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Etour.com claims it's like "channel surfing" on the web, but it isn't.
October 27, 2000 8:52 AM   Subscribe

Etour.com claims it's like "channel surfing" on the web, but it isn't. Surfing is something in-between purposefully seeking a goal and letting the wind blow you wherever it wishes. It's not totally random. It's not totally goal-driven. So it must involve a human who is making half-choices, taking half-risks. It can't be programmed. [more…]
posted by grumblebee (9 comments total)

 
I love getting lost on the web. You know, when one site leads to another, like a chain of ideas or free association, and suddenly you find yourself happily wandering around a site, and you're not even sure how you got there. (Now that there are so many portals, search engines and blogs, I don't surf that much any more. It's a shame. Wandering around and finding little nooks and crannies is much more fun than googling straight to a destination. And I’m not the only one who feels this way.)

Anyway, I was on the subway yesterday, and I noticed a really cool ad for omnisky (wireless internet service): a man was standing at the bottom of a tree, looking up, pondering a rope ladder that presumably led up to a tree-house. The guy's jacket said "Spongebath.com" on it, and he was carrying a bucket full of sponges and water.

For a moment, it was just a surreal image to me. Then I realized that some unseen person in the tree had used a Palm PC to order a sponge bath.

I loved the add for its complex storytelling-by-implication, and when I got home that night, I searched the web to see if I could find it.

I looked up "omnisky soap bath" in google, but there were no links to the add. Instead, I found dozens of links to this news item. Apparently, the original ad was much less subtle, but the lawsuit must have forced them to change it. Creativity to the rescue!

That led me to the home page of omnisky's ad agency, which is beautifully designed. They don't display any omnisky ads on their site (I assume this is due to the lawsuit), but they do have a gallary of their many cool, clear designs.

Remember this one? It was very controversial. But I always loved it.

Forgive this somewhat unorthodox post, but does anyone know if there’s a site (blog?) devoted to aimless web-wandering? One that tracks the journey as much as the destination? A little like this game, but played using the web as a board.

posted by grumblebee at 8:53 AM on October 27, 2000


I'm completely baffled by ideas like etour.com. The idea doesn't appeal to me in any way. It sounds like wearing galoshes on a sunny day.
posted by Tubes at 10:00 AM on October 27, 2000


I like eTour. They send me somewhere in the neighborhood of 300-400 visitors per week.
posted by Aaaugh! at 10:05 AM on October 27, 2000


You can also buy placement on their rotation. So, really, a lot of their sites are paying to be there.
posted by Doug at 10:30 AM on October 27, 2000


wasn't eTour the company that took Mahir on the world tour last year?
posted by mathowie at 11:35 AM on October 27, 2000


Nope, i think it was Xoom.com that took Mahir on a world tour.
Anyway, I use Etour.com whenever I'm connected to the Web and bored at the same time (rare event, but true).
Unfortunately, they do nothing to kill my boredom.
posted by kchristidis at 2:03 PM on October 27, 2000


Actually Matt is right eTour was the sponsor. I remember when he was here.
posted by brian at 2:17 PM on October 27, 2000


Xoom is just where his site is hosted.
posted by brian at 2:20 PM on October 27, 2000


Web tour sites such as Etour, Tourbar, or SpotOn are a good way to get newbies into the web. That doesn't prevent them to get out and surf, either at random or through other sites. But I think it's adapted to letting people get a taste of what's out there.

Etour drives much traffic to sites so it seems they are successful with a lot of people (as I've seen on my SF site at www.scifan.com, and we didn't pay them or even asked them to be listed.)

Just because we're used to following hypertext links in 8 different windows at the same time, doesn't mean everyone is comfortable with that. I see Etour as the small rear wheels you put on children bikes. After a while kids feel comfortable and will take the whole, undirected full experience. How people surf is up to them, taking a guided tour doesn't preclude them from freewheeling next time.
posted by otravers at 5:31 AM on October 30, 2000


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