RERMAG

Web Worthy

Whether you're a Web novice or expert, you probably have had experience accessing a manufacturers' home page for product information so you can zero in on the equipment you want to buy or rent. But while most of these equipment Web sites successfully dish up your typical dose of product how-tos, industry-related links and ordering information, not many deliver much else. RER spotted some more interesting, slightly interactive Web sites and test-drove some of them to see what's Web-worthy and what's not.

www.hobartwelders.com

Chat as much as you want, as long as it's about welding. Originally intended to be an online forum for the company's technical support staff to answer product queries, the site's “Welding Talk” feature has become a big hit among welding professionals, averaging 25 to 35 hits a day. Just don't let the home page's design bother you, with its two-color format and glaring images. Focus instead on its straight-up talk about welding products, projects, applications and a helpful welding glossary.

www.hitachi.com/powertools

A no-fuss, sharp-looking Web site that starts out small and simple but, with every click, keeps opening up to reams of product information, pictures and applications. Printing downloadable machine guides is hassle-free. Very user-friendly, some of the product descriptions include excerpts of product reviews from titles such as Popular Woodworking and Tools of the Trade. If those reasons don't get your fingers clicking, maybe this will: Web users can enter online for the company's “Win a Hitachi Tool” monthly drawing. Good luck!

www.atlascopco.com

No need for translators here. The designers of Atlas Copco's home page have literally taken customer service to a whole new level. The site delivers product, service and dealer information in its customers' native language, whether it's Japanese, German or French, up to 17 languages in all and with 10 more planned by year's end. This easy-to-use site is loaded with information such as product specs and pictures and contact numbers for local dealerships.

If you have a Web-worthy site of a rental center, manufacturer or rental portal, or find one that is particularly unique, helpful or still needs improvement, let us know. Contact Brandey Smith at [email protected].

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