These days, getting wired for profits as an Internet marketing firm takes practicing what you preach and using the same tactics to market your own site that you advise your clients to use.
That's exactly what Glen Boyd and Eli Shapira do. As co-founders of WebTrends Corp., a Portland, Oregon, firm that sells Web site management and traffic analysis software, the pair have a fail-proof way of testing their product: "We use our product to analyze our own site," says Boyd, 30. The software, which is priced from $299 to $1,499 depending on the features you want, allows site managers to track which pages get the most hits, the average time spent on the site, the Web site addresses of people viewing the site and more.
By helping customers better market their products and services on their sites, WebTrends has gained momentum: Boyd and Shapiro, 32, expect sales for 1998 to hit $8 million. Not bad for a company that debuted in 1994 as a network security software and tech support company and didn't add Web marketing software, which now accounts for a majority of its sales, until 1996. Like many Internet product vendors, WebTrends expects to turn existing customers into repeat buyers by updating its software on a regular basis.
The Internet is still a bit unwieldy. Although there is no definitive statistic on the number of Internet users in the United States, estimates range from 40 million to 47 million. There are no known statistics on the number of Internet-based companies or the number of companies selling on the Web.
These limitations make it difficult to research the industry and stay on top of all the changes. "It's kind of scary at times just how fast things change on the Web," says Steven Robiner, president and CEO of Ad-Up Corp., an Internet advertising firm specializing in banner ads. To stay up to date, Robiner and his two partners, Jeremy Grodberg and Barry Lozier, all 35, are adding audio and video capabilities to the banner ads they offer customers to make their company's offerings stand out from the pack. With these additions, the pair expect 1998 sales to top $400,000.
Robiner and his partners have been helping companies promote their sites and products on the Web since 1996 when they launched Ad-Up in Marina del Rey, California. The trio hopes to cash in on what Forrester Research Inc. says were $400 million in overall Web ad revenues in 1997. Forrester estimates Web ad revenues will continue to grow at close to 250 percent annually through 2000.