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Culture on Demand: Black is Beautiful
The American Express black card is the ultimate status symbol

Asia Buzz: Should the Net Be Free?
Web heads want it all -- for nothing

JAPAN: Failed Revolution
Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori clings to power as dissidents in his party finally decide not to back a no-confidence motion

Cover: Endgame?
After Florida's controversial ballot recount, Bush holds a 537-vote lead in the state, which could give him the election

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about Asia Buzz  |  more Asia Buzz

Pay Them, and They Will Follow
The cost of building brand loyalty
By ADI IGNATIUS

January 17, 2000
Web posted at 10 a.m. Hong Kong time, 9 p.m. EDT


Is your online column getting enough readers? And if not, what can you do about it?

    ASIA BUZZ
Culture on Demand: Net Worth
Postcards from the edge of the world's biggest merger
- Saturday, Jan. 15, 2000

Letter from Japan: Anyone Got a Flashlight?
How Japanese media behemoths keep consumers in the dark
- Friday, Jan. 14, 2000

Asia Buzz: Clobbered
A Singapore-Malaysia spat over CLOB shares illustrates how Asia could stumble in the Net century
- Thursday, Jan. 13, 2000

Asia Buzz: Air Apparent
Otherwise known as Hong Kong haze
- Wednesday, Jan. 12, 2000

Asia Buzz: Traffic Merges Ahead
New media looks to traditional players for names, content and, yes, gravitas
- Tuesday, Jan. 11, 2000

Asia Buzz: A Stock Market Primer
Follow these tips to unlikely riches
- Monday, Jan. 10, 2000

  ALSO IN TIME
Market Q&A
Each business evening with analysts around the region

  ASIAWEEK
Intelligence
The story behind today's news from the editors of Asiaweek

Daily Briefing
Today's headlines from across the region

A few years ago I was browsing in a book store with a friend and picked up a compendium of Vaclav Havel's writings. My friend advised me to put it down, claiming I'd never read it. I assured him he was wrong, that Havel was a hero of mine. I bought the book.

What I didn't know was that my friend, to test my dedication to the Czech nationalist cause, had furtively slipped a $10 bill between pages 150 and 151.

We spoke several months later. "Did you ever read the Havel book?" he asked. "Of course," I responded, with an air of I-told-you-so superiority. "Then turn to page 150," he said.

The bill was still there. "How did I miss that ..." I wondered aloud. "Don't even start," he said, cutting me off before it all got too embarrassing.

But the point is this: I made $10! And it got me to thinking that, if you offer your readers sufficient cash prizes and other rewards, you're going to build up a loyal following. I know, some of you will argue that it's prohibitively expensive to develop and maintain readership that way. Well, I have this to say: "You are s-o-o-o old media."

Put it this way: if I could be sure that every Havel tome had $10 hidden somewhere in its pages, I'd be a devoted reader.

Consider this: my best-read Asia Buzz column ever was a news quiz that promised the winner ... (wait for it) ... a copy of TIME magazine!

So stay tuned. From time to time, we'll spice up some of our more lengthy and earnest reportage with special messages to reward our most loyal readers. In the middle of a detailed analysis of, say, UMNO political strategy in Malaysia, you may encounter a line that announces: "Anyone who's still reading this can send his or her name to the editors and receive a check for $5." Earn while you learn!

Yes, it will cost us. But the New Media world is all about building up market share, regardless of the price.

So go away now. But visit us again. And be sure to look out for potentially lucrative SEND ALL YOUR MONEY TO ADI IGNATIUS hidden messages.

Write to TIME at mail@web.timeasia.com
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ASIAWEEK:

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