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Archive for Saturday, March 10, 2001

Invitations we can refuse

March 10, 2001

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So I'm opening up my cheapo pack of paper napkins, 99 cents a zillion, when I notice a little plea on the plastic wrapper: "Visit us on the Web!"

Now there's an invitation. Exactly what are the chances of an enthusiastic, "Be there in a sec!"? About the same chances Hugh Rodham has of enjoying Christmas in Chappaqua.

Really, why would anyone take time out of their busy (or moribund!) day to visit a site devoted to cheap paper products?

And yet, my curiosity was piqued. This is the online society, after all. Let's see what all the excitement is about.

Dutifully I typed in www.whiterose.com, and here's what I learned:

White Rose paper napkins are just one small part of the White Rose family of products a family that includes canned goods, milk products and tea!

The company was formed in 1886, by Joseph and Sigel Seeman! And the Dairy Division has moved to Woodbridge, N.J., while the Frozen Foods and Grocery Divisions are in Carteret, N.J.! And ...

This is the digital revolution we've all been waiting for? The Web that's been driving the longest economic expansion in U.S. history? The information superhighway?

Quickly I started punching in all sorts of company names, and sure enough, everyone has a Web site filled with facts as compelling as the brochures at a plumbing parts trade show.

At Zest.com you learn, "The Zest line of bar and body washes bring fun into your shower and leaves you feeling totally refreshed." Whoa!

At the Payless Shoes site, you can see the seal of approval from the American Orthopedic Foot and Ankle Society!

At Alka-Seltzer.com you'll find real-life stories of Alka Seltzer users. Here's one: "I travel a lot, which means I don't eat the best food all the time. Alka Seltzer relieves my upset stomach quickly."

Get that man a book contract!

"The Web is like an attic," explains Hans Fenstermacher, CEO of ArchiText, a Web translating firm. "People think it's a place to throw everything they've got."

That's true, even if they've got bupkis. "We were just saying at lunch that the next time we pick up a toothpick, they're gonna have laser printed on the side, 'Visit our Web site at toothpick.com,"' laughs Winter Prosapio, a publicist who works with a lot of dot-coms.

So if you want to catch some zzzs, visit some wwws.

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