Foreword Review — Jan / Feb 2001
The hottest industry on the planet? It’s hard not to think so when traditional print and electronic media are a-buzz with the latest dot.com happening. This uneasy symbiosis between the old guard and the upstarts is often news in itself. That is the backbone of this breezy novel, which entertainingly documents a venture that pits an old-style newspaper baron, Pierce Williams, against his jet-setting, digital-savvy son, Richard.
Scott, himself a veteran of the “eyeball wars,” the battle to get and retain visitors to an Internet Website, is vice president of marketing for NewsEdge Corporation, a global e-content company. He has also worked at a large newspaper chain, clerked at a Wall Street bond trading desk, and lived in New York, Boston, and Hong Kong. This experience pays off in the details, as Scott authentically tells the tale of a rather aimless young man who wants to prove himself worthy of the family name and reputation, but is clueless as to where to start.
As the novel opens, Richard is content to enjoy the fruits of his absentee-dad’s labor, flying between coasts, seeing and being seen with his TV-star girlfriend. Certainly, he holds an upper-level position in the family’s business, but he’s known more for the size of his expense accounts than for his business acumen. When Pierce starts feeling the heat from investors, who are anxious to get a piece of the dot.com pie, he challenges Richard with the task of adding a click on a Williams’ Internet site to their newspaper readers’ daily routine. The only catch? No financing, and no first-class perks.
And so begins the race against the clock. Richard must not only build a quality site that will attract hundreds of thousands of daily visitors, he must also find the investors and advertisers who will keep the company afloat. Luckily for him, across the globe waits Mariko Suzuki, a “salary slave” in a traditional Japanese corporation. Like Richard, Mariko is chaffing against old traditions and expectations, and also wants to make her unique mark in this brave new world. Battling against a culture that merely tolerates working women, Mariko must convince her superiors that an Internet investment is the ticket to future financial prosperity, both for her and the company.
With all the elements of a traditional best-selling novel, including exotic locales, family bickering and juicy scandals, Eyeball Wars successfully delivers dot.com freshness on every page.