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Building Electronic Relationships 10

texts, courses, training, and consultation. There are common sense approaches

that can guide interaction with your digital publics (Sherwin, 1998).

PR practitioners have sought for ways to blast themselves and their

clients into cyberspace. High-tech equipment is one cost; site maintenance

and connection fees are others. Some commercial providers offer the same

type of communication services that are found on the Internet. PR firms

entering this arena should have a sizeable volume of clients before launching

an independent web site (Ross, 1995).

Monitor services are also available, i.e., what is being said about your

company on the Internet. Web sites, chat rooms, listservs, and message boards

are just some of the avenues for such monitorable information. New-media

relations firms can track what people are saying about their clients in the

electronic world. Many firms also offer web site development and

maintenance (Strout, 2000).

The Internet provides new opportunities to augment traditional public

relations efforts. An identical image can be communicated to every

stakeholder group, communicating a unified theme. Commerce is increasingly

conducted electronically, so the PR web site can go a long way in defining

image with many stakeholders. Firms should take advantage of the

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