SAN FRANCISCO -- A new, harsher eye looked upon the presenting companies on the opening day of the

Robertson Stephens Internet Conference

here Tuesday. It's a little bit harder to shrug off those awkward business models than it was in February and March, during the

Nasdaq's

unbridled climb. (

TSC

also wrote about B2B

presentations Tuesday. For a conference calendar,

click here.)

Note to marketing: Bill Larson,

Network Associates

(NETA)

CEO, plays a mean game of charades. During his presentation, Larson was stuck gesturing and offering a "sounds like" comparison for many of his company's products, because of their complexity or low profile.

First, Larson detailed what a network Sniffer actual does. (It sniffs the network, of course, for trouble, choke points, optimization and such.) Then he combed through an under-exploited possibility for Network Associates' PGP encryption products, which began life as an email focused product. "One-third of the market in PGP is for e-business services," he said. "And it has not been marketed."

He meant that in a positive way.

Network Associates'

Magic Solutions

got a similar treatment in Larson's description of its potential to enhance vendors' interactions with customers. "Magic is the largest business in the e-services industry, and no one's ever heard of it."

TST Recommends

Hopefully Larson can just as easily detail what the market

does

understand about Network Associates.

Now be nice.

Quest Software

(QSFT)

CEO Vinny Smith was proud to boast of his 75 customers that bought $100,000 software packages and five that bought $1 million packages to run on top of their databases. With 135% year-over-year revenue growth for the first half of 2000, $250 million in cash and 250 sales people, what's not to brag about? But remember, be kind to your host. No need to mention that Robertson Stephens analyst Marshall Senk signed on to be your vice president of marketing.

Define "a lot."

RealNetworks

(RNWK) - Get Report

CFO Paul Bialek blasted the crowd out of its late-afternoon snooze with a speaker-exploding

X-Men

clip. Then he titillated the crowd with a hush-hush description of RealNetworks' recent deal with

AOL

(AOL)

to build a broadcast center based on RealNetworks' technology.

AOL says it's going to be the largest broadcast center on the Web, and Bialek quietly agreed, "We know a little bit about it, and we don't dispute that claim. It's going to be huge."

And so will RealNetworks, if it can answer one big question -- "We've got 140 million consumers, what do we do with them?" Bialek asked. "I don't know, but it's going to be a lot."