An AMA for Internet Professionals

Britting’s Bio

Between the Lines

To the Editor

Corrections or additions?

These stories by Phyllis B. Maguire and Barbara Fox were published

in U.S. 1 Newspaper on Wednesday, May 27.

Successful and Not So

Top Of Page
An AMA for Internet Professionals

The Internet may put the world at our fingertips, but

its delivery can be pandemonium. "There are now 40 million World

Wide Web sites, a figure that may reach 80 million by next year,"

says Robert J. Britting, president and CEO of International Internet

Association (IIA) LLC, a Princeton Junction start-up launched this

month. As an alternative to those Internet hordes, IIA intends to

be the single source for information, products, and services for high

tech and Internet professionals. It is a national trade association,

hoping to serve as Chamber of Commerce, employment network,

educational

forum, and lobbying group for the Internet and high tech industries.

The idea for IIA was born three years ago, when Britting — who

has over two decades of marketing and advertising experience in the

pharmaceutical and health care industries — got the

entrepreneurial

itch. "At the forefront of business were managed care and the

Internet — and the Internet was like the Wild West," he says.

"Where there is chaos, there is opportunity." Britting, who

is now 49, decided to focus on the Internet, teaming up with computer

wonder Jason Kinner, now 24. They organized focus groups of high tech

programmers and professionals in New Jersey and Pennsylvania, learning

what their prospective members felt they needed in a professional

organization and website. The results were

www.internetassociation.com

site — and some very big plans for the future. The model Britting

keeps in mind is the very organized (and powerful) American Medical

Association.

"We’ve stolen a whole host of ideas from a number of sources,"

he laughs. "We will be driven very much by our members’ needs,

and IIA will be like a Japanese garden: something that breathes and

changes."

The association is for members only and their sponsors, with 150

charter

memberships offered. There are now, says Britting, 6 million computer

programmers and Internet specialists worldwide. By advertising through

computer journals, news groups, and direct marketing, Britting hopes

to enroll 50,000 of them as IIA member in one year, a number he hopes

will double by year two. Attracting members are IIA services.

Currently

offered on the website is IIA Interface, a database for professionals

seeking business relationships and a secured E-mail intermediary;

IIA Job Search for resume and position postings; a Link Library, for

links to products, software, and training programs, and a TechTools

section. There is also Biz Tools, with headings like "Never Back

a Rat Into a Corner" and "Never Step on Someone’s Shoes and

Scuff Their Shine," to help members who have less experience

managing

people.

But the current site is just the beachhead from which to launch a

host of other services. Britting expects to offer educational and

accreditation programs online, as well as live conferencing. He

expects

IIA to conduct market research, serving as a "Consumer

Reports"

for the high tech industry. And Britting wants to publish a trade

journal that can keep pace with the legal, economic, and judicial

implications of these rapidly expanding fields.

Does Britting envision the association participating in the national

debate on government regulations? "Absolutely." And what is

the cost for professionals to become members? Absolutely nothing —

with a catch.

Britting proposes to sell both advertising on the IIA website and

sponsorships for various training programs and services. But the core

source of IIA income will be the sale of its list of members —

to companies with products the association can endorse or which it

believes offer value. "Our list won’t be sold to tobacco

companies,"

Britting is quick to point out. Members who don’t want their names

sold will pay $295 a year in membership fees for the privilege.

The database of IIA members will be of great value to a variety of

companies, including 300 major computer-related organizations.

"Programmers

and computer professionals are the most innovative purchasers of high

tech products," Britting says. "They may not buy more than

the general population, but they are the first to buy. Each Internet

professional influences 30 other people about which software and

hardware

products to buy. They are a specialty market high tech companies want

to reach."

And will apparently pay handsomely to do so. Britting won’t discuss

the company’s initial capitalization, but he expects to reap $1.5

to $2 million in revenues his first fiscal year, and projects upwards

of $15 million by his third year of business.

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Britting’s Bio

Born in Newark, Britting has been a West Windsor resident for the

past 10 years. A specialist in database marketing and management for

the pharmaceutical industry, he helped launch Scriptrac for

Clark-O’Neill,

a database program for target marketing. "The database identifies

which physicians are the first to prescribe new drugs," Britting

says. "It also identifies which physicians have the highest volume

of prescriptions." Pharmaceuticals target specialists, Britting

explains, and "once specialists become familiar with a drug, its

use trickles down to the primary care community." Britting has

switched that concept of target marketing from health care to high

tech.

Britting graduated from Fairleigh Dickinson with a marketing degree

in 1976 and a marketing masters’ in 1979. Kinner, who wrote his first

computer program when he was nine, received a B.S.in engineering and

computer science from University of Pennsylvania. Specializing in

analog computing and database development, Kinner has worked with

Bluestone Inc., a developer of web applications and information

systems.

"This is a young person’s business," Britting says, "and

the Internet and computer programming are both very consultant-driven.

Consultants tend to concentrate in particular industries, and my guess

is that our membership will first include programmers within retail

organizations. The Internet now plays a very significant part in the

sales efforts of many companies."

Britting expects the association to address the growing gap in

computer

literacy, with the IIA implementing Internet for the Inner City

programs,

starting in Trenton. He also notes this global concern: India produces

50,000 programmers a year, a figure he thinks is second only to the

United States. With U.S. sanctions in place after India’s nuclear

testing, the flow of those professionals into U.S. markets may be

impeded.

As to E-commerce, Britting’s advice is "buyer beware. The Internet

is no different from any other medium. But it is the most dynamic

medium I’ve ever seen, a hybrid of television, the telephone, the

Yellow Pages, and direct marketing — and it doesn’t cost

anything!"

— Phyllis Maguire

International Internet Association

25 Rosewood

Court, Princeton Junction 08550. Robert J. Britting, CEO.

609-799-0898;

fax, 609-799-1162. URL:

http://www.internetassociation.com.

Antidote to Web Optimism: Jeff Berger

Does Web technology answer every need? No, says Jeffrey

Berger. Burned by his races on the fast track, he has retrenched to

set up shop on more traditional avenues.

When he was living in Paris, Berger hatched a grandiose idea of an

Internet business, to market and merchandise over the Internet,

starting

with European boutiques and artists, and incorporating an

international

lifestyles magazine, complete with stills, video, and surrogate travel

experiences. Click on Chartres and you got a virtual tour of the

quaint

village with the famous Cathedral and then visit the shop of a stained

glass artisan, where with another double click you could purchase

his work. "It was very ambitious," says Berger.

His dream foundered on the World Wide Web’s pretensions. He and his

wife came back to the United States "with many contracts from

people eager to sell charming merchandise," says Berger. His first

Internet service provider "turned out to be a fly by night

organization."

Then he negotiated a good contract with none other than IBM, which

was planning to set up a shopping mall and to charge in the

neighborhood

of $60,000 rent for shopping cart programs, online purchasing, and

a good hit rate. Berger was on the verge of signing a contract with

an Internet consultant when IBM canceled its plans. No more IBM mall.

That was in April 1997. Now, insists Berger, the only good mall is

at AOL and is way too expensive.

So, after this very high-tech career, Berger is now marketing jewelry

designers, artists, and spa products the old-fashioned way — by

hiring manufacturers’ reps and being represented in showrooms in

Dallas,

New York City, and Los Angeles.

A math and English major at Temple, Class of 1972, he worked for

Prentice

Hall’s textbook division before his first high-tech endeavor, setting

up a computer graphics service bureau that was funded by and located

at CitiCorp in Manhattan.

Berger headed to London to get his master’s degree of economics and

international trade from London School of Economics. In the late ’80s

he analyzed electronic imaging technology for E.I. DuPont, to find

electronic analogs for such traditional chemical-based businesses

as X-ray film and printing. His wife, Evelyn Kopke, worked for Corning

Besselaar (now Covance) in pharmaceutical regulatory affairs, and

the Paris residency came when she got a job in Paris working on

codifying

regulations in the European community.

Thwarted ambitions? "It is disappointing," says Berger,

"The

artists are disappointed and so am I." He eagerly proffers color

photographs of some work that is quite lovely indeed. In his stable

are two jewelry designers, including one who had designed for

Versacci,

four painters, two sculptors, and two porcelain designers; their work

ranges from the fine arts category to product licensing to

handpainting

on Limoges china.

But it is his spa line that must pay the rent now. He is the North

American distributor for bath, body, and skin care products of Masor

Term of Strasbourg, to be marketed as Ange de Beauchene for fitness

centers, resorts, and specialty retailers, and the very finest health

spas.

"I’ve spent almost $250,000 developing Weboutique, and now I have

to move the product," says Berger. He invested in buying the

samples,

in getting FDA clearances for ingredients and labeling, and setting

up a clean room for bottling and labeling the expensive aromas. In

effect, he and his wife have their own cottage industry.

"For the first time I have my own products that I am selling.

Anybody who works for an ad agency can tell you it’s a nice place

to be," says Berger.

"Having worked for major companies I have gone beyond fatigue

almost to the point of hostility. I would rather go it alone. That

it is a low tech business is almost a relief," he says.

As a strategic planner he had to read hundreds of pages a week, just

to keep pace with technology’s relentless learning curve. "I am

happy to be off the treadmill," says Berger. He doesn’t even have

a Web site.

— Barbara Fox

Weboutique International , 203 Salem Court, Suite

4, Princeton 08540. Jeffrey Berger. 609-514-0043.

Top Of Page
Between the Lines

We had hoped to brag a little about our own website

in this Internet issue, but between the crush of editorial content

provided by Barbara Fox, Phyllis Maguire, and Peter Mladineo, and

the informative advertisements and advertising features rounded up

by Diana Joseph-Riley, Martha Moore, and Laura Mosiello, we discovered

we just didn’t have any room left.

First we had planned a full-page ad showcasing our website,

www.princetoninfo.com.

Then it was cut to a half page. Then another paid ad came in, and

our "house" ad went out.

So instead we are stuck bragging about the content of the paper. Check

it out, beginning with the Survival Guide offerings on page 6, and

continuing with the cover stories on pages 14, 15, and 20, along with

the advertising features on page 15, and the potpourri of

Internet-related

business moves beginning on page 45.

If you don’t believe that the Internet is happening, consider the

growth of the Internet telephony firm, ITXC, which just received an

infusion of $10 million in venture capital (page 52), or Princeton

Learning Systems, which raised $500,000 to help market its online

educational software (page 52), or the recent successes of Sycom,

a Trenton-based firm that develops digital voice software and PC audio

links (page 53). And an advertising feature reveals that Productivity

Works, which develops software to help the blind surf the Web, has

grown from $177,000 in revenues last year to a projected $1.3 million

this year (page 48).

Of course, it takes an old-fashioned newspaper to pull all this

disparate

information together, present it in one convenient package, and then

put it under your nose at your place of work, where the greatest

implications

of the Internet revolution still reside. Where on the Internet could

you find all this information assembled in this manner?

Well, you could check out princetoninfo.com. Every week we

update

our website with all the major stories from U.S. 1 Newspaper. We also

maintain a complete database of central New Jersey companies, retail

stores, and health and fitness practitioners, as well as a dining

database where you can search on restaurants by food type or city

and then post your own comments if you feel your dining experience

was noteworthy. And of course you can also search our archive of

stories

on hundreds of companies. We would love to brag about it, but we are

out of room. Another time.

Top Of Page
To the Editor

MY REACTION to the sign on Nassau Street, indicating New Brunswick

15 miles, Rahway 27, and Newark 36 (U.S. 1, May 13), was not derision,

but warm recognition, for "I got here from there."

I grew up in Rahway, where Route 27 is officially named St. George’s

Avenue, but we always referred to it simply as "the highway."

After I started working in Princeton I brought my bike down by riding

it down Route 27. Metuchen and New Brunswick were the only towns on

the way, so it was a very scenic ride.

Patricia N. Cherry

The writer made her bicycle trek in 1946, and concedes that

she wouldn’t chance it now.


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