ANALYSIS: Weekly Web Watch - Net strategic service puts the community back into dot-com

Dublin, Ireland is not the first location you’d think of to place an Internet services company if it’s global clients you’re after. But the consultancy NUA (www.nua.ie) is, well, Irish, and Dublin is where the people who run it like to be. The clients come to them: Procter & Gamble, Lucent Technologies, Gateway, Oracle and Barclays Bank, to name a few. NUA has grown from a few ideas and an dollars 8,000 bank overdraft five years ago to a 100-strong team, dollars 6 million in revenues and a worldwide brand that belies its size and location. In fact, NUA is an embodiment of the power of Internet word of mouth. There was no massive marketing campaign, just the simplest of tools: e-mail.

Dublin, Ireland is not the first location you’d think of to place an Internet services company if it’s global clients you’re after. But the consultancy NUA (www.nua.ie) is, well, Irish, and Dublin is where the people who run it like to be. The clients come to them: Procter & Gamble, Lucent Technologies, Gateway, Oracle and Barclays Bank, to name a few. NUA has grown from a few ideas and an dollars 8,000 bank overdraft five years ago to a 100-strong team, dollars 6 million in revenues and a worldwide brand that belies its size and location. In fact, NUA is an embodiment of the power of Internet word of mouth. There was no massive marketing campaign, just the simplest of tools: e-mail.

Dublin, Ireland is not the first location you’d think of to place

an Internet services company if it’s global clients you’re after. But

the consultancy NUA (www.nua.ie) is, well, Irish, and Dublin is where

the people who run it like to be. The clients come to them: Procter &

Gamble, Lucent Technologies, Gateway, Oracle and Barclays Bank, to name

a few. NUA has grown from a few ideas and an dollars 8,000 bank

overdraft five years ago to a 100-strong team, dollars 6 million in

revenues and a worldwide brand that belies its size and location. In

fact, NUA is an embodiment of the power of Internet word of mouth. There

was no massive marketing campaign, just the simplest of tools:

e-mail.



It is because of NUA’s regular free e-mail newsletters, such as NUA

Thinking, The Clickonomist and NUA Internet Surveys, that people all

over the world have not only heard of the company’s founder, Jerry

McGovern, but feel as though they know him. And they know him as an

Internet thinker, someone whose ideas are worth hearing.



Authored by McGovern himself, NUA Thinking is a weekly exploration of

issues, ideas and novel business models. NUA Internet Surveys is a

summary of current Net-related research. While providing no new

information itself, it has become one of the most popular starting

points for finding Net-related statistical information online. In the

avalanche of data out there, a good filter is one of the most useful

tools you can have.



And because the newsletters are sent via e-mail, they’re easy for people

to pass on to their friends and colleagues.



’We now reach over 200,000 people a week with our information and many

of our clients came to us through first having received the newsletter,’

says McGovern. That’s not bad, when you look at some of the names on

their client list. ’It shows the power of information in an information

economy.



If you want to be a player then you have to come to the table with

information.



NUA didn’t go for the quick buck; we sought to engage with people on the

Net. It shows you can make free information pay.’



This all sounds New-Agey and Utopian, and it even comes through in the

title of McGovern’s recently-published book, The Caring Economy. He

likes to point out that the words ’community’ and ’commerce’ come from

the same Latin root, and evokes the classic one-to-one marketing

relationship of the village grocery store owner who knew the names of

his customers, what type of beans they liked and when it was time to

remind them to stock up on rice. The Industrial era changed all that,

but McGovern is convinced that the Internet gives us a chance to shift

the balance back again, without losing the benefits of economies of

scale and the accompanying cheaper prices. In a sense, the Internet

brings commerce and community back together.



’The change that we’re seeing at the moment is a human change, not a

change in technology,’ he says.



The implication of this is that some Internet and e-commerce businesses

are missing the point, no matter how emphatically they include ’.com’ in

their name. The main focus in online retailing seems to be about price

reduction. ’But in the real world most things are not bought on

price.



The people who succeed on the Internet are the ones who meet other

people’s needs,’ says McGovern. ’The only thing you can’t turn into a

commodity is a relationship. It’s the only real differentiator.’ In

short, if you want to get ahead in the Internet economy, you have to be

prepared to communicate and to listen and show that you care. Easy,

really.



Stovin Hayter is editor of Revolution. All e-mails should be sent to

stovin@revolution.haynet.com.



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