Corrections or additions?
These aricles were published in U.S. 1 Newspaper on September 15,
1999. All rights reserved.
Cyberspace Ad Hits
When a cutting-edge E-Business like Paytrust.com takes
out a billboard on Route 206 South in Robbinsville, you have to wonder
if there’s a future for advertising on the Internet. But Gary
who runs the print/online New Jersey Web Guide on the grace of
says the perception that advertising on the `Net fails is out of synch
with the reality. "Internet advertising is up this quarter over
last year’s quarter," says Wien, citing recent statistics.
are climbing. Sure it’s a far cry from radio or television right now,
but it took television three years to get to where radio was."
The Internet could theoretically catch up with print advertising
in less time, but for fear of losing their bread and butter, says
Wien, the traditional media are mum on the subject. "There is
a definite fear showing, that’s why newspapers like to report that
revenues are down — click is down," he says. "The way
a newspaper makes most of its money is classified ads, and classified
ads have been the first ones to be hit online."
"Everything the Media has told you about Internet Advertising
is Wrong!," is the title of Wien’s presentation at Technology
New Jersey’s E-commerce seminar on Wednesday, September 22, at 8 a.m.
at Mercer College. Wien joins competitor Peter Levitan
of New Jersey Online, and Russ Lockwood
at the seminar. Call 609-419-4444. Cost: $45.
Wien’s core business is NJAvenue.com, a state-wide search engine
for business and entertainment, and New Jersey Web Guide, a yellow
pages for the state’s websites. Wien, who graduated from Lynchburg
College with a B.A. in English, Class of 1992, is actually a
"English degrees don’t go as far as they used to," he says.
"Computers have always been easy for me and at the time there
were over 200 new website designers starting companies a month. I
thought eventually they’ll want to have places to promote their
The idea to make it a New Jersey-only search engine was spawned by
typical search engine angst. "We tried searching locally and we
got a lot of things that weren’t relevant," he says. "If you
search for New Jersey in AltaVista you may up with some stuff in
like off the coast of Jersey." NJAvenue makes it possible to punch
in car dealers in Flemington and get a precise answer. The search
engine is fueled by the database, key words, and the comments of
who review each site registered.
Since he decided to throw up fences in cyberspace and make all of
New Jersey his target audience, Wien has also pitted himself against
a formidable competitor — the Newhouse chain of newspapers,
the Star Ledger and the Times of Trenton. Levitan’s New Jersey Online
is a division of the Newhouse family’s media businesses. "I love
the irony of always speaking in front of Peter Levitan," says
Wien. "NJ Online has all the money on the world, but they think
like a print company. Newspaper companies usually don’t get it.
had a chance to dominate the ‘Net. There were very few newspapers
that actually did a really good job online. If you look at the top
20 sites, they’re never there. They missed the boat."
Wien credits the Bergen County Record, however, and CNN, for making
the transition. "One of the greatest sites is CNN," he says.
"They recognized that rather than fighting for people that turn
on your cable station, get them to go to the website. It’s the same
thing as tuning in — you’re not waiting the next day."
When Viacom announced the deal to purchase CBS for $34.4 billion last
week, it secured a leading position in the next century by creating
a conglomerate that spans the entire media spectrum, from film to
Internet. In New Jersey, Wien has been making some similar moves.
He bought a cable TV production studio and two important domain names:
njradio.com, and njradiostation.com. "I’m building my own little
empire," Wien jokes. "A year or two down the line, everyone
will be doing video on the Internet, and this gives us time to learn
the technology to do that without rushing. Internet Radio is also
That’s the format, Wien believes, that is going to be as much of a
force in people’s lives in the future as newspapers are in the
Ironically, says Wien, the very thing that makes Internet advertising
so appealing — the ability to measure hits to ads — is what
the media uses to prove failure, pointing to low percent of
"They call 1 percent on the Internet a failure," he says.
"It’s going to be a low number. There’s a fair amount of people
who don’t click because they think clicking means you’re buying
The value of ads aren’t always in "clickthroughs" either.
"Just having your ad out there does something. It’s branding.
You look at the typical newspaper, do people really pay attention
to every ad? I believe if we could report on other advertising media
the numbers would shock advertisers, but the Internet is the only
one that’s measurable."
If newspapers miss the boat, advertisers will be left high and dry,
says Wien. "What’s going to happen in a year or two when people
are walking around with Palm Pilots and they read it for free?,"
he asks. "Are they going to buy a paper for 25 cents?"
— Melinda Sherwood
Who is responsible when the government starts asking
questions about a nonprofit’s use of funds? Who might get sued when
an employee slips and falls and holds the nonprofit organization
Who is responsible for the organization’s financial health?
The board members, that’s who. So if you are invited to be on a board,
ask lots of questions — before you accept and while you are
That advice comes from Mark Lamar
Guidance Center Corporation at 253 Nassau Street.
As a panelist on the topic of "Building Better Boards," Lamar
will speak at the Executive Forum of Greater Mercer County on
September 16, at 9 a.m. at the United Way of Greater Mercer County
at 3131 Princeton Pike. Executive directors of non-profit agencies
may attend free of charge by calling 609-896-1912, but the topic is
pertinent for anyone who serves on a nonprofit board.
Lamar’s overview is entitled "Why Have a Board?" and Zuline
Gray Wilkinson of the Union Industrial Home for Children will speak
on "Recruiting, Retiring, and Communicating: Diplomatic
training, and education to facilitate board effectiveness in
the key issues being faced.
"There is no owner in a nonprofit corporation; in that sense we
are somewhat in the public trust," says Lamar. A graduate of
College, Class of 1972, he has both an MSW and an MBA from Rutgers
and was made executive director of the Community Guidance Center in
1986. In 1993 his Nassau Street-based organization merged with Family
Service Association of Trenton and Hopewell and now employs 100
"The board is responsible for the asset management and the
resources. The board is to whom the government looks when they ask
questions about financial ownership and liability."
In the late 1980s a law was passed in New Jersey to make it
less dangerous," in Lamar’s words, for people to serve in a
capacity as, for instance, Little League coaches and fete committee
members. But his group — just like many others — carries all
kinds of insurance, including policies on directors and officers,
professional malpractice, general liability, automobile, and a general
umbrella policy. A prospective board member should check on the
history of the nonprofit and should also ask about the leadership
history (has there been rapid turnover?), the rating by funders (what
the track record), the rating by peers or accreditation organizations,
and the overall financial condition of the organization.
The most difficult board member, as described by Lamar, is the person
who "after many tries doesn’t seem to understand the organization
and remains ambivalent or unconvinced. Then you need to ask the person
if they can help or not."
Why have a board at all? Board members offer contacts to the greater
community for outright financial resources to the organization. When
it comes to selling tickets or chances or getting donations, nothing
beats eyeball to eyeball contact. Marketing help also can come from
the board. Members who are respected in their professions can debunk
the myths about nonprofits, says Lamar, "by showing them to be
efficient, focused businesses, run by professional people who are
driven by a sense of mission."
Unlike some organizations, Family Guidance Center has a firm policy
of not requiring board members to ante up a certain contribution.
Past president Michael Spicer
Peskin & Spicer, insisted on this policy. "Because we are a
agency, we want to be able to attract people from all strata of the
community. If it became exclusive we would miss our mission,"
says Lamar. His 22-member board has lots of lawyers and executives
from big companies, but it also has schoolteachers, ministers,
state workers, and human resource consultants.
"We say `here is our average board member contribution, here is
what the board was able to do last year, and here is the big picture
of what we hope for this year. And that we don’t require it, but we
will be looking for similar help from you,’" explains Lamar. The
help could take the form of contacts — asking friends to work
on committees to raise funds, or asking people who work for
to elicit donations.
This year, he reveals, the average board contribution was around
including donations garnered through personal contacts. This year’s
black-tie gala, "Dancing in the Dark," is set for Saturday,
October 2, at the Masonic Temple in Trenton (call 609-924-1320 for
The gala is expected to gross $90,000, including major contributions
from the companies of three board members (Jamieson Moore, Stark &
Stark, and PNC Bank) and one vendor — The Tribus Companies. Board
members contacted three more companies who anteed up support: Merrill
Lynch, and Aetna US Healthcare, and Bristol-Myers Squibb, as
by co-chairs Mel Campbell and Joseph Villafranca.
The National Center for Nonprofit Boards
says that among nonprofit boards basic responsibilities are to select
the executive, support the executive, and review his or her
But the legal responsibilities can be described three ways:
under similar circumstances.
as a board member for personal gain.
with the central goals of the organization.
are all competing for a shrinking pool of ever-busy people for a board
members," says Lamar. He opposes term limits: "You don’t want
to rely on the clock ticking to make decisions about whether someone
should stay or go."
— Barbara Fox
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