GRAHAM BEDNASH - managing partner, Michaelides & Bednash
The internet gives you obsessive compulsive disorder. Mine started when
I tried a racing bike on holiday last month and loved it so much I
decided to go and buy one in London. I found there were too many choices
to make, from the frame material to the pedal design. Bike shops aren’t
The salespeople work on the basis that you’re either very technical or
’So on the web I found bicyclingmagazine.com. It does what the internet
does when it works best: it lets you access stuff in a way you can’t in
any other medium. And it’s clever. The smartest feature is called ’The
Bike Finder’, where you can compare 2,800 different bike specs. You can
also answer a load of questions about what kind of riding you’ll do. It
then selects the ten best makes in your price range and marks them out
of 100. Four weeks ago I knew nothing about bikes. Now I’m a bike
That’s new media for you.’
CRAIG FABIAN - former marketing communications director at Volvo
A mailshot from my audio retailer offers end-of-line discounts on my
coveted hi-fi system. It’s my last chance to buy Audiolab, I’m told,
because they have merged with TAGMcLaren.
’So I turn to the web. A search for TAGMcLaren reveals absolutely
Then I come across an ad in the specialist press informing me of the new
range of ’high performance hi-fidelity for the new millennium’. Now I
have a gun to my head - buy now from remaining Audiolab stock or start
again with the new F1 series.
’In anger and frustration, I turn back to the web, to find my faithful
friend, Audiolab. The site is a disaster. A single page, two pictures I
recognise from the brochure, a summary of product information I already
know, no prices and again, absolutely nothing on TAGMcLaren.
’Ho hum. What a missed opportunity for the brand to talk to me one to
one, to offer a space for a dialogue, to reassure me and seduce me into
a premium upgrade.
’The upshot? Well, I bought Audiolab, I’m delighted with it and I will
never buy TAGMcLaren.’
RINGAN LEDWIDGE - director, The End
I started off looking for the Magnum photo agency website. I’ve always
been inspired by the likes of Capa, Bresson and Salgado, so I wanted to
see if there was any of their existing work that I had yet to see. I
spent the next ten minutes trying to log on and was met with the
constant frustration of not being able to. With the boredom levels
rising, I decided to change tack, abort and see if a Sid James website
would be any more interesting or informative. Unfortunately, Sid didn’t
have his own website so I accessed the Carry On site instead, going
straight to Sid’s biography.
’I found a splattering of interesting facts. He was born in South
Africa, then went on to be a diamond cutter and polisher, ladies
hairdresser and then an amateur boxer, all the while learning to sing
and dance. The trivia section was exactly that, a mine of useless facts.
A list of continuity errors from the Carry On films was about the best
it could offer. There was nothing that would have encouraged anyone to
browse for longer.
’This experience was typical of most websites I’ve visited in the
I find most of them blandly written and flatly designed. When it works
it can be a great medium, but I often find it rather frustrating and
time consuming. Personally, I’d rather go to a public library - at least
it gets you out and about, interacting with real people.’
IAN TAYLOR - managing partner, Lowe Direct
As the owner of a hoof of a race horse, my trainer suggested politely
that I look up the horse’s race entries on the internet (presumably to
leave him alone to train the horse). ’Check out the Sporting Life
website,’ he suggested.
’A quick scan of the home page pulsating with exciting banners and tabs
showing the full range of sports covered quickly makes the sports nut
feel at home. News stories of the day are covered (with pics) but what
makes the site worth regular - even obsessive - access, is the live
’You are constantly fed live news and results relevant to the section
you are in. Cricket buffs can experience ball-by-ball coverage of the
Tests while keeping track of their football team.
’As you might expect, though, the real jewel in the crown is the racing
section. By logging in to this section (bookmark after logging in) you
get access to the most incredible database.
’As well as the race cards for all the day’s meetings, you get all the
five-day and overnight declarations for future meetings. Click on a
horse, a trainer or a jockey and you get instant access to all their
’Who said racing was a mug’s game?’