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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
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It seems that a day doesn't pass that our collective eMail boxes are not groaning under the weight of crude exhortations for us to join the growing legion of "spammers".
We have no real problem with the concept of communicating with large numbers of people simultaneously via eMail. After all, it is the flexibility and the "instant" nature of eMail communication which has resulted in its stupendous growth over the past few years.
However, there is a Grand Canyon of difference between "spamming" a couple of million innocents and communicating with large numbers of people with whom one has already established a relationship.
Which is why we like NetMailer. This is a database-driven "send" engine, which is dependent upon a pre-existing relationship between sender and recipient.
In essence, it allows you to customize messages across sub-sets of your eMail contacts database, and avoids the introduction of a string of "cc:'s" in the header of each mail.
The NetMailer site is full of detailed information about this handy little app, and we were heartened to notice a forceful piece about the need to use it responsibly.
NetMailer costs a tad under $50, and is available from most software retailers.
-- John Blower
Web Page Design for DesignersWeb Page Design for Designers is an excellent resource written and designed by Joe Gillespie and sponsored by Pixel Productions.
It offers web site design information and advice to those who are already familiar with HTML.
This site's main focus is on how to obtain an optimal design that is sensitive to both multiple platforms and screen sizes. Issues discussed include web page size, fonts, graphics and color palettes, and navigation.
Users can download tools such as a web page ruler, color palettes, and more. Web Page Design for Designers also contains a well-rounded listing of other resources.
One of the most onerous aspects of most websites is the use of "fat" graphics.
You know the ones - they take ages to download, and rarely add anything to the page's message. Indeed, their inclusion seems to be based on the proposition "I can - therefore I will".
Of course, there's a knack to making "skinny" graphics. It requires a knowledge of graphics formats, the legendary 256 colors and how many bits per pixel you can get away with without a grotesque diminution in quality (it's usually fewer than you think...)
There's also the question of whether the images you want to use are strictly necessary....
If you don't know how to make "skinny" graphics (or simply have neither the time nor inclination), Site Speed may well be checking out.
It's a little application - modestly priced at $19 - which compresses images by trimming the "fat", whilst retaining quality suitable for the medium. The whole package includes:
The site includes some demonstrations of the utility at work, which we found quite impressive, although we thought some of the designs themselves left something to be desired... --John Blower
Christopher Wilkes, under the nom-de-plume (or perhaps that should be nom-de-guerre) RageBoy, is the producer, editor, features writer, cook and chief bottlewasher for EGR. Which stands for Entropy Gradient Reversals...
There are a number of things we like about this site. The first is the quality and insight of RageBoy's rants about the new medium. We like his style.
His article for msn, Secrets of Shameless Self-Promotion, is full of commonsensical and effective tips and tricks as to how to promote your site.
And we found The Power of Stupidity - Part Two by Giancarlo Livraghi (whose background includes an impressive career in conventional advertising, and who happens to be one of the founders, and the first chairman, of ALCEI - Electronic Frontiers Italy) an intriguing philosophical treatise.
But what we liked best of all was the fact that the site breaks all the rules of conventionally "good" site design and architecture. Mixed fonts and colors, animation, an endlessly scrolling homepage, screeds of unbroken text and so on and so forth.
And yet we continued to wade through it.
Simple. Great content.
We'll be back to this one time and time again. In fact, we've become the 1,718th subscriber...--John Blower
Software Development Associates "develops, publishes and markets Internet commerce products designed for non-technical users."
They're latest product out of the trap is called "Easy-Catalog". It's aimed at Web storefront proprietors who want a professional looking "store", but perhaps don't have the budget to hire a professional for a custom site, or have the time or expertise to do it themselves.
The concept is quite simple. Easy-Catalog is based on a "shop" model. The on-line catalog represents a business' "shop". Shops have one or more departments where products are displayed. The application generates a "shop page", a number of "department" pages and a further number of individual "product" pages.
In essence, it's a series of templates where you fill in the gaps with the appropriate images and text, and voila! - a ready-made website!
Regular readers will be aware that we are firmly of the opinion that, in the New Medium, "Content is King". We are fearful that the addition of an app such as Easy-Catalog, in untutored and unsophisticated hands, will simply add to the garbage with which the Web is cluttered.
Perhaps the answer is to hire a couple of specialists -- a copywriter and an image specialist perhaps -- to work with you and the application.
Easy-Catalog has quite a complicated pricing structure covering a range of options. The most basic level, comprising the app, 30 days of maintenance and unlimited Internet technical support costs $349.
The site is easy to navigate and admirably upfront about what you get and how much it costs.
But we wish they'd get rid of all those annoying non-breaking spaces...-- John Blower
Take a look at the Archives. We've indexed all the past issues with topic pointers.
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