Date: Fri May 01 1998 - 10:34:55 PDT

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Date: Fri, 1 May 1998 10:34:55 -0700
Subject: RE: COTW
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I must agree with Tim's comments that the Call of the Wind Website is the
one site I mention most when speaking of useful applications of web
technology. I use it as my home site during the summer and it is the one
site where I actually look at the advertisements (and purchased goods from
the advertisements). However, it does not look like the site visits and
advertising revenues are making it viable economically - what a shame.
This is a great site, how are we supposed to sign up for the initial
special offer and chip in some bucks to keep this going (and hopefully get
Jim out of the garage some day)?


"Tim Roberts" <> on 05/01/98 12:22:11 AM

Please respond to

To: Multiple recipients of list <>
cc: (D. Valentine/HQ/3Com)
Subject: RE: COTW

Windcall should be commended for having created a truly fantastic website.
I work in the web industry, and whenever the topic of 'functional websites'
comes up, I use as an example of someone who has created a
USEFUL website! I have been amazed at how long this service was provided
free, especially considering it quasi-competes with the pager business. I
am sad to see the free service go, but will be happy to pay for using it
I may just get the entire pager service).

Thanks to Jim and David. I can't even remember what windsurfing was like
before they existed! (You mean I have to drive to the water to find out if
it is windy???!!!!!)

Tim Roberts

-----Original Message-----
From: [] On
Of David St. John
Sent: Thursday, April 30, 1998 11:36 PM
To: Multiple recipients of list
Subject: Re: COTW

Hi Francois,

>Too bad we can not get more frequent informations, otherwise we
>could have the same as cotw for free.

The problem is that good wind information is NOT free. It takes a lot of
work. You must know this from the outstanding job you've done with your
own website. Ken Poulton's report is another example of great work. But
don't forget that a lot of Ken's data comes from Jim Martin
(Call of the Wind's president and only full-time employee) has spent 5
years building a system of wind sensors while living in a garage -

When I proposed putting his data on the web three years ago, I told him I'd
only do it if we kept the site free. He was worried that giving it away
would eat into his pager business. At the time, when not many people were
on the web, I argued successfully with him that it was one thing to get
wind reports on your desk, and quite another to get them in you pocket. So
the pager had value over and above the website. I still believe that. But
now, as more and more people have fast access to the web from home and
work, I think he might be right. Why buy a pager when you can get the
information for free on the web?

I had hoped that as the web matured we'd eventually render that point moot,
and be able to support the site and the business with advertising revenue
alone. Following that hope, I've built and maintained the website at an
average of 10 hours a week, for two and a half years, virtually for no
monetary compensation (okay, Jim gives me free pager service), while I
worked more than full-time at a regular job. I'm not complaining, I love
it! I've pulled many an all-nighter writing and programming for

And I've pounded the pavement trying to drum up sponsorship for the site,
with very marginal success. It's becoming clear that a TV-like, pure
advertising model does not work for most websites (unless you're Yahoo!),
and many are going to a more magazine-like/cable-TV model: charge a little
for subscriptions. That's the route we're taking as well.

Your BWR website has some great information and great graphics! More power
to you if you can provide it for free.

>Do you now how delayed they plan to be ?

The free reports will probably be delayed 3 hours, although we're still
discussing that.

We are truly trying to make the real-time wind reports as accessible as
possible and have tried to set the rates as reasonably as we can. We're
charging $9 a month, or $49 for six months (about the length of the Bay
Area season). $79 for the whole year. As Nick Rayner pointed out, the $25
for he rest of this year is a "charter member", "never-to-be-repeated"
deal. We don't expect to get rich this way - just provide a service and be
reasonably compensated for that service. If I could have food in my
fridge, my bills paid, and my kids sent to college, I'd run the site for
nothing in a heartbeat!

Whew, that was a lot of words. There are more, actually, in the form of an
open letter from Jim Martin and myself to users, at (if anyone else has
some thoughts on this stuff, you can add them to that page)



     v /| --- David St. John
              v / | --- Call of the Wind
                     /o_/ ---
  ^~^~^~^~^~^~^~^~ _/_X_ ^~^~^~^~^

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