THE NET EFFECT: You did WHAT? - Ever sent the boss a love note? Or company secrets to a rival firm? Six new-media high-fliers reveal their deepest, darkest secrets

DAMIAN BLACKDEN, managing director, Universal Interactive



When did you go online first and to which sites?



It was early 1995 and I went online from the club Heaven to a site

called Megatripolis.



What's your favourite website?



Heavy (www.heavy.com) because it gives us an indication of what the

future could be like. It's a good youth portal that is very beautifully

designed.



What's the first thing you bought online?



A CD from CDuctive. It was pre-minidisc and you could give them a list

of tracks you wanted. It was a good bit of personalisation. And you

could get three for less than a tenner.



What's the most embarrassing website you have accessed?



I'd booked moneyworld.co.uk for a finance client. I logged onto the site

thinking it was a financial site and it was a porn site, although I

understand it's now been bought by a money site.



What's been the biggest e-mail nightmare you can think of?



A friend thought he was sending his CV to a potential employer but in

fact he'd sent a hardcore porn image. He had written: "As you can see

from my CV, I am well equipped for the job".



They replied that he was better equipped than he might think.



CHRIS RAYNER, managing director, Tribal DDB



When did you go online first and to which sites?



November 1994. I had an interview with FutureNet to be their advertising

manager. I had no idea what on earth the internet was about and was sure

I'd been sent to the wrong interview.



I think there were only about ten sites around then.



What's the first thing you bought online?



A holiday, two years ago. I seemed to skip the CD and books thing and

just went large. I must admit that right up to the moment that we

checked into the hotel, I was shitting myself.



What's the most embarrassing website you have accessed?



One of our clients is sports.com - a European sports website. When it

first launched there was a website called www.sport.com, which is now a

sports website.



At the time, however, the connection to sports was "water and sport" and

it was certainly not for family viewing.



What's been the biggest e-mail nightmare you can think of?



It has to be that famous one last year where the girl (Claire Swire)

working in the City responded to all instead of the sender in reference

to her recent sexual encounter with a colleague. It is everyone's

nightmare when you think: "Have I hit the right button?"



RICHARD HOLMAN, managing director, AdLINK



When did you go online first and to which sites?



In 1995. A heady combination of Capital FM for pleasure and Durlacher

for research, both of which took forever, and got in the way of the

thesis I was trying to write.



What's your favourite website?



www.saintsfc.co.uk . Sorry it's a football site, but it's the only piece

of media that says anything positive about Southampton football

club.



What's the first thing you bought online?



A book from Amazon. In fact, three books at a discounted price.



What's the most embarrassing website you have accessed?



I had my default settings set to a hardcore gay site by a witty

colleague.



It's always amusing when you take the laptop home to show your wife the

power of the internet ...



What's been the biggest e-mail nightmare you can think of?



On a serious note, any virus that completely attacks our e-mail is a

real nightmare. My funniest anecdote, though, is where an AdLINK sales

employee was expressing his admiration for the breasts of a female

colleague.



Instead of sending this to his friend on the other side of the room, he

sent it to her by mistake.



JON SHARPE, managing director, i-traffic



When did you go online first and to which sites?



In 1993, pre-Netscape and before HTML could support graphics. I used the

Mosaic browser. There wasn't much choice then, so the sites were geeky

academic resources.



What are your favourite websites?



For business, FT.com. For amusement, tvgohome.com.



What's the first thing you bought online?



I was a bit of an early adopter with regard to online shopping, which

meant that the first things I bought never arrived and that I spent most

of my time cancelling credit cards. Predictably, I think the first thing

that actually did arrive was a book from Amazon.



What's the most embarrassing website you have accessed?



I think it would have to be unveiling the hardcore world of bitch.com to

a client after mistaking it for popbitch.com, the site we were actually

discussing.



What's the biggest e-mail nightmare you can think of?



I seem to remember a rather senior individual at a large new-media

agency accidentally mailing out the retainer costings for a major

airline client to the uk-netmarketing mailing list.



I was working for a rival agency at the time and we were like, "They're

charging how much? The bastards! Up the ratecard now!"



JOHN OWEN, head of digital services, Starcom Motive



When did you go online first and to which sites?



In 1995. It would have been when I was working on Campaign, using

Caroline Marshall's computer to access the Electronic Telegraph.



What are your favourite websites?



I really like Football 365 - it's comprehensive and fun. Then there's

Teamtalk and Ananova.com



What's the first thing you bought online?



Books and CDs, but I branched out and bought a Postman Pat toy from

e-toys for my daughter Lily. It was gift-wrapped and wonderful. She

loved it and has still got it, although she's lost Jess the Cat.



What's the most embarrassing website you have accessed?



A Dutch porn site had bought the URL moneyworld.com. I was trying to

access moneyworld.co.uk and when I cut away from the porn site and

closed it down I looked at the URL bar showing recently-visited sites

and listed there was 'live sex, pussy action'. I thought, 'Oh God I'm

going to be fired!'



What's been the biggest e-mail nightmare you can think of?



I usually have a fairly ordered mind but it's frighteningly easy to

attach a wrong document to an e-mail - especially if you've done several

revisions.



Sending fully-costed media plans to a rival network agency you happen to

be working with on a project is just one way in which e-mail could ruin

your day.



JENNY TAYLOR, internet sales and marketing manager, Go



When did you go online first and to which sites?



In 1993, when I was working for an educational publisher reviewing a lot

of US sites such as webfeet. com and collegeview. com. I also used

Yahoo! for searching.



What's your favourite site?



Go's at the top. It's quick and easy to use. In fact I use it all the

time to book flights, hotels and car hire. I also like Streetsonline for

its great EzyBuy function and Google.



What's the first thing you bought online?



A CD. Don't ask which one, I have dubious taste in music.



What's the most embarrassing website you have accessed?



A friend sent me an e-mail with a link in it to Fotango. On clicking it,

I was confronted with a larger than life picture of myself, under the

influence of alcohol at a recent awards do.



What's the biggest e-mail nightmare you can think of?



Actually it's not e-mail, but text messaging. I sent a message

suggesting that my friend picked me up from the station to give me a

lift home. Imagine my surprise when the CEO at one of our agencies

replied, saying unfortunately he was otherwise engaged. He had the same

surname as the friend.



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