March 2006 Newsletter

Our 10th Birthday!

Birthday Cake

**** My Personal Perspective

Ten years is a long time in the Internet. On February 24, 1996 I registered the domain name and the site was online at the end of February 1996.

I liked the way Specs-Online looked with the hyphen. Looking back I suspect that I could registered Later on I had search problems with the domain belonging to Specs Liquors in Houston Texas. In March 1999 I changed the name to This sorted to the top of most lists and was simpler.

From the beginning 4specs has been a very simple site, designed without the bells and whistles found on many sites.

When I started Specs-Online I was still a full-time independent product rep in the San Francisco area. What I knew when I started was:

  1. Binders were very expensive for the manufacturer.
  2. Binders were very expensive for the architect to maintain in their library and update.
  3. The web was a natural convergence of the CAD computer system in the architect's office (with an Internet access) and the manufacturer's information on the Internet.
  4. Sweets had 1,500 advertisers who would probably develop websites in the next few years.
  5. Web and E-mail were going to change the way construction information was exchanged. I recall one phone call with a Reno architect. He wanted me to fax a spec to him. When I asked him if could email the spec. He asked me why he would ever want email. I told him I could emal the file and his secretary would not have to type it again. He was silent - considering the possibilities.

My business model when I started was to have 1,000 advertisers at $50 per year. Not one marketing manager I spoke with could understand what I was doing. I worked for 2 more years until our first advertisers asked us how they could get better position. Today 4specs includes 12,500+ manufacturers listed plus 700 trade associations, with over 500 advertisers.

There were several surprises along the way:

The future:



Colin Gilboy
Publisher - 4specs
Contact us