Date: Tue, 10 Oct 1995 01:35:48 -0400 (EDT)
From: "Doctor Bob" 
Subject: TOURBUS - 10/10

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     \___/ \___/  "Why Surf When U Can Ride The Bus?"  \___/

TODAY'S TOURBUS STOP: The Internet Mall (tm)

Have you ever been in a roadside restaurant, happily shovelling a
healthy helping of specialite du maison down the old gullet, when
into the parking lot rolls a (dare I say it?) big shiny TOURBUS?

BUS!  The waitresses all chime in chorus.  Suddenly the place comes
alive with activity.  Well watch out world, the Internet TOURBUS is
hitting the Mall.  Yup, we're taking over the joint - some 30,000
strong from 75 countries - will soon be pounding the virtual marble
floors at The Internet Mall.

The Internet Mall is the central spot for commercial enterprise on the
Internet.  Take any service or product for sale on the Internet, and you
can be pretty sure it's listed in the Internet Mall.  Some of the main
"departments" you'll find waiting for you are:

     Food & Beverages             Furniture & Household Items
     Clothing & Sporting Goods    Personal & Professional Services
     Computer Hardware/Software   Personal Items & Gifts
     Books & Magazines            Automotive & Related Items

A Little History

The Mall began life as a research project that Internet notable Dave
Taylor did for an magazine article in early 1994.  In February of 1994
the first Internet Mall listing was distributed on the Internet,
containing 34 companies and just 200 lines.

The Mall was an instant hit as the only public listing of commerce on the
network. Since then it's now grown to over 4500 cybershops, ranging from
florists to bookstores to food suppliers to crafts and hobby shops to
educational video vendors.  Also included are service vendors, people
selling insurance, promotional goods, desktop publishing assistance,
research bureaus, and even travel agencies.


What differentiates the Internet Mall from the other so-called cybermalls
on the Internet is that companies can list in the Mall without charge.
The cost of the mall is subsidized through corporate sponsorships and
revenue from related print advertising.

The Mall is growing at about thirty stores per day, but they don't let
just anyone peddle their wares therein. Excluded from the list are:

   * Multilevel marketing schemes and Franchise opportunities
   * Internet service and access providers
   * Other malls (we list the stores therein instead)
   * Computer and Web consultants

A typical listing is 4-5 lines of text specifying the company name,
what's for sale, and how to contact them for more information.  And
since this is all about Internet-based commerce, you won't find postal
addresses, phone numbers, or any other non-electronic contact
information.  It's electrons all up and down the aisles here.

A Stroll Around

An estimated 6200 visitors press their noses to the cyberglass each day
at The Internet Mall, and there are some nifty features you should know
about that you won't find at a "real" mall.

The first is the "Search For" button on the welcome page, which presents
you with the probing query: "What do you seek in the Mall?"  Hey, let's
see if there's any chocolate for sale alongside the infobahn...  Ayup -
22 hits, including Ralph Rotten's Nut Pound, Barbra Jean's Famous Candies
and Godiva Online.  A few clicks takes you into the depths of vicarious
indulgence as 60K images of Holiday Truffles dance on your screen.  Only
problem is they don't give out free samples in cyberspace.  Pardon me for
a moment while I clean my monitor...

The next is the whimsical RAND-O-MALL feature, a randomly chosen selection
of 20 stores from the Internet Mall.  Hmmm, I got Jim's Ukuleles, Virtual
Stained Glass and the Multiloan Mortgage Company, among others.  If you
don't like what you see, you can always spin the RAND-O-MALL wheel again
to see more.

OK, you're on your own now.  Meet me back at the Bus on Thursday!  -Bob

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TOURBUS - (c) Copyright 1995, Patrick Crispen and Bob Rankin
All rights reserved.  Redistribution is allowed only with permission.

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