always had a knack for good ideas and could IAG please help them figure out how to "sell" an invention, or more to the point, an idea.
No inventions had yet made it onto the drawing board, much less off it. I pass all the letters along, but I know nothing's come of it. I figure I should spark their interest in further work on the site, at cost to them, or I should just turn the site over to them. Although I do see their site as somewhat of an orphan child I will no doubt take an interest in seeing through its slow days, I don't see handling this thing unto perpetuity without any compensation. That $175 they spent on me is long gone. What a bust!
You should have sent that to Berman. One good spammer deserves another, don't you reckon?
The client is a billionaire Arab businessman snared in the BCCI scandal of the early Eighties along with former presidential advisors Clark Clifford & Bert Lance, with some fallout attributed to a straw man association with the Georgia National Bank. His name is Gaith Pharaon, in extradiction-safe exile from America while he tries to recoup his frozen assets, hundreds of millions of dollars scattered about US banks, and still fight six or seven US Federal Court criminal & civil suits now lodged against him. His site is an attempt at damage control heavy on the positive spin. He's also scandalized in several South American and Western European countries.
As for my part, I'm breathing the welcomed air of a substantial monthly retainer ($435) confirmed this morning by my contact, Barry Zorthian, who was hired by Pharaon's New York lawyers. Am also meeting next week with a US Naval officer (two years shy of retirement perhaps (looking for contract designers) andoh yes, I now remember mentioning him to you a while backwell, he may be interested in working the public relations end for GSIS.
Thanks to Barry Zorthian, his taste for scotch and a good cigar will be celebrated forever around here for bringing in my first commercial client. Always & Forever COULD be next!
Yes, we've played some kid stuff tennis, not as often as I'd like if I am to change this body of mine, but now that the heat spell is over...
Coptic times. Islam & money. Sun on my scandal clad toes. And finally a real job for...
As per my last note, Steve, I just want you to get well, so that we can finally collaborate on a more mature level than the past has allowed us. But as for dialing you up in sunny Pennsylvania, just to shoot the bull, I don't know what I would have to say. Just get well man, just get well. Let's work together. Let's quit all this fantasy crap, and get down to the real business of selling web design and maintenance services, something we both fantasized about as far back as November 1995 when you first sniffed out GeoCities.
It's your move, Steve. So let's JUST DO it, or at least get out in front of this trainwreck and pull the damn plug on the partnership because there's no sense in bucking the will to dominate. If that's what you want to do then measure up to it. Otherwise, you just aren't.
It's been raining all morning, but the sun is out now, it's not too hot or too cold, and Bob is back from Pittsburgh with girlfriend. Plans are we will be grilling shortly.
What motivates me to make my mark this way is unclear.
We had decided to launch a web design business. I had shown initiative and a certain level of flair as a designer in these early days of low bandwidth and high expectations. I needed a sales force. The always debonair Steve Taylor was indeed a force of nature, but the looming question was would he find this business partnership something he would take seriously enough to apply some of those "looking good selling ice to Eskimo" skills.
My own brother Clyde, a home and commercial roofing magnate in Atlanta, after six months of prepping me to run a new satellite office he wanted to open in the DC area, went silent, just a few weeks before, and I had sensed something was fishy, and that this "opportunity" was not going to happen for me. Clyde finally answered his phone that morning, and acted as if nothing was supposed to be going on between us although just a few weeks before this was to be a life-changing transition for both of us. Finally, I pressed, only to hear him say to me, wryly, without apology or irony, that he had just bought a boat. Yep, I knew it. Clyde is the type of person who obsesses and is always churning over the details of a new financial strategy, and was doing just that for months on end with me until the tell-tale silence two to three weeks before.
Steve, my closest friend at the time, was also given to similar mystifying behavior. I knew Clyde's to be pure selfishness, down to the last atom in a Heisenberg count like any achievement oriented American businessman because that's what it takes in today's guttersnipe environment. Mr. Taylor however, was apt to opt for degenerative spiraling for what seemed it's own sake, a nasty habit I knew salted my own basket of fries from time to time.
That background bring us to this rather muted exchange between Steve and myself, though the poison of past experiences was bubbling just below the surface tension of events real and imagined, traded calmly via email on Saturday, 17 May 1997.
GT: I know we can do this web design thing with great rewards, but there are things to work out and follow through upon. With the three of us wanting the same thing at the same time, the world doesn't stand a chance denying us. I am ready. BUT IS THERE ANYBODY OUT THERE? (Moody Blues 1971), So your early morning enthusiam about getting together early this afternoon is already waning?
What usually happens is that I’m making a joke from frustration in trying to reach you, a joke you would probably volley in infinite jest if we were face to face or even voice connected, but be assured I’m frightfully aware the problem is mine, and that I need to improve my voice machine skills to a more Stevelike level since I do tend to puzzle you, or rather grizzle you with my sour messages from time to time.
[TaylorS] If I mentioned getting together early this afternoon, that was at a point when I thought that the Help Desk would pull me off Saturday coverage (a previous, months-ago commitment.) As is, I was required to work until at least 5pm today as you hint about games in the park, and suggest we can't brainstorm if I drink.
GT: Whoa! That would be a first. SET dropping by to pow wow without drinking.
GT: But I've been needy all afternoon thinking it would be great to have a confidence builder named Steve Taylor in my orbit, but as typical, I seem to be on my own with every personal tragedy always in some queue, while others seek out me as a close ear over and over again. Perhaps you feel I let you down the other day, but I didn't.
[TaylorS]I don't feel let down. Your work helped solidify a reputation I was already building with a reputable media contact. Maximum respect to you. Every thing you do at Howrey or wherever is your own autonomous call, but not every thing you do is self-edifying, gratifying maybe, edifying no, and that's all I tried to point out.
GT: Sue just called, and rushed in with consoling voice to comfort me in what she knew was an agonizing afternoon after that Clyde bomb. Very sweet of her. She was there this morning. She heard my side of the conversation and she knows Clyde first hand and why I had to finally tell him what I told him.
[TaylorS]To hell with Clyde.
GT: But I understand, Steve. If you don't want to come by, simply don't. You know, I'm too cynical to beg. Do drop by when you feel it convenient. Blah, blah, blah.
[TaylorS]My main concern with stopping by is bike time. I would rather not put my [currently] less self in the line of traffic fire for too long.
We all have to eat and blow great wads of money in places we think make us feel manifest, moxy, and maximized carbon-based lifeforms, but I am simply saying, let’s get serious, or else just simply quit this shadowboxing shit. It’s wearing me out, and going nowhere fast, uh slow? And now that the Clyde and Ricky show is floating belly-up, I’m feeling a little, no, a lotta sick inside.
GT: Okay I got that garbage out of the way. Uh, where does that leave me? Oh yeah, standing smack dab in the middle of your maybe. Bottom line? I think we can discuss formulative details if you leave you own neuroses at the back door, and I leave mine there too, and we talk real talk and real turkey without bombast.
[TaylorS]That could happen.
GT: This Clyde thing is synchronistic fatalism at its most timely. Let us learn from that fiasco, and invent ourselves properly. And another thing. Answering machines (despising my own voice) somewhat intimidate me, as does writing e-mail seems to intimidate not a few others. I know I come off rather sarcastic at times on the box, but I don't really mean to sound that way, nor do I wish to impugn your work habits, especially at the jobplace. What usually happens is that I'm making a joke from frustration in trying to reach you, a joke you would probably volley in infinite jest if we were face to face or even voice connected, but be assured I'm frightfully aware the problem is mine, and that I need to improve my voice machine skills to a more Stevelike level since I do tend to puzzle you, or rather grizzle you with my sour messages from time to time. I apologize for any and all.
[TaylorS]Thanks for clearing that up. understood.
GT: Okay you just called and it seems we are on for this afternoon. Great! Let's make it mean something. With all this defeat in the air, I feel like shit, real nasty run down my leg and up again shit...
GT: And I also realize I grow a little short and disrepectful of you at times, and really don't want to continue down that path, but indeed you should start measuring up at the plate, and I think all will be just dandy between. Let it be said you and I are not my brother's brother...
[TaylorS]Hey, I've certainly started to scorn youthful hubris in early-twenty-somethings, so I can see from where you are coming.
Earlier, this is what I posted to Sue:
What was not mentioned in that note to Peter was, no, I am not expecting SET to stop everything to focus on OUR project. We all have to eat and blow great wads of money in places we think make us feel manifest, moxy, and maximized carbon-based lifeforms, but I am simply saying, let's get serious, or else just simply quit this shadowboxing shit. It's wearing me out, and going nowhere fast, uh slow? And now that the Clyde and Ricky show is floating belly-up, I'm feeling a little, no, a lotta sick inside.
"Ignorance and virtue suck on the same straw. Souls grow on bones, but die beneath bankers' hours.""