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The 11 Immutable Laws of the Internet Paperback – 8 May 2001


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Product details

  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Profile Books (8 May 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1861976003
  • ISBN-13: 978-1861976000
  • Product Dimensions: 13 x 1.2 x 19.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,187,784 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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About the Author

Laura Ries is a graduate of Northwestern University and a partner in the marketing strategy firm Ries & Ries. They act as consultants of major corporations, including Alcoa, Frito-Lay, Glaxo Wellcome, Merck and Pillsbury.

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Format: Audio Cassette
As usually delighted with the work from Al and Laura Ries. I once attended a seminar with them and the tape is as good as the seminar was (with quite a comfortable price advantage). The publication gives a perspective over what is really important in the internet branding. A must book or tape for those involved in using Internet for business purposes.
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Format: Paperback
This books give a good case-by-case dissection of branding on the Internet, it is a must read for those planning and developing online brand strategies. I have used the laws with great effect on a few occasions.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Donald Mitchell HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 27 May 2004
Format: Hardcover
The 11 Immutable Laws of Internet Branding is a valuable guide for those who operate, work for, or invest in e-businesses. If this book had come out 7 years ago, billions would have been better invested. Perhaps the valuations of surviving e-businesses would still be higher as well.
Al and Laura Ries point out that companies seeking to do business on the Internet almost always get it wrong. And those errors begin with their choice of a brand name to use, the services they offer, the form those services take, and the technologies they plan to use. Basically, the authors make the now familiar argument (if you have read their earlier work) that there can only be one winning name in a category, that this name will be a proper noun or two rather than a common noun or two. The lousy examples they give of poorly selected brand names would be fairly humorous if it weren't for all of the money and lives being wasted in an obviously losing effort. One of the most persuasive arguments they make is that most categories will be dominated by one brand, and that brand will be the one with the best brand name (assuming some level of decent service), not necessarily the first entrant. Thus, Amazon.com is praised for having a good name while buy.com is hissed for a generic one. Yet everyone believes that being first on the Internet is the only issue for dominating a category. Wrong!
Since their earlier work called for 22 Immutable Laws of Branding, I was pleased to see that the Internet is less complicated to brand correctly than a typical new product. The main reason for this is that the seller is dealing directly with the buyer, rather than through an intermediary like a bricks and mortar retailer.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 51 reviews
38 of 45 people found the following review helpful
Can Save Billions for Internet Businesses and Investors! 17 May 2000
By Donald Mitchell - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
The 11 Immutable Laws of Internet Branding is a valuable guide for those who operate, work for, or invest in e-businesses. If this book had come out 3 years ago, billions would have been better invested. Perhaps the valuations of e-businesses would still be higher as well.
Al and Laura Ries point out that companies seeking to do business on the Internet almost always get it wrong. And those errors begin with their choice of a brand name to use, the services they offer, the form those services take, and the technologies they plan to use. Basically, the authors make the now familiar argument (if you have read their earlier work) that there can only be one winning name in a category, that this name will be a proper noun or two rather than a common noun or two. The lousy examples they give of poorly selected brand names would be fairly humorous if it weren't for all of the money and lives being wasted in an obviously losing effort. One of the most persuasive arguments they make is that most categories will be dominated by one brand, and that brand will be the one with the best brand name (assuming some level of decent service), not necessarily the first entrant. Thus, Amazon.com is praised for having a good name while buy.com is hissed for a generic one. Yet everyone believes that being first on the Internet is the only issue for dominating a category. Wrong!
Since their earlier work called for 22 Immutable Laws of Branding, I was pleased to see that the Internet is less complicated to brand correctly than a typical new product. The main reason for this is that the seller is dealing directly with the buyer, rather than through an intermediary like a bricks and mortar retailer.
The most telling argument they make is that existing businesses have an important decision to make: To either turn the existing business into an Internet-based one (like Cisco, Dell, and Charles Schwab have done), or to create a new brand with an Internet business model to compete with the nonInternet business. Most businesses would benefit from carefully thinking through this point.
The authors also argue that making your Web site more interactively valuable is critical to your success. If you notice that most Web sites aren't, you will soon be convinced that this is advice more people need to read and understand.
This book points out the problem that many people are now operating Internet-based businesses who have little understanding of the fundamentals of how to succeed. This book will be a valuable contribution to the literature of how to solve that problem.
The book is also valuable for its ability to point out the sources of stalled thinking when it comes to the Internet. The issues are more similar to existing businesses than different, despite all of the hype in the e-press.
51 of 62 people found the following review helpful
Start Improving Your Internet Business Skills Here 7 Jun 2000
By Amazon Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book won't grant you an MBA in Web Marketing. It won't replace sound business practices. It won't be 100% right in its predictions. It won't make you rich. It won't tell you how to make a better widget for your web site.
"Ries & Daughter" provide Eleven (11) Laws by which you can judge any Internet business. These are helpful to investors, business owners, venture capitalists, designers, and stock option holders. Or if you just are interested in "the way things work" this book will be of interest.
But why should you consider this book when there are so many other Internet business books?
First, brand names are important. Look in your kitchen cabinets, the name of your car, etc. Look at the names of the web sites you frequently visit. A good brand name is an often overlooked part of building a business. This book's focus is Internet branding, something that is vitally important to every Internet web site and business.
Second, Ries is a good brand. Ries is co-author of Positioning, the most important business book I've ever read. His two other Immutable Law books are also considered by many as classics. In other words, Ries as been talking about branding for sometime and that knowledge is an important component of this book.
Third, 11 Immutable Laws is a good start. Another reviewer called it an "easy read." That is a high compliment since complex ideas get explained concisely without a lot of fluff. The book is full of examples and predictions. Names are named. I think the other books can wait until you read this.
Fourth, it will give you an understanding about why you like some sites and not others. After you read one law, you might say, "That was obvious." Then that make you think about why the other laws are not obvious to you. That is learning. That is why I went back an re-read the first law.
If you are not sure, then read the publisher's information and visit their interactive web site.
But I'm biased. Ries and his former partner Trout are two of my five favorite authors. Regardless, I think anyone in the Internet business will find this a useful business tool.
Right now I'm examining how our four current and two future Internet products comply with the 11 Laws. Certainly sparks some interesting possiblities.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Prematurely written and in many cases, just wrong. 12 Mar 2009
By M. Cory - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
I'm a big fan of Positioning but Ries should have followed his owned advice on this one regarding brand extension and left these immutable laws to people who know what they are talking about.

This book is about nine years old and any "old" book about the Internet is going to be dated.

It seems he rushed this book based on cursory scanning of the Internet.

Here's a quick take on the "immutable" laws as seen by Ries:

1. Either/Or. Don't agree with this one. Brick and Mortar establishes credibility which is still lacking on the Internet. He cites Amazon and eBay as examples but they are the exceptions.

2. Interactivity. In 2000 (when written), interactivity was a buzzword. Today it's just a given. It's comparable to basing an immutable law around having a mouse and a screen.

3. Common Names. I agree with this to a point but it deserves more study.

4. Proper Names. Good advice.

5. Singularity. Completely off. Time will show that different sites and retailers appeal to different demographics, just like in the real world. The pie is big enough for robust competition (and will get bigger). The Internet is still a new market and has dominant brands. That is changing and will continue to change. Also, if singularity were true, there would be no need for the Washington Post, NYT, WSJ, etc. We would all read USA Today. Localization is still a big factor -- even on the net.

6. Advertising bigger off of the net than on. Ugh, he was so wrong on this one because he made premature assumptions. This was before the keyword boom and, to this day, e-mail marketing is still in its infancy. Advertising on the net has such a massive advantage because you can control and track EVERYTHING. You can test and shift any element of a campaign in real time. Very, very, very bad "immutable" law.

7. Globalism. Sure, I'll buy this one but sites localized to a region will have an advantage.

8. Time (first in the prospect's mind). Great advice that applies to all marketing.

9. Vanity (brand extension). Very wrong again. Google dominates because of brand extension. Ries criticized Amazon for extending beyond books and, sure enough, Amazon showed its first profitable quarter at the end of 2001 after expanding offerings. Once trust and credibility are established with an Internet brand you can extend.

10. Divergence. My iPhone defies Ries' thoughts on this. Convergence is here and it's going well. The Internet is the poster child of convergence but I don't think Ries' understands technology well enough to get that. All types of technology and protocols already converge on the Internet and are now jumping off. Netflix integration with the XBox, Traffic updates served through Google maps to GPS and phones, SMS integration with chat, etc.

11. Transformation. Woohoo, he got it right!

Yes, my review is a bit snarky but Ries needs to show some responsibility and either update this book or take it out of print. People -- marketing professionals -- are relying on Ries' credibility that originated from his other books and are taking this one as gospel -- and they're paying a very dear price for it.
13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
An over-extended brand 21 Aug 2001
By Adam F. Jewell - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Al Ries has written or contributed to some stellar marketing books including "Focus" and "Positioning". The 11 Immutable Laws of Internet Branding is a disgrace compared to previous works.
It appears the Reis' got caught up in the Internet hype, stating things like "putting your name on both your physical store and your Website is a serious error" and "On the Internet you should start the brand-building process by forgetting everything you have learned in the past", WHAT?
The authors demonstrated their knowledge of the net by introducing us to FrogDog (FogDog.com) and the infamous JRKoop (DrKoop.com), which makes one wonder if the authors were even awake when they wrote this book.
You'll find as much hype and as many ill-conceived marketing laws in this book as any on the market. I'd take this book over something like Charles W. Kadlec's "Dow 100,000: Fact or Fiction" so maybe it's worth a second star. The bottom line:
DON'T BUY THIS BOOK!
9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
Ries's best book so far 17 July 2000
By John C. Dunbar - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
I had problems with Ries's previous books. Back then it was Ries and Trout, instead of Ries and Ries (his daughter).
In the older books his basic message was very simple (niche and be the first in the mind of the buyer, position).
Ries and Trout are credited with popularizing this positioning subject.
From this very simple message, they wrote books that endlessly repeated this important, but very simple, message. Thus, his previous books were tedious, and sometimes boring. I had the same problem with Andy Grove's book, with his basic theme of "Only the Paranoid Survive": one concept... many pages.
Thus, I thought his previous books were over kill. But this book is different. Maybe because Ries's daughter kept him on track.
This is one of the best books on branding that I've read so far. And, it really does a great job on discussing branding as it applies to internet sites.
For example, don't even think of naming your web site without reading this book. From reading this book, I have a much better understanding of how to structure my web site, how to name it, how to come up with internet site business ideas.
Although Ries is a marketing guru, and not an internet techno-weenie, his understanding of the internet runs deep, from a business point of view.
This is a masterful book, and I recommend it highly. I think a lot of VC firms should have read it before they invested in many of the copy-cat web sites that took their money.
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