Jeff Rawlings rawlings at
Fri Mar 3 20:50:48 EST 1995

David Kristofferson wrote:

> In article <3indfo$8bn at>,
> >I also think there would be interest in a commercial "new products and
> >announcements" forum,  particularly if it was associated with a
> >structured and searchable archive and web page.  I object strongly to
> >ads appearing unsolicited in my email or in a scientific forum, but if
> >I have made the decision to look at a commercial forum, sure ads are
> >what I am looking for.  This forum might carry the sort of
> >announcements that appear in the back of Science and Nature under the
> >"New Products" heading.  A couple hundred dollar posting fee is still
> >alot less than postage costs to produce even a modest surface mailing.
> >What do the journals charge?
> I have thought about options like the above for a long time and would
> do this if we were trying to turn this into a for-profit service.
> However, I think all of the people that have entrusted the running of
> this operation to us over the years would then be completely justified
> in screaming at us for using it for personal profit.  That is why we
> are going the "PBS route."  We could, of course, raise only enough
> money as suggested above to cover operations PLUS the bill collecting,
> but I'm optimistic that we won't have to take on this additional
> overhead.

I don't see why such a service needs to be for-profit. I believe that a
forum for commercial announcements is of clear benefit to life science
researchers, allowing us to find out quickly and easily about new
products, technical advancements, online information, and other resources
provided by the commercial sector. Should we refuse to create such a
valuable resource because the companies will benefit too?

I have been thinking about ways to go about creating such a forum, as
well. I posted on the biz-biotech mailing list that I might be persuaded
to lead an effort to get such forums started on Usenet, and there was an
excellent response. I repeat that offer here.

Because the content of a commercial announcement group will be of high
interest to professional researchers, I believe that bionet is the best
place on Usenet to put such a group (or set of groups). I know that there
are issues, related to the grants supporting BIOSCI, which are beyond my
control. In any case, I will volunteer my time to moderate the group and
assist in its creation - hopefully that will reduce or eliminate the
support that BIOSCI has to provide.

What do you all think?


Jeff Rawlings                               rawlings at

     *Internet Consulting for the Biotechnology Supplier*

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