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Hall Of Fame8 Corners of ECommerce
industry is on
the verge of
into a thousand
fragments due to
the knowledge explosion
and the proliferation
of new technologies.
There are no
more grand theories
that hold sway
over the entire
It's better to
All material on this
Make Mine a Large One!
I've never much cared for displaying banner ads myself. After all, one spends a lot of time, effort and money publicizing one's site, only to stick a banner ad on it which immediately whisks a visitor off to another one. A little perverse, don't you think? And what of their effectiveness? According to Cyberatlas the average "click through rate" is 2.11%. Which is either pretty good or pretty bad, depending on where you stand... You can find this statistical gem and many more at the "Web In Perspective" section of the Cyberatlas site, which also contains a survey of the effectiveness of banner ads - like what works and what doesn't. The site is stuffed full of statistical information, but, inexplicably, their reporting of trends stops short on November 20, 1996. It brings a smile to my jaded English face to be able to recommend the Broadcaster, a UK-based site-submission service as an alternative to Postmaster and Submit It!. Broadcaster will submit your URL to 200 search engines and directories - including the Warsaw Institute of Technology link site (hey! you never know...) - and, on payment of 50 quid (about $80 depending on where you change your money), will resubmit your URL to new and existing directories and search engines to a maximum of 500 for a period of a year. Their interface is straightforward and easy to use. I tried it out, and haven't yet received any confirming mail from any search engines. But it's only been 12 hours... --John Blower
Look, Ma! No CGI!
The OakNet News is a "Web magazine and free emailed newsletter published to bring Web site owners a steady supply of Web site construction tips, software reports, Web technology reviews, Internet marketing info and more".
Unfortunately, my browser crashed on the three occasions when I tried to access the site, but not before I had had the opportunity to register to receive their occasional newsletter.
I was even able to request copies of previous issues, which were dispatched to me in .zip format with commendable alacrity. I thoroughly recommend a visit to their site (be warned!) and a subscription to their newsletter.
In Issue 11, I found an article on i-Depth. The i-Depth service offers dial-up Web publishers an easy affordable way to create features like rotating images (you see a new image each time the page is loaded), a newsgroup-like forum, guestbook, hit counter, text searches and form processing. i-Depth will be releasing new features like online shopping systems soon. You create and edit all these services by using forms at the i-Depth Web site.
You can open a free account for a week so you can try out all the services before signing up. i-Depth offers a 30 day money back guarantee as well. Current pricing for their services is approximately $3 per function per month with a $10 minimum.
This seems like a pretty good deal, although it's fair to point out that some "business-only" servers are offering the same scripts as part of their service. --John Blower
Whose Lingua Franca?
Of the world's population of about 5.8 billion (and rising - daily), approximately 450 million use English as their primary means of communication.
The World Wide Web currently has a severe bias toward English and the western-european writing system. This is inevitable, given the proliferation of high-technology and Web activity originating in the United States.
However, modern business, research, and interpersonal communication is increasingly conducted in other writing systems and languages. After all, the other 5.35 billion people on the planet must be doing SOMETHING in the areas of trade, commerce and communication amongst themselves and with each other.
And as Web technology becomes cheaper, more accessible and widespread throughout the world, those (non-English speaking) people will be using the Web in increasing numbers.
Well, the Chinese masses will not be migrating to the Web en masse anytime soon (although when Hong Kong is turned over, this process will accelerate). But when they do, we are looking at the last mass market in the known universe.
If you have a product or service which is not culturally or linguistically specific, you may want to consider (for the medium- to long-term) the benefits of a multilingual website. This will allow you to target and reach sections of the world's population for whom English is not a first language.
As a starting point, I strongly recommend a visit to Babel & emdash. It has links to the ISO (International Standards Organisation) "charsets" (or codes) for a multitude of languages other than English, along with tips and hints on how to create a multi-lingual site.
Alis, incidentally, produces a multi-lingual browser, Tango, whi ch, according to their claims, allows you to browse the Web in 90 languages.
Putting their money where their mouths are? --John Blower
I recently mentioned a product called "Submission Wizard" in this column, noting that I had been unable to test it as it was not available for the Mac.
Dafyd Martindale HAS tested the product and has this to say:
"I thought you'd like to know that the Submission Wizard sounds like a good idea (and is a good idea, come to that) but our experience with the current version of the product is that the implementation leaves quite a lot to be desired.
The program takes ages to download, then even longer to update itself the first time it's run - and users then discover (after it's finally operational) that most of the sites it will submit your URL to are free-for-all lists visited by one man (and perhaps his dog) every week - probably the most useless places to be listed.
Worse, the Submission Wizard does *not* submit your site to all 500 places automatically. At least *half* the sites in its files require that you carry out a manual submission operation.
The original name of this product was Exploit and several of its agents around the world are heavily involved in the direct marketing industry selling very second-rate products and reports to gullible consumers.
And suspiciously - unless they've changed it since we last looked - the UK head office site does not list who the heck the people behind Exploit really are or where they're located - just where to send money to.
The product does do (more or less) what it claims to do - but knowledgeable site marketers will quickly recognise that they could get far better results paying $49 to access Entity for a month and do the same there for less money, just as much work, but a far higher quality of sites..." Thank you Dafyd. --John Blower
Are Your Labels Up To Scratch?
It's happened to us all. You visit a site, click on an internal link labelled, for example, "Judges Approval" (sic) at a site which appears to be about bowling, only to find yourself confronted by a list of ringing endorsements of a lawyer by a convocation of California Superior Court judges.
A clear case of inappropriate labelling.
The need for appropriate labels, and how to arrive at a consistent labelling scheme is admirable summed up in an article by Samantha Bailey at the Web Architect site.
The Web Architect, in fact, is part of the Web Review site. It appears to be a resource for a whole range of issues, ranging from "design" through "technology" to "programming" and "business".
The site itself is aesthetically attractive and easy to navigate - even though it does use the dreaded "frames"...
Video on the Web seems to consist of a long wait for a succession of jerky images. This is due to the way that data is transferred over the web, in "packets".
Nonetheless, a lot of time, money, energy and effort is being expended to make video-viewing on the Web a seamless experience.
IMHO, this is a waste of time, for two reasons.
Firstly, as long as the majority of users are using existing protocols for data transfer, the current situation will prevail. Cable modems will, in time, become the norm. Only then will web video become viable.
Secondly, most people have access to a full-motion, full-color, stereo video player, available in the comfort and safety of their own homes at the flick of a switch.
It's called a television. --John Blower
Take a look at the Archives. We've indexed all the past issues with topic pointers.
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