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Thursday - May 4, 2000

Ready to Smell the Internet?

According to The Times UK:

"The scent of a flower or the pleasing aroma of a favourite dish - imitations of these sensations may soon be transmitted around the world electronically in the same way as sound and pictures.

That is the belief of two scientists at Israel's Weizmann Institute, a research centre with a reputation for scientific and technological breakthroughs.

Professor David Harel, Dean of the Faculty of Mathematics and Computer Science, and Professor Doron Lancet, a biochemist, have a taken out a patent after developing a mathematical formula to 'translate the sense of smell'.

Under their system a person could send an 'encoded' message from one computer to another, then translated to a sensor which would release chemicals imitating the smell."

Click here for the full story. (link no longer valid) Uses New Unique Ad Distribution Method today brings the first free million-dollar slot machine to the Internet, and with it, a guarantee that every month at least one lucky user will instantly become a millionaire. With a highly innovative new business model, The Jackpot Concept - Ads Versus Cherriesfundamentally redefines the traditional consumer/advertiser relationship. The resulting product,'s JackSlot game, seamlessly integrates advertisers' content into a fun and engaging game format, thus creating a powerful new opportunity for consumers and advertisers alike.

A new company from idealab!, is the only place on the Web where a consumer can, with just one free click of the mouse, become an instant millionaire. One lucky user clicks the spin button of the Jackpot game and may find himself or herself with three matching logos reading a message that says he or she has just won the $2 Million Super Jackpot.

"Online consumers around the world share the dream of hitting the big jackpot and instantly changing their lives," said Gregg Rotenberg, CEO of "'s unique business model allows consumers to pursue that dream in a fun, exciting and no-cost manner, while allowing the sponsors of to create brand awareness that we expect to show is unmatched on the Internet."

Rather than utilizing cherries, bells and sevens,'s JackSlot game replaces traditional logos and icons on its slot machines with the logos of paid sponsors. This is what allows to give away millions in prizes each month in a game that is absolutely free to consumers.

"We couldn't believe how enthusiastically users were calling for a third logo," says Tom McGovern, CEO of "I think the real magic is how has made the advertisers' brand so integral to the experience, rather than just ancillary to the entertainment…where else on the Net can an advertiser connect like this with their target customers?"

"This is one of the most exciting concepts I've seen in years," said Bill Gross, the founder and CEO of idealab! "Jackpot takes branding to a new level, offering a win-win solution that could revolutionize the gaming and advertising industry. With the millions of people that are online every day, the growth potential and impact of is explosive."

Each month, will make one player an "Instant Millionaire" and award millions of dollars in other cash prizes to thousands of other winners. It will also give away two new BMW Z3s, six luxurious tropical vacations, 60 DVD players, diamonds and many other prizes every month. Plus, offers the Internet's only free $2MM Progressive Super Jackpot. All prizes except the $2MM Super Jackpot will be given away each month and the winners will be featured on the website. The $2MM Super Jackpot, which grows more than $22,000 a day, guarantees full pay-out at least once every three months.

"YOU WIN, I WIN" has also taken a unique approach to marketing JackSlot. Rather than spending millions each month on advertising, gives its users a powerful incentive to spread the word. In a program called "You Win, I Win," consumers who refer other players to the site receive a matching award whenever one of their referrals wins a prize. The referral-matching program is distinctive in its simplicity: "You win ten thousand bucks, I win ten thousand bucks. You win a car, I win a car."

And taking that spirit of generosity to the non-profit sector as well, million-dollar winners who come to the site directly (without a "You Win, I Win" referral) will be asked to name a qualified charity as their "You Win, I Win" beneficiary. Million dollar winners who came to the site via a "You Win, I Win" referral will also be asked to select a designated charity and will make a $25,000 donation to that charity in the name of the winner.

Websites Cause Lucas to Reverse Star Wars DVD Decision
When Webmasters from three DVD Websites heard that George Lucas wasn't going to release Star Wars on DVD until the entire prequel trilogy was complete, they banded together. The sites (DVD File, The Digital Bits, and Digital Man Interactive) started online petitions and took out a full-page ad costing thousands of dollars in Variety magazine. The ad was an open letter to George Lucas that read:

Over the past twenty years, audiences around the world have thrilled to the exciting adventures and filmmaking wizardry of the Star Wars saga. Through the combined talents of Lucasfilm, Industrial Light & Magic and THX, your vision has advanced the quality of motion picture exhibition and pioneered the art of digital technology. But beyond being just an incredible worldwide box office sensation and a crowning technical achievement, Star Wars became a cultural phenomenon with a passionate, devoted and loyal fan following unmatched in the history of cinema.

When it came time to present the Star Wars saga on home video, you continued to support the highest of standards by utilizing the latest advances in video technology. Past VHS and Laserdisc releases of The Star Wars Trilogy have earned well-justified praise from consumers and the industry alike for their superior picture, sound and value-added content. By refusing to deliver anything but the best, you have honored the passion and dedication of the filmmakers, artisans and fans that have made Star Wars what it is today.

But with the recent announcement of the April 4, 2000 VHS-only release of Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace, you have chosen to bypass, for the foreseeable future, the highest quality home video medium currently available. Since its launch in early 1997, DVD has become the most successful new product introduction in the history of the consumer electronics industry, with nearly 5 million DVD players in U.S. homes to prove it, and twice that many computer DVD-ROM drives. With the advent of High-Definition television and the crossing-over to a digital-based standard, consumers want to know that the movies they are buying today will still deliver the highest quality on new equipment in the future. DVD gives them that option.

As editors of the leading DVD web sites on the Internet, with many thousands of unique visitors each month, we receive a constant flood of feedback from our readers. And in light of your decision to delay the DVD release of your greatest films, the outpouring from loyal Star Wars fans has been overwhelming and unanimously negative. By withholding a DVD release from the marketplace, fans have told us that they feel you are ignoring the millions of DVD owners who appreciate the unsurpassed video and audio quality that the format offers them. Instead, many will be forced to choose between buying your film on either an inferior format like VHS, or on one of the many illegal digital bootleg discs that are becoming widely available online.

Over the course of your distinguished career, you've clearly demonstrated your commitment to setting the highest standards of quality for your fans. With that in mind, we hope that you will reconsider your lack of support for the DVD format, and will continue to lead the way in bringing motion picture entertainment into the digital age. There can be no better way to experience the Star Wars saga at home than on DVD.

The fans have asked for it, and we think the films deserve it. Don't you?

The efforts of these Webmasters, their Websites, and the fans who supported them paid off. Lucas has announced that work has started on getting the Star Wars trilogy to DVD soon (although no date was given), with LucasFilm acknowledging that the campaign did make a difference in his decision.


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