Reality Check

Customer Service And Advertising

Perception:E-commerce frees you from the hassles of customer service.

Reality: "Ha!" laughs Anapol. "Responding to customers' needs is a priority for us because it's how we generate repeat business and get word-of-mouth recommendations." Customers may be "virtual," but their money is real. Ignore their concerns, and they'll take their money elsewhere.

Perception: With enough site traffic, you'll get rich just by selling advertising.

Reality: "Advertising cannot be your revenue model. It just won't happen," says Ned Barnett, a partner in Firebaugh Communications, a high-tech PR/marketing agency in Dallas. "Maybe ads work for Dilbert's Scott Adams [his bristles with ads], but most sites cannot generate that sort of brand loyalty or traffic."

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This article was originally published in the September 2000 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Reality Check.

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