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5.0 out of 5 stars An easy-to-read, interesting and profound book!
I like reading the books written by Ries, all of which are excellent. This one is no exception! With the trend of using Internet, many Internet businesses emerge. However, many of them find it hard to operate online. What's wrong with them?
It is good for Al and Laura Ries to first clarify that the Internet is either a medium or a business. It is really a fundamental...
Published on March 11 2002 by wing-sze TAI

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars some decent advice worth paying attention to
One of the drawbacks of this book is that, while the authors stress the importance of being fast, first, and focused, they don't give a lot of advice on what to do if your site is superior but suffers from being second. (Ohmae, in THE INVISIBLE CONTINENT, might argue that being second -- take, for example, VHS over Betamax in a pre-internet market -- doesn't always spell...
Published on Dec 30 2000 by Jeffrey L. Seglin


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1.0 out of 5 stars Most inane book I have ever read, Aug. 15 2003
By A Customer
This book offers conclusory statements with very superficial, if any, analysis. For example, the authors argue that technologies tend to diverge, and not converge. For support, they say "[i]n biology, the law of evolution holds that new species are created by the division of a single species. Convergence, instead, suggests that the combining of two species will yield you a new one. Invaraibly in nature you see things divide and not converge. We have hundreds of varieties of dogs and hundreds of varieties of cats, but "very few" dogcats, or chickenducks, or horsecows." What?! I haven't the foggest idea how a system like technology controlled by humans has to do with biology, a system of nature. When there's human intervention, convergence occurs all the time - such is the case with many modern fruits and vegetables that have been bred by humans. And really,there are "very few" varieties of dogcats? I'm not aware of any.
I'd be curious as to what the authors have to say about the trend towards bigger corporations, through mergers. According to the authors, these big corporation really shouldn't exist, because things diverge, and not converge.
They also make the pompous statement that the purchasers of business.com could have saved $7,499,979 if they had bought the authors' book. The fact that they could claim credit for saying that a brand name shouldn't be generic is preposterous. That is one of the most basic tenet of branding. Of course, the authors does not discuss sex.com, an equally generic name, which has made $40 million in the course of a few years.
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1.0 out of 5 stars Most inane book I have ever read, Aug. 15 2003
By A Customer
This book offers conclusory statements with very superficial, if any, analysis. For example, the authors argue that technologies tend to diverge, and not converge. For support, they say "[i]n biology, the law of evolution holds that new species are created by the division of a single species. Convergence, instead, suggests that the combining of two species will yield you a new one. Invaraibly in nature you see things divide and not converge. We have hundreds of varieties of dogs and hundreds of varieties of cats, but "very few" dogcats, or chickenducks, or horsecows." What?! I haven't the foggest idea how a system like technology controlled by humans has to do with biology, a system of nature. When there's human intervention, convergence occurs all the time - such is the case with many modern fruits and vegetables that have been bred by humans. And really,there are "very few" varieties of dogcats? I'm not aware of any.
I'd be curious as to what the authors have to say about the trend towards bigger corporations, through mergers. According to the authors, these big corporation really shouldn't exist, because things diverge, and not converge.
They also make the pompous statement that the purchasers of business.com could have saved $7,499,979 if they had bought the authors' book. The fact that they could claim credit for saying that a brand name shouldn't be generic is preposterous. That is one of the most basic tenet of branding. Of course, the authors does not discuss sex.com, an equally generic name, which has made $40 million in the course of a few years.
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5.0 out of 5 stars An easy-to-read, interesting and profound book!, March 11 2002
By 
wing-sze TAI (Marketing Department of City University of Hong Kong) - See all my reviews
I like reading the books written by Ries, all of which are excellent. This one is no exception! With the trend of using Internet, many Internet businesses emerge. However, many of them find it hard to operate online. What's wrong with them?
It is good for Al and Laura Ries to first clarify that the Internet is either a medium or a business. It is really a fundamental and important decision for companies to make. They are sure to be greatly benefit from thinking about this question.
In addition, most businesses neglect or even do not know the importance of a good name. With the lack of the good "seeing and touching" visual impact, the powerful tool companies can put in the prospects' mind is a good name. The law of the common name and proper name can give us a clearer picture.
A good Internet brand cannot solely rely on a good name. It also depends on the interactivity of the website, singularity in the category, off-line advertising¡KMore of which can be found in the book.
This book is very clear. The concept is profound and easy to understand, supported by plenty of examples. I can get a lot of insights from it. And it is interesting! I enjoy reading it!
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4.0 out of 5 stars Easy to read and some thought provoking ideas, Jan. 27 2002
By 
Andre Hoffmann (Durban, South Africa) - See all my reviews
I am not sure if I totally agree with everything Al and Laura are saying, some of the argument seem somewhat loosely based on circumstantial evidence, yet on the other hand much of what they have to say makes a lot of sense. I am not so sure that all the 11 laws promulgated are indeed "immutable". The law of vanity (chapter 9), for example, I would like to know what the Ries's think of the Virgin brand and how it has transcended from being a record label to a airline carrier, health club operator, cell-phone service provided among others, is this just and exception or is mutation possible? The book enlightened me into some key insights about the Internet that I had not considered relevant before, like the issue of interactivity and the consequential impact on Internet advertising. I was also particularly irritated at first by their chapter on "divergence" and their strong feelings on the myth of "convergence", but then I gave it some thought, I consider that maybe we are being misled by the media hype in respect of convergence in respect of gadgets, but where I think the Ries's are missing the point is in the convergence at the service level - here I think there is a strong case for convergence of content with medium and billing etc. I think the merger of Time Warner with AOL will prove to be model for future survival. For example if the cable company delivering the pay-per-view TV can also give me my telephone and Internet connection - great. Overall this book definitely provides some useful and sound advice for the entrepreneur considering an e-commerce presence, and which one can avoid this today?
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2.0 out of 5 stars An over-extended brand, Aug. 20 2001
By 
Adam F. Jewell (Pittsburgh, PA USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Al Ries has written or contributed to some stellar marketing books including "Focus" and "Positioning". The 11 Immutable Laws of Internet Branding is a disgrace compared to previous works.
It appears the Reis' got caught up in the Internet hype, stating things like "putting your name on both your physical store and your Website is a serious error" and "On the Internet you should start the brand-building process by forgetting everything you have learned in the past", WHAT?
The authors demonstrated their knowledge of the net by introducing us to FrogDog (FogDog.com) and the infamous JRKoop (DrKoop.com), which makes one wonder if the authors were even awake when they wrote this book.
You'll find as much hype and as many ill-conceived marketing laws in this book as any on the market. I'd take this book over something like Charles W. Kadlec's "Dow 100,000: Fact or Fiction" so maybe it's worth a second star. The bottom line:
DON'T BUY THIS BOOK!
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4.0 out of 5 stars If Not Precisely "Immutable", Nonetheless Reliable, Jan. 4 2001
By 
Robert Morris (Dallas, Texas) - See all my reviews
(TOP 10 REVIEWER)    (HALL OF FAME)   
Few laws are "immutable" in a business world in which change is the only constant. Indeed, the Rieses' use of the word "laws" may itself be subject to debate. However, the authors do provide 11 helpful guidelines when suggesting how to achieve effective "Internet "branding." For example, (1) The Internet can be a business or a medium, but not both, (6) Advertising off the Net will be a lot bigger than advertising on the Net, (9) The biggest mistake of all is believing that you can do anything and (10) Everyone talks about convergence., while just the opposite is happening.
Perhaps you have already read previous books authored or co-authored by Al Ries. Positioning, for example, in which several of the same branding "laws" or guidelines are advocated. In this book, he and his co-author apply them specifically to the Internet.
For small-to-midsize companies especially, this can be a very valuable book. In the Age of Commoditization, it is seldom possible for such companies to be ranked first in their category or first entrant in their competitive marketplace (see Laws #5 and #8). Of course, the Rieses understand that. However, small-to-midsize companies CAN prosper if they take full advantage of certain competitive advantages which their size makes possible, especially speed (eg rapid response to a given situation) and resiliency (eg "turn on a dime"). Interestingly enough, huge corporations such as GE and Cisco Systems implement strategies based on essentially the same principles which the Rieses advocate.
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3.0 out of 5 stars some decent advice worth paying attention to, Dec 30 2000
By 
Jeffrey L. Seglin "Seglin" (Boston, MA USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
One of the drawbacks of this book is that, while the authors stress the importance of being fast, first, and focused, they don't give a lot of advice on what to do if your site is superior but suffers from being second. (Ohmae, in THE INVISIBLE CONTINENT, might argue that being second -- take, for example, VHS over Betamax in a pre-internet market -- doesn't always spell defeat.) What the authors do do well here is to stress the importance of branding on the Internet. It's a message Al Ries has been writing on for some time, so the elevation of the issue here is no surprise. The authors in this book stress the importance of deciding whether your business's internet presence is mainly for distribution or if you plan to operate the business full-hog online. If the latter, you need to start from ground zero, the authors argue, and think about changing such things as your name to gain brand awareness. But little advice here on how to decide on an appropriate name. The broad ideas are here, but the specifics aren't...although I'm not sure the authors intended this so much as a step-by-step how-to book as one in which they laid down broad laws.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Not the Usual Mumbo Jumbo, Dec 12 2000
This is one of those books that concisely gathers the obvious and presents the information in a readable, easy to understand fashion. The basic premise of the book is "What works on the Internet?" A seemingly obvious question for any entrepreneur venturing into the online business, but surprisingly very few seem to answer correctly, indeed even investigate before implementing their strategy. The authors take the answers to this question and break it down into the "11 Immutable Laws". The obviousness of their conclusions establishes these laws as defacto truth leaving little doubt about their validity. Ecommerce businesses should ignore these laws only at their own peril.
The book is an easy read, almost too casual style, but this promotes the idea behind the concept that this is a working manual to be used as a tool to measure the validity of your online strategy. One gets the feeling that the authors are sitting in the room with you having a casual conversation about your business. This underscores the validity of their findings in that they do not attempt to hide behind the usual sales and marketing mumbo jumbo and prefer to speak in a frank, honest manner.
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2.0 out of 5 stars Very Disappointed, Dec 1 2000
By 
"droy@mtsu.edu" (Murfreesboro, TN United States) - See all my reviews
I had high expectations for this book given the reputation of Al Ries. However, I found the book to be rather disappointing. Ries and Ries make some interesting points in the book, but I found several topics being repeated throughout the book (which is short as it is). They seem to adopt a very simplistic approach to branding success- use a proper name and you're halfway there! Success online is much more complicated than brand name selection, but the authors seem to suggest otherwise. I became skeptical of the authors' assertions after noticing a huge blunder in Chapter 4, where the authors identify former Surgeon General C. Everett Koop as "J.R. Koop" and the website bearing his name as "jrkoop.com." Yes, we could blame the editor for this error, but ultimately the reflection is on the authors. It seems that Ries and Ries violated one of their own "laws" by extending the "Immutable Laws" product to the internet. As written, it just does not work!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Ries's best book so far, July 16 2000
By 
John C. Dunbar (Sugar Land, TX United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
I had problems with Ries's previous books. Back then it was Ries and Trout, instead of Ries and Ries (his daughter).
In the older books his basic message was very simple (niche and be the first in the mind of the buyer, position).
Ries and Trout are credited with popularizing this positioning subject.
From this very simple message, they wrote books that endlessly repeated this important, but very simple, message. Thus, his previous books were tedious, and sometimes boring. I had the same problem with Andy Grove's book, with his basic theme of "Only the Paranoid Survive": one concept... many pages.
Thus, I thought his previous books were over kill. But this book is different. Maybe because Ries's daughter kept him on track.
This is one of the best books on branding that I've read so far. And, it really does a great job on discussing branding as it applies to internet sites.
For example, don't even think of naming your web site without reading this book. From reading this book, I have a much better understanding of how to structure my web site, how to name it, how to come up with internet site business ideas.
Although Ries is a marketing guru, and not an internet techno-weenie, his understanding of the internet runs deep, from a business point of view.
This is a masterful book, and I recommend it highly. I think a lot of VC firms should have read it before they invested in many of the copy-cat web sites that took their money.
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