Netiquette, or the effective use of communications (and social graces on the Internet), is critical for professional business activities.


Using the Internet for Business

Sources of Information on the Internet

E-Mail Access to the Internet


Email Enhancements

Mail Lists


Usenet Newsgroups


Internet Etiquette



Mailing Lists


How to Connect for Enhanced Surfing


World Wide Web

Search Engines

Acronym Directory

Smiley Dictionary

Library Resources

A Sample FAQ

FAQ From Inet-marketing Maillist


While the Internet has been around for 25+ years, most companies currently on the Internet joined within the past year. As of January 1996, almost 200,000 companies have registered their "domains" to have a presence on the Internet. Most will start by establishing email gateways to both send and receive email from heterogeneous systems connected to the internet anywhere in the world. Then, many will begin to allow individual computers to have access to internet resources through the tcp/ip protocol. With this protocol, individual computers become a "node" on the internet.

Finally, many of these companies will establish their "world wide web" presence on the internet. Through a World Wide Web server developed and managed by an IS, marketing or outside organization, companies can provide a variety of marketing collateral and other information to other users of the internet.

The following document is designed to assist the reader in using the internet for business purposes, both to develop additional lines of communication with customers/suppliers and partners, and to find new sources of information on their areas of expertise.

Using the Internet for Business

Sources of Information on the Internet

A variety of sources of information exist on the internet, too many to list or even adequately characterize. Many search engines make the retrieval process easier, yet the number one method of information retrieval still remains dialog with other users.

The following is a partial list of source types

Each has its own strengths and weaknesses, and its own access methods. This paper will provide the detail necessary for a user to gain access to external mail addresses, maillists, usenet newsgroups, and the world wide web.

E-Mail Access to the Internet

E-mail access to the internet is simple. Using standard mail client software installed on your personal computer, you can send messages to anyone connected anywhere in the world on the internet, or to any of the major online services, including AOL, CompuServe, Prodigy, Delphi, etc.

Occasionally you'll encounter someone who doesn't know their own email address!. Simply ask them to send you a brief message, and then to send them a message, "reply" to their message. Also, when you receive their message, you probably can decipher their email address.

If you frequently send messages to the same address, you can save addresses to an address book or save a sample message to a drafts file. Then simply retrieve rather than creating the message from scratch each time.

So that you don't appear to be a "newbie" on the 'net, please follow the fairly simple rules of netiquette listed later in this guide.


Windows users can set up rules to sort incoming mail by subject or author. For instance,

These rules make managing an active mailbox much easier

Common E-mail Addressing Syntax:

File any messages you really don't want to lose in an archive, rather than in a folder or in your inbox. Archives are typically filed on your hard disk, rather than in the mail database.

Email Enhancements

Not all email systems support file attachments or "receipt requested" tags. If in doubt, try sending a small document to your recipient as an attachment to see what happens.

Mail Lists

You can join a mail list to discuss marketing, technical, or vendor-specific issues. Examples include:

and ten thousand others. A variety of resources in the library provide hardcopy listing of the maillists available (specific books listed in an appendix to this guide).

To find out what lists are available, either ask other net surfers, use one of the search engines available through the world wide web or download the maillist list from an ftp site (

Typically, to join the discussion group, you send mail to an automated listserver, using the following format (or something similar). If this doesn't work, try sending the word "help" to the same address. An autoresponder will usually send you a help file.

subscribe <yourname>

Unsubscribing is the opposite of subscribing

unsubscribe <yourname>

Do not send administrative requests to the list itself. Your "unsub" message will go to hundreds or thousands of people. You will also receive an introduction to the list as soon as you're subscribed, detailing the administrative and procedural issues.

Save this message!

After you join a maillist, you should refrain from posting any messages for a while. Get to understand the flavor of the list, what is appropriate to discuss, what isn't.

When you do post for the first time, start off with something like:

"Hi, this is my first time posting. Maybe this has been covered before, but I have a question about...."

Be brief and to the point. Identify yourself and wait for a response.

You will get private email back from other list participants. Some will wish to continue private "threads", while others will want to know what your company does and whether any jobs are available. In all communication, keep in mind that you represent both yourself and the company, even if you're sending a private flame to some jerk.

He or she may just forward that message on to


Don't set "return receipt requested on messages sent to mail lists. You'll get hundreds of return receipts back for each message.

Mail lists are global in nature. Don't use colloquialisms that people outside the US wouldn't understand. Be careful to phrase things in a way that doesn't favor one country over another.

Usenet Newsgroups

Usenet discussion groups are similar to bulletin board discussion groups. Information varies broadly, from the use of unix systems, to the flaming of barney. You get access to usenet through a "usenet browser" that allows you to read individual messages and any follow-up responses.

In addition, you can post your own thoughts on a given subject and enter a public dialog with other usenet readers. These are widely read, so be polite. Don't post anything that you wouldn't want to see on the front page of the NY Times.


Usenet uses a hierarchy to allow easier browsing. Major sections, with examples, include:

An example of a business-focused newsgroup is biz.comp.hardware; an example of sports and recreation is rec.bicycles.misc.

Several books in the library offer specific listings of usenet newsgroups. In addition, your usenet browser will list all newsgroups available to you from your particular service (not all usenet hosts carry all groups).

When you choose the newsgroups you wish to browse, they may be grouped in a particular window in your browser. Then, each time you browse that particular newsgroup, the browser will keep track of the messages that you've read or skipped and only present new messages in follow-on sessions.

In addition, a variety of resources in the library list the various newsgroups available.

You typically have the choice of reading the messages in any of a variety of orders, including:

Internet Etiquette


The tips to effective email are quite straightforward.

Keep it simple and professional. You never know who will read the message, so be sure to watch what you say. Someone could forward your message to your boss, a thousand of your closest friends and clients, or post it on the front page of @times.

Keep it to the point. Be succinct, don't stray off topic.

Use the subject line to identify your topic. If you have multiple things to say, consider breaking them into multiple messages.

If you're responding to someone else's message be sure to either comment in the relevant part of their original message or paraphrase their comments. Always provide attribution. Including portions of the original message is important as the reader may not remember his or her original comments or may have picked up a thread (line of discussion) after it began.

Example of commenting, Unix style

>> Better educate folks early and often. Getting a license to drive is
>> more than being able to afford the wheels.
> Anyway, my point is that as marketers we can't go restricting the
> access of our
> prospective clients. Certainly can't have a tag on the front of the
> Sharper Image catalog stating "Perusing this material in the john
> is prohibited"
> Right?

The Unix style commenting also allows you to make comments to specific points in order, i.e.:

On Thursday, April 20th, Fred Smith wrote:
> Fred said
I agree
> Fred then said
I disagree 

Note that you should always identify the original poster.

Use a signature line to identify yourself and your organization. See below. Rather than retyping each time, cc: mail users can save this as a file (export) and retrieve it (import) for each message you send.

Do not send messages intended for one person to an entire mail list.

Typing in all-caps means, on the net, that you're yelling. People will respond with a polite "Why are you yelling at me?" instead of responding to the text of your message. This includes headlines. Do not use all-caps, unless of course, you ARE yelling.

Spell-check everything. Most people do get lazy with email, so you'll see a lot of "misspellings", made up words, and colloquialisms. Resist the temptation to join in. Be as professional in your written word as you would in any other communication.

People expect a much higher level of responsiveness with email. Do not let your email sit for days before you answer.

Do not post someone else's private message publicly, unless you have prior permission to do so.

Do not rekey a copyrighted story and post anywhere.

Be sure to give exact citing of sources.

Don't be prolific on maillists. Let others have a chance to express their may learn something.

Use line lengths of less than 70 columns so that you give room for others to provide comments.

Bold and italics don't work in ascii email. Instead, use one of the following symbols to denote bold or italics * or _. This is an example of the word *yikes* in bold.

Use "smilies" or "emoticons" (listed later in this document) to show further emotions. ;-)

Best regards,
Lee Levitt
Manager, Market Development For information on Purveyor, the
Process Software Corporation World Wide Web server software for Microsoft Windows NT (TM) or
800.722.7770, x 381 Windows 95 (TM), please
508.628.4381 (direct) stop by


Beyond the etiquette required for email, usenet has some specific etiquette points of its own, including:

Be sure to lurk for a while before you post. Get the flavor of a group and don't embarrass yourself by posting a question that had just been answered 16 times. People will flame you for this, and the polite ones will yell "READ THE FAQ"

Don't post the same message in multiple places. Post it where it belongs and people will find it. (Same thing for usenet and maillists) Posting the same message in multiple places is called "spamming" and is frowned on. Makes people read the same message twice or more...

Delete the message once it's no longer valid (if your browser supports deletions). If its a vendor meeting, have the courtesy to delete the message after the meeting was held. If you're selling something, don't post a follow-up message saying the item was sold, simply delete the original message.

When you want to modify a message, delete the original (report sales for instance). Identify the modified message as a follow-up

Mailing Lists

Majordomo Chief of the house

The title of the highest official in the royal household under the Merovingians O.E.D


"Fax Flashes over the Internet" - Sending fast breaking news over the Internet allows customers and partners to receive information quickly and in a format that is easy for them to distribute within their organizations.

In addition, it can be used as a dialog among customers, and with your company.

Basically, it is a mail list hosted and administered by your company or your Internet provider that allows analysts and others to send a text message via the internet to anyone on a preset list. Warning - it is possible for outsiders to send messages to the list and have them be forwarded to all of the other recipients of the list. If one of your clients responds to the list with a message, please send them a private email (or call) and ask them to send messages to you rather than the list.

Restrictions - This is intended for text only documents. This means there can be no graphics and the data must be separated by spaces. Do not use tabs as they will space differently on different systems. "Binaries , e.g. word processing documents, spreadsheets, graphics, etc., can not be handled by many receiving sites.

How to Connect for Enhanced Surfing


You have two choices for personal connections. The most popular method of connecting is via a modem to an Internet Service Provider (ISP), such as Netcom, Software Tool & Die, Pipeline, etc. Some of these ISPs provide a graphical front-end to the internet, while others (Software Tool & Die) give you a Unix prompt. Typical connection speeds range from 9600-14,400, although an increasing number of ISPs are offering 28.8 connections. Pipeline, Netcom and AOL all now offer 28.8 connections, although you may not always get one.

SLIP/PPP connections give you enhanced graphics capabilities, although the installation and usage of the communications software may be more complex. SLIP/PPP typically runs over a modem as well.

As it is an outside service, access to an ISP runs $5 to $20 per month. Individual message units typically are not charged for, although CompuServe still charges $.15 for email to the internet.

Many companies now have full internet connection so tcp/ip connections are available. This latter form of connecting allows significantly higher throughput and lower cost, although the initial installation is more difficult. It involves installing additional software that allows your computer to communicate using the tcp/ip protocol of the internet. In essence, your computer becomes a node on the internet.

This latter form of connecting makes access significantly easier. On the PC, a variety of software is installed that each provides a specific utility, including:

World Wide Web

The World Wide Web is the graphical "section" of the internet. Most closely resembling the printed page, web sites use a standard document language (HTML, or Hypertext Markup Language) to display information, graphics, and to provide access to other files and sites.

Information provided on web sites run the gamut from the purely entertaining ( to marketing, product announcements, copies of press releases, lists of distribution channel partners, sales offices, product specs, etc.

Search Engines

If you're interested in finding out something about IBM, for instance, bring up your browser and type in what you'd guess to be IBM's URL (uniform resource locator).

In fact, IBM and many other companies have made it quite simple to find them, using the above nomenclature. Unfortunately, not all companies can be quite so easily found. There are a variety of search engines that will help you to find things.

IBM, Compaq, Dell, Sybase, ATT, Oracle, and many other companies can be easily found. And many will provide links to other companies too.

There are a variety of search engines, readily available, to assist you in finding information on the internet. These include:

Just pull up one of these search engines, type in the topic or string you're trying to find, and the sources will be displayed on your browser.

Acronym Dictionary

Since the internet was originally based on ascii communication, and mostly the typed word, a number of typing shortcuts have become quite broadly used. A few of these, listed below, refer to specific emotions, as opposed to word shortcuts. For instance, if I wanted to end a statement with a grin, to show that I was being humorous, I'd end it like this <g>. Or if what I wrote was exceedingly funny, I'd be <ROFL>

If you don't want to be perceived as a real newbie (a person new to the internet), use one or two of these judiciously in each message where appropriate. But try to avoid using them on your children's birthday cards, or you'll look like a real geek! ;-)

FWIW, these are just a few of the many available, and as more people get online, new ones are added daily.

Popular net.abbreviations
AE In Any Event
BTFM Beats the Funk out of Me 
BTW By the way
FM Fine Magic
FWIW For what it's worth
FYI For Your Information
FUA Frequently Used Acronyms 
IITYWTMWYBMAD If I Tell You What This Means Will You Buy Me A Drink?
IAE In any event
IANAL I Am Not A Lawyer, also IANA... such as CPA 
IMO In my opinion
IMHO In my humble opinion
IMCO In my considered opinion 
IOW In other words
NFW No [bleeping] Way
NRN No Reply Necessary
OTOH On the other hand
PITA Pain in the ass
ROFL Rolling on floor laughing.
RSN Real Soon Now [which may be a long time coming] 
RTFM Read the Fine(?) manual
SNAFU Situation Normal: All [bleeped] Up 
SITD Still in the dark
TANSTAAFL There Ain't No Such Thing As A Free lunch
TIA Thanks In Advance (also AtDhVaAnNkCsE) 
TIC Tongue in cheek
TLA Three Letter Acronym (such as this)
YMMV Your Mileage may vary

Smiley Dictionary

Like prehistoric cave dwellers, the devotees of electronic bulletin-boards and "e-mail" have struggled to find a new way to express themselves. Wall painting would not work. Words, it seems, are not enough. Inarticulate sounds cannot be displayed on screens. To make their messages feel more like personal contact, they have hit on using the punctuation marks on an ordinary keyboard in order to pull faces at each other. To read these signs, you have to put your head on your left shoulder.

The basic unit is:


the "smiley", a standard smiling face. In context, this can mean "I'm happy to hear from you", or other pleasantries. The smiley can also wink:


or frown:


among other things. The language can express many things about the user's appearance:

8-) :-{) :-Q @:-)

These signs mean, respectively, that the user wears sunglasses, has a moustache, smokes, wears a turban. The smiley can also indicate some subtleties of mood and response:

:-D :-/ :-e :-7 :-X

These mean that he is laughing, is skeptical, is disappointed, is wry, is keeping his lips sealed.

The Unofficial Smilie Dictionary

:-) Your basic smilie. This smilie is used to inflect a sarcastic or joking statement since we can't hear voice inflection over Unix.
;-) Winky smilie. User just made a flirtatious and/or sarcastic remark. More of a "don't hit me for what I just said" smilie.
:-( Frowning smilie. User did not like that last statement or is upset or depressed about something.
:-I Indifferent smilie. Better than a Frowning smilie but not quite as good as a happy smilie
:-> User just made a really biting sarcastic remark. Worse than a :-)

Many of the signs (perhaps the majority in use on America's biggest computer networks) are simply absurd fun, verging on the unintelligible:

:-F *:o) +-:-) @=

The user is a buck-toothed vampire with one tooth missing, is a clown, holds religious office, is pro-nuclear. Now you know what electronic mail is used for.

Somewhat less common smilies:

(-: User is left handed

%-) User has been staring at a green screen for 15 hours straight

:*) User is drunk

[:] User is a robot

8-) User is wearing sunglasses

B:-) Sunglasses on head

:B) User is nearsighted and wears half glasses on nose

::-) User wears normal glasses

(:-) User is Jewish

B-) User wears horn-rimmed glasses

:-{) User has a mustache

:-{) User wears lipstick

{:-) User wears a toupee

}:-( Toupee in an updraft

:-[ User is a Vampire

:-E Bucktoothed vampire

:-F Bucktoothed vampire with one tooth missing

:-7 User just made a wry statement

:-* User just ate something sour

:-)~ User drools

:-~) User has a cold

:'-( User is crying

:'-) User is so happy, s/he is crying

:-@ User is screaming

:-# User wears braces

:^) User has a broken nose

:v) User has a broken nose, but it's the other way

:_) User's nose is sliding off of his face

&:-) User is having a bad hair day

:<) User is from an Ivy League School

:-& User is tongue tied.

=:-) User is a hosehead

-:-) User is a punk rocker

-:-( (real punk rockers don't smile)

:=) User has two noses

+-:-) User is the Pope or holds some other religious office

`:-) User shaved one of his eyebrows off this morning

,:-) Same thing...other side

|-I User is asleep

|-O User is yawning/snoring

:-Q User is a smoker

:-? User smokes a pipe

O-) Megaton Man On Patrol! (or else, user is a scuba diver)

O :-) User is an angel (at heart, at least)

:-P Nyahhhh!

:-S User just made an incoherent statement

:-D User is laughing (at you!)

:-X User's lips are sealed

:-C User is really bummed

:-/ User is skeptical

C=:-) User is a chef

@= User is pro-nuclear war

*<:-) User is wearing a Santa Claus Hat

:-o Uh oh!

(8-o It's Mr. Bill!

*:o) And Bozo the Clown!

3:] Pet smilie

3:[ Mean Pet smilie

d8= Your pet beaver is wearing goggles and a hard hat.

E-:-) User is a Ham radio operator

:-9 User is licking his/her lips

%-6 User is braindead

[:-) User is wearing a walkman

(:I User is an egghead

<:-I User is a dunce

K:P User is a little kid with a propeller beanie

@:-) User is wearing a turban

:-0 No Yelling! (Quiet Lab)

:-: Mutant Smilie

The invisible smilie

.-) User only has one eye

,-) Ditto...but he's winking

X-( User just died

8 :-) User is a wizard

C=}>;*{)) Mega-Smilie... A drunk, devilish chef with a toupee in an updraft,

a mustache, and a double chin

Note: A lot of these can be typed without noses to make midget smilies.

Library Resources

The following is a sampling of the books available in your local library or bookstore:

The Complete Idiot's Guide to Usenet Newsgroups

McFedries, Paul

The E-mail Companion - Communicating Effectively via the Internet and Other Global Networks

Quarterman, John S.

Finding It on the Internet - The essential guide to Archie, Veronica, Gopher, WAIS, WWW (Including Mosaic), and Other Search and Browsing Tools

Gilster, Paul

Internet Mailing Lists

Hardie, Edward T.L., Editor

The Internet for Dummies

Levine, John R.


The Internet for Macs for Dummies

Seiter, Charles

The Internet Guide for New Users

Dern, Daniel P.

(Highly recommended)

The Internet White Pages

McBride, James S.

The Internet Yellow Pages

Hahn, Harley

net.speak - The Internet Dictionary

Fahey, Tom

The Virtual Community - Homesteading on the Electronic Frontier

Rheingold, Howard

(highly recommended)

The Whole Earth Online Almanac

Rittner, Don

The Whole Internet User's Guide and Catalog

Krol, Ed

(highly recommended)

Zen and the Art of the Internet - A Beginner's Guide

Kehoe, Brendan P.