What's the definition of portals' success?
Bob Grace's April 16 column ``Success elusive for plastic portals'' [Page 6] questioned whether the Society of the Plastics Industry Inc.'s new Web site will attain success where others had failed.
More than 12 years after its launch as the first plastics and rubber industry portal, Polysort is alive and well. Contrary to his statement that Polysort ``changed its focus several times,'' our company has operated the online portal Polysort.com and has offered Web site building, online promotion and hosting since its inception.
A bit of history should help dispel any confusion.
When Polysort was launched in 1995, the goal of the company was to provide plastics and rubber industry information via the Internet and generate revenue through advertising.
At that time, there were few plastics companies that had Web sites, making the selling of advertising premature. Polysort recognized the need for someone to take the lead in educating the industry and to shepherd companies online. Our company aptly fit that role, conducting seminars at numerous industry conferences and helping hundreds of companies establish their presence online.
Five years later, our foray into e-commerce was initiated with significant additional investment from our shareholders to expand beyond our core offerings. For Polysort and other highly publicized e-commerce models like Omnexus, PlasticsNet and 12 or so others that exhibited at NPE 2000, a portal-based e-commerce site did not prove itself to be a successful business model.
But as a portal site providing industry information, Web site development services and online promotion, Polysort continues to thrive. Our company's inability to make e-commerce viable in 2000 (the Stone Age in Internet years) yielded valuable lessons that we share in the course of our work with clients still today.
We continue to define success by our ability to help plastics companies leverage the Internet for their benefit, and to do so profitably.
At the same time, numerous other portal sites (IDES, Roto molding.org and, yes, Plastics News among many others) also operate successfully, each offering something of value to the industry.
Angela S. Charles
Portals in need of good management
``Success [has been] elusive for plastics portals'' should read: ``Good management has been elusive.''
The problem with most busted dot-coms is very simple and rarely stated accurately. They died of failure to keep costs in line with sales in a most spectacular manner.
In other words: poor management.
Many were planning for a massive onslaught of business that never came. Dot-com business doesn't come in onslaughts for most, it comes in small increments, earned daily.
There are several successful plastics portals, including Polysort, Omnexus and our own Plastics.com, which has had a continuous online presence as the very first plastics portal since 1994 and has been quite successful.
Plastics.com has over the last 13 years established a member base in excess of 70,000, along with an e-mail base of 45,000 and growing.
Regarding Bill Carteaux's venture, perhaps his short tenure with Tim Stojka at PlasticsNet years ago will provide a basis for success this time around. We say welcome and best of luck.
Column failed to cite firm's successful site
Probably because we have failed to send you info regarding our portal, www.thermoplastics global.com, this example of a successful portal was omitted from your April 16 editorial [``Success elusive for plastic portals,'' Page 6].
Each week Thermoplastics Global Summary is e-mailed free to 26,000 professionals in the global plastics industry. For those desiring the full story on the items it summarizes, subscription access is offered. Neither this Web site nor any of our traditional newsletter products carry advertising.
The Web site also provides direct links to industry events, links to all plastics trade magazines, links to plastics-related books from all publishers and links to other information of use to plastics professionals, such as properties data and market studies.
Thermoplastics Global Summary was initiated three years ago as a logical extension of our traditional plastics newsletters business that had been founded in 1972.
We believe a key reason for our long-standing success is that we follow a traditional newsletter format of all text/no ads, rather than attempting to do what the industry magazines do so well.
Market Search Inc.