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-- by Richard Castagna
Anyone who has ever closed a sale knows that sometimes you have to get a little pushy. The same holds true for a business Web site. Don't wait for your customers to come to you-deliver your business pitch directly to their desktops.
Push technology is an umbrella term for a variety of automated delivery systems that make it unnecessary for viewers to actually browse a Web site to get information. Before you make your own push to add this level of Web automation to your business site, understand that it is fairly sophisticated, requiring specialized server-side software and your own Web server.
If you do have your own server, take a look at BackWeb from BackWeb Technologies, arguably the leader in this emerging field. BackWeb lets you send more than just text to your subscribers. The system can deliver animations and audio with equal aplomb.
Your information is packaged and delivered in InfoPaks.
InfoPaks can be Flashes, which are brief teasers; FunFlashes, which deliver information with an entertaining flair, like animations; and Wallpapers and Screensavers. You can also deliver Java applets, ActiveX controls, video, binary applications, plug-ins and more. Delivery is unobtrusive; your subscribers receive InfoPaks in the background during idle times while they're connected to the Internet.
You can also schedule deliveries, and delivery to targeted subscriber groups. You could, for example, send an InfoPak only to users with a specific hardware or software configuration. Interactive InfoPaks let your subscribers supply information to you, which you can then incorporate in a database application.
The BackWeb client software is free. The server software runs on Windows NT and Sun Solaris systems. The cost of setting up BackWeb varies; contact BackWeb for details (http://www.backweb.com or 800-863-0100)