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Book 'em Danno

www.ozbooks.com

In the wake of Amazon.com's popularity (900 per cent growth last year), an Australian business has jumped on the book bandwagon.

OzBooks.com was officially launched on January 6. So far the reception has been cool, but OzBooks.com's CEO, Rafael Chavan de Montero, says that's because the site hasn't yet been registered with all the search engines.

He says Ozbooks.com will hold one million titles by August, and increase to three million by the end of the year. The site will be launched in a number of stages, the first of which is already on the Internet. Stage two, online ordering, will be implemented when secure electronic transactions (SET) becomes available. Stage three will include full commercial enhancements and dynamic pages. The final stage will add up to three million titles on OzBooks.com's database.

The site is built on a solid idea, however ozbooks.com fails to deliver the goods. Because of the gradual implementation, major parts of the site are missing or incomplete.

De Montero says he built the site himself, using Microsoft FrontPage for the difficult bits. Unfortunately, OzBooks.com's ISP doesn't support Microsoft functions, so parts of the site just don't work. The main problem is with the search function, which won't operate at all. This is a major problem with the site, but de Montero says he's looking for another ISP which should fix this. In the meantime; however, the site's not much "chop" without a search function. Until SET is introduced, orders can only be made via fax, phone, e-mail and snail mail. But there are still considerable savings to make, particularly if you're purchasing more than one book.

By de Montero's own admission, "a lot of things are not quite right." If you can bear the difficult navigation, faulty links and frustrating design, take a look at OzBooks.com.

The fundamentals are there, they just need a bit more work.

All prices are listed in Australian dollars, so when you consider the current economic climate, it might take some time before OzBooks.com takes offshore orders.

But that will all fall into place further down the track. All in all, OzBooks.com is a promising idea -- to deliver to the Australian audience what has so clearly worked in other countries.

However, the glitches in the site make it a tiring, if not trying, process to track down and finally order a book. But if you're a true book lover, take a browse through OzBooks.comAgent of love (honestly)www.single-sites.com/lovers/agent.htmThe Internet is used to find so many things; that book you're after, that part for your computer and information needed for the kids' homework. Now you can use it to look for love . . . seriously.

Singles-Site.Com Internet personals is an American-based site. Some on the site describe themselves as having: "sweaty palms, a racing heart and a quiver in the voice." That's what its about.

If you haven't got that feeling, then maybe you haven't met the right person . . . yet.

"The agent of love" section lets users place ads and browse others. Be warned, nobody's shy with their ads, and there's plenty of them on the site.

To register, you click the boxes that best relate to you (for example, "I am a woman looking for a man").

Then there are categories to specify what you are looking for in a partner: height, build, interest and ethnic background. Once the information has been submitted, the Agent of love scans new ads for matches everyday.

When a match is found, the Agent e-mails the ads to the user. The catch is that to respond to an ad, you need to subscribe to the service ($US80 per year).

Axon Computers

www.axon.com.au

Some parts of Axon Computers' Web site are still under construction, but it contains some important information for its customers. Axon is a Toshiba reseller, and the site contains bundles of info about products and services. There are hot-links to Axon's business partners, including Hewlett-Packard, Xircom, Lotus, Microsoft and Symantec. All of Axon's contact information is on the site, as well as information about its notebook hire service.

Keep your eye out for the ex-demo and used equipment in the products section. This part is still under construction but should offer some great deals in the future. Axon has done a good job with the material at hand.

BMS Technology

www.bmstech.com.au

South Australian computer distributor BMS Technology is planning to do some work on its site, but for now it's doing just fine. The site is designed around frames with the main menu running down the left side of the page. There are a couple of hot products included on the home page which are linked to pages providing further information. The entire BMS catalogue is online, and it includes full product and pricing information. There are links to suppliers and a range of support information which has links to Epson, Canon and BMS' ftp site for tech support.

The reseller area is available for BMS resellers who have registered for a password. You can print out a registration form from the site and fax it in to BMS on (08) 8211 7311.

Resellers have access to BMS' price list, which lists wholesale and retail prices as well as the relevant tax rates. BMS says this section is updated every two to three hours, so the information is sure to be current. The list also shows if there's any free stock on hand. The list can be downloaded in text, Excel 97 or Access 97 format. Also on the site is the price list for BMS computer systems and for refurbished and discontinued stock. The features that BMS plans to add to the site are FAQs and a new home page. Keep an eye out for it.

Channel Surfing is edited by Ellen Cresswell. If you have a Web site you'd like to see in a future edition of Reseller News, please contact her on (02) 9902 2777.

E-MAIL: ellen_cresswell@idg.com.au

SNAIL MAIL: 88 Christie St, St Leonards NSW 2065


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