Pretty sites (not flash, java, etc.) but good looking sites are essential in my opinion. I hate those 90s sites that look horrible - I stay away from these sites as a consumer unless I am desperate for a product I cannot find elsewhere. Even if the price is lower I just don't trust these sites - if they are too lazy to update their web site then how do they run their business? The IT guy who laughed in a previous message is not the guy I would go to for advice. You can have a good looking site and still be search engine food.