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Re: USAV Rules not on the web -- why it makes no sense

On the internet discussion forum/USENET newsgroup, (L. Ravi Narasimhan)
> Taken together, I think that gives grounds for optimism about
> rulebooks and other relevant documents to be made available on-line.
> There should clearly be a concern about the effect on sales, but, the
> technical issues about online publishing/intellectual property are
> much farther along now than they were in '96.   e.g. PDF files can be
> password locked and electronic watermarks can be applied to documents.
> I addressed this issue in my usual fashion: Jumping ugly on our
> net.pals John Kessel and Michael Bertz 

John and I have discussed this before.  As I understand it, USAV rules
haven't been made available on-line because the AVCA/Volleyball
Informational Products (VIP) actually thinks that such a site would
hurt rulebook sales.

Have they not yet considered the tremendous marketing potential
they're missing?  On the web, if you give something away for free, you
quickly attract an whom you can market other things that
aren't free.  That's why search engines like Yahoo! and Lycos exist
and are making profits!  That's why free email houses like hotmail
exist.  That's why DejaNews exists.  The list goes on....

The AVCA has something people really want on the web--USA Volleyball

I get about 1000 hits/month on my meager rules page at and 80% of those hits come from
people in the USA domains looking for "volleyball rules" via the major
search engines.  I bet 95% of those folks don't own a single
rulebook....and wouldn't buy one unless they knew how inexpensive it
is to buy one.  Since I'm interested in improving the game by having
more people know the rules, I plug their rulebook to death...for free.

I'd be willing to bet that fewer than 5% of all volleyball-playing
internet users have ever heard of VIP or the AVCA, much less visited
their web site or viewed their list of publications.  If the AVCA were
to offer the USA Volleyball rules for free on a web site, however, not
only would rulebook sales increase (the small format is convenient,
and you can't take a web browser to the beach yet!!), their catalog of
other publications would be seen by a huge new audience.

It doesn't take an MBA or even a single marketing class to figure this
one out.   It's a no-brainer.  Putting the USAV rules on the web for
free in the right fashion will increase not only rulebook sales, but
sales of the entire AVCA/VIP product catalog.  

Players, please direct your opinions on this  to:

    Regina Sullivan
    Director of Projects and Programs
    Volleyball Informational Products
    1227 Lake Plaza Drive, Suite B
    Colorado Springs, CO  80906
    719-576-7777, x107, 719-576-7778 (fax)

Below is a letter I sent to her last year around this time.  The
response I eventually received was essentially "We'll look into it."
I've not heard anything since.

Date: Aug 05, 1997
From: Todd <>
Subject: USAV Rule Book on the web??

To whom it may concern,

As a referee and frequent advocate of USA Volleyball rules on the
internet newsgroup, I am curious why USAV rules
and rules interpretations have not been released on the world wide web
as the FIVB and AVP have allowed.

It's a little embarrassing as a USAV referee to see that the ruling
organization that I represent has not embraced this technology as an
opportunity to increase USAV's visibility as _the_ sanctioning body
for volleyball rules in the USA.  As often as I encourage people to
purchase a USA Volleyball rule book, it's sad that I cannot refer
people to the rules on-line.

I would hope that there isn't a myopic executive in the USAV or VIP
who thinks that publishing the rules for free would hurt rule book
sales, when in fact the publicity of such an electronic publication
would likely double the sales of the printed books.

If such a sales-decreasing "fear" exists, this fear is wrong-headed.
I find that an overwhelming percentage of volleyball players don't
even know where or how to get a rule book.  I'd bet that 90% don't
even know what USA Volleyball is, much less who publishes their rule
book.  Furthermore, there is an increasing number of players are
extremely literate of the Internet yet are still unaware how/where to
purchase a rule book.

Putting the rules on the web would help your business and help the
game of volleyball.  Depending on how the web site was set up, the
on-line rules could be a fine reference tool (including a search
engine, a separate web page for each major rule, perhaps advertisement
banners at the top for how to order your own copy of the printed
rules, maybe even on-line sales of said information products), yet
inconvenient for printing.  After all, who wants to lug around a stack
of individual 8.5x11" paper printouts with advertisements on it in
their volleyball bag?

No one has computers on the volleyball court, hence no one will _not_
buying your rule book just because you publish the rules for free on
the web.  However, by using a complete rules web site to market the
printed books, you will increase rule book sales, increase the
visibility of USA Volleyball, and help make players more literate of
the rules.  It's good for business.  It's good for the game.

I am interested in your feedback.  I would like to know the real
reason I cannot find the USA Volleyball rules and interpretations on
the net while every other major ruling body has made their rules

Best Regards,
               Todd H
USAV Regional Referee, Great Lakes Region, Palatine, IL
Todd's Volleyball Referee Page

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