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Web Development Articles
(April 2001)

KISS Your Customers If You Want Them Back (ClickZ, April 30th)
KISS = Keep It Simple Stupid. You've heard it before, but many web designers and publishers seem to have forgotten that simplicity of usability is far mor effective than a flashy site that is a frustrating to navigate. This article presents several tips regarding the planning, designing and optimization of your website.

Pump Up the Volume with Copy That Sells (ClickZ, April 30th)
This feature presents a few tips to guide email marketers in devising a credible and audience-centric style of writing.

Companies Respond Too Late to Customer E-Mail (Newsbytes, April 30th)
With more and more companies moving part or all of their sales and support operations online, providing an email-based contact line is a great way to improve the efficiency of their customer relationship management. The problem is, a large proportion of the businesses who offer email support do not respond to inquiries in a timely fashion, if at all, according to a report issued by Jupiter Media Metrix.

Akamai, Oracle Team on Content Delivery (InfoWorld, April 30th)
Two of the leading data storage, manipulation and delivery firms have teamed up to create what they hope will become a standard markup language for the delivery of dynamic web content.

The Web Grows Up (TheStandard, April 29th)
When web usage indicators revealed that time spent online declined for the first time in the web's history late last year, naysayers suggested that this was a sign of the medium's slow decline. Despite this, usage during March of this year was higher than ever. This suggests that web usage has reached critical mass, which means that the precipitous rate of adoption has slowed, and usage is now levelling off, while revealing seasonal variances of the type seen in other media usage.

Land Rush is Near for .info and .biz (internet.com, April 27th)
Already much-delayed, the new range of ICANN-approved TLDs are growing ever-nearer to launch.

The Race for the Games Begins (The Standard, April 27th)
With former development partner Quokka Sports moments away from filing for bankruptcy, NBC and the Salt Lake Olympic Committee are actively seeking a new outfit to develop and manage a series of websites related to the 2002 games.

Cogent to Speed Up (OpticallyNeteworked.com, April 24th)
Anticipation for Cogent's next-generation optical network has been so high that the company recently made the decision to dramatically increase the size of their backbone. Already, Cogent is offering bandwidth at far more affordable rates than competing ISPs, which has the web hosting community excited about their product range.

E-Commerce Enters Age of Reason (E-Commerce Times, April 25th)
Seven years into the development of the Web as a commercial vehicle, the medium has matured into one that respects intellectual property and user privacy. These developments, coupled with increased security and greater usage, are positive indicators for the future of e-commerce.

E-Marketing on a Shoestring (ClickZ, April 25th)
This article gives a quick guide to some essential guerilla marketing techniques for the budget-conscious publisher.

Portals: Which is The Weakest Link? (ClickZ, April 25th)
A humorous analysis of the aftermath of the battle for web portal dominance, and the fallout of the tech crash. Read more about the latest round of layoffs within Excite@Home's various media divisions here.

Global E-Commerce Conduct Code Discussed (eMarketer, April 25th)
In an effort to offer consumers greater comfort, and to simplify the standardization of e-commerce codes of conduct, a group comprising of the Better Business Bureau and two European business associations have met to discuss the formulation of a business ethics and complaint resolution format that would be relevant throughout the world.

Site Development Platform Allows You to Write Once, Deliver Anywhere (Internet Product Watch, April 25th)
The ABYAN IDE (Internet Development Environment) is an advanced development platform that works unlike any other. Centered around the builind of page components ("Active WebCells"), the system allows for flexible layouts, dynamic delivery and multi-format serving such that users of both wired and wireless devices receive customized versions of the content.

Sites Aren't Ready for E-Business Explosion (CNET News.com, April 24th)
While most analysts agree that B2C ventures are going to continue seeing significant growth throughout the next five years, many doubt the ability of e-commerce sites to handle the increases in traffic and transactions. Be prepared.

Online Shopping Carts Abandoned: Why? (TheStar.com, April 23rd)
Attracting visitors to your site is not enough. In order for an e-commerce or affiliate-based venture to succeed, it must work increasinging the rate at which it converts visitors to customers. One aspect hindering this process is slow, confusing shopping cart software. The following article deals with this issue, while suggesting a few outsourced services that make the process smoother and simpler.

Consumers' Purchase-Decision Criteria (ClickZ, April 24th)
Whether they're shopping in the local mall, through catalogs or on the web, consumers go through similar thought processes before making a decision. Being aware of these factors makes web developers better-equipped to design an online shopping environment that satisfies a buyer's decision-making criteria.

The Davids of E-Commerce (BW Online, April 23rd)
While most of the VC and market-funded 'big-boys' of the internet landscape are either struggling, or have folded completely within the past 18 months, countless smaller niche operations are using their online presence to run profitable ventures...and none have found the need to purchase Superbowl spots!

Maverick Internet Name Seller in Deal With Juno (Boston Herald, April 23rd)
A recent deal with ISP Juno has increased the reach of New.net's alternative domain name extensions to a total of 40 million users. New.net offers variant virtual top level domains (TLDs) that work outside of the ICANN standard root system. These extensions include .xxx, .shop, .inc, .kids, .tech and others.

New Search Engine Spider Crawls Web (URLwire, April 23rd)
Rarely does a true spider-based search engine arise that shows promise. Aesop.com, released today, is one such promising entry. Read this article, and then submit your site today.

Understanding Online Message Dissemination (First Monday, April 20th)
This academic-style paper presents an analysis of the effectiveness of "Send-this-message-to-your-friend" (aka tell-a-friend) promotional methodology.

Domain Dispute Drags On (BBC News, April 20th)
ICANN remains the firing target of a large chunk of the internet community after keeping VeriSign in control of the lucrative .com domain name until 2007, and beyond (a lightyear in internet time). In return, VeriSign has turned over the rights to the .org domain and will give up .net oncve its contract expires in 2003. Worse still, the future of the .org domain, and the rights of its present domain holders is under debate.

Study Finds Consumers Want Basics (MSNBC, April 20th)
In a study whose results will please B2C e-commerce players who are presently considering cost-cutting strategies, market research firm Information Resources Inc. found that consumers are not interested in the bells and whistles offered by many e-commerce sites, but instead want simple sites that offer discounts, personalization and direct contact.

Baseball Site Almost Too Popular for Its Own Good (Salon.com, April 20th)
When the webmaster of Baseball-Reference.com received a write-up in Sports Illustrated, he saw his traffic increase to a level at which it was shut down (without notice) by host CommuniTech.net. The site is presently being transferred to a dedicated server, in a move that it being funded by the site's loyal visitors who have made donations to keep the site alive. This article makes for an interesting light read.

Serving Your Customers With Instant Messages (internet.com, April 18th)
With the popularity of instant messaging technologies on the rise, and companies increasing their focus on providing customer service online, many players are supporting the trend towards support departments offering their services in real-time through IM systems.

WSJ and Clickability Announce Online Partnership (Net-Ads, April 18th)
The Wall Street Journal's subscription-based online counterpart has employed the technology provided by Clickability to assist in virally marketing their web presence.

Be a Freelance Web Builder (CNET, April 17th)
Once upon a time, it seemed as though everyone with a tad of HTML knowledge could quit their day job to become a full-time web develop, and rake in the dough. Now that dotcom budgets have shrunken, and skilled tech workers are a dime a dozen, making it on your own takes planning, marketing and deep specialised knowledge. This guide from CNET outlines some tactics to follow, and some pitfalls to avoid, in your pursuit of dotcom dominance.

7 Lessons Learned From the Dot-Com Fallout (internet.com, April 17th)
They say that the best lessons are learned through failure. As unfortunate as it is, we in the internet biz do therefore have hundreds of valuable case studies of failure from which to learn. This article reveals a few key lessons derived from the decline of many former high-flyers during the past year.

WIPO Files Interim Report on Domain-Naming Policies (Newsbytes, April 16th)
In response to an ever-evolving intellectual property climate online, WIPO has released a 200-page interim report, the "Second World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) Internet Domain Name Process," that notes recommendations for how best to govern domain name disputes and registrations.

Coalition hopes to Get Net Sites Rated (JS Online, April 16th)
This article describes the past, present and future efforts in place that attempt to establish a standard system for rating web content according to various criteria, in much the same way that movies and games are rated.

Web Shoppers Like to be in Charge, Study Suggests (The Star, April 16th)
While some has praised the advances in technology that attempt to deduce visitor interests based on their prior activity at a particular site, a recent study by Accenture has suggested that users still prefer those sites whose customization options are manually selected by the user.

VeriSign to Acquire CyberCash for $20 Million (Newsbytes, April 16th)
When a major facilitator of online credit card processing filed for Chapter 11 last month, the nerves of its clients were put to the test. Following a round of bidding for the assets, though, internet giant VeriSign Inc has come out on top, ensuring the security of the company for the time being.

Digital Publishing Waste Costs $750 Billion Annually (Newsbytes, April 16th)
In the transition from a print-based publishing world to one in which digital distribution is key, companies have reportedly wasted hundreds of billions of dollars through operational inefficiencies. In order to smooth this and further transitions, the author of this article proposes that "all participants in the network publishing value chain - content, service and software providers, and device manufacturers - [unite] to facilitate the rapid development of a network publishing ecosystem."

It's Not Just a Website Anymore (ClickZ, April 14th)
In the early days of the web, few execs had a set vision for what their site was to acheive. This article explains the horror stories associated with those who hired flashy, expensive designers without first consulting with marketing folk. Websites vary from print ads, in that they aren't just visual hooks, but interactive fora designed to entice, inform and sell to one's target audience.

Safeguards and SSL: Keeping Your Financial Transactions Secure (Application Planet, April 12th)
This article presents a simple set of guidelines and information regarding different encryption and other data protection methods, as well as how best to apply these in order to protect your customers' personal details.

No Bots Allowed! (ZDNet, April 12th)
This article outlines the strengths and weaknesses of the Robots Exclusion Standard.

Mid-Sized ECommerce Websites Largely Profitable (eMarketer, April 12th)
ActivMedia Research has produced some very interesting fiures regarding the proportional relationships between website revenues and profitability. It found that of all groups, those sites that generated between $100,000 and $999,000 had the greatest success overall, with 61% of those properties already profitable. Smaller sites followed close behind, and led the survey in expectations to break even near-term.

Hefner Outlines Playboy's Print-to-Web Strategy (CNET News.com, April 11th)
Playboy CEO Christie Hefner has outlined the wisdom gained through her firm's transition from print to various other mediums in the past, while noting how print publishers can best take advantage of the web's strengths, without falling prey to its weaknesses - including an over-dependence on advertising to support original content.

iSyndicate.com Fires 50% Staff (Newsbytes, April 10th)
The company funded by such high-profile contributors as NBC and Microsoft, whose service linked content providers with content-hungry publishers has announced a significant round of layoffs, which it blames on the slow economy and the withdrawal of a second round of funding from one of their largest investors.

Is Google Ogling Yahoo's Crown? (CNET News.com, April 10th)
During the past 18 months, Google has grown from a tiny provider of search technology to an industry giant, delivering several million search results daily from its own website, while licensing its technology to some 130 other online portals (including leader Yahoo!). Now, the service whose main claim to fame is their bare-bones search approach, has slowly unveiled several portal-like features that suggest Google may be considering making the transition from search service to a destination that offers a suite of services that compete with the more established portals.

Fists Fly Between Web Hosting Firms (MSNBC, April 10th)
Following on from the announcement that the client database of hosting firm ADDR had been compromised by a computer criminal, with credit card details, usernames and passwords being stolen, a competing firm with a shady background began spamming ADDR customers in an attempt to solicit their business. The unethical firm in question, ExpertHosting, has responded to ADDR's criticisms of this practice by threatening legal action.

Net Name Chaos Grows (BBC News, April 10th)
The ICANN DNS saga continues...Having expressed recently that they will avoid acknowledging top level domains that are presently administered by a third-party, ICANN's governing power faces being undermined. The problem with working outside the control of this single body (regardless of how unresponsive and secretive it is) is that conflicts are bound to arise. Just one example of this, as mentioned within this article, is the case of .xxx, which is an extension presently offered by no less than three competing firms. Ever wish someone made a cartoon that sums up the whole messy ICANN TLD debate? See it here!

ICANN's Name Game (Boston Globe Online, April 9th)
The non-profit organization assigned with the task of controlling and regulating the domain name market has come under rapid fire during the past six months following its controversial negotiations with VeriSign and its cryptic handling of the new TLDs. This article outlines many of the criticisms faced by the organization, while suggesting actions that the US government and others are considering in order to support a more democratic approach to the market.

MyComputer.com Ends Free Services (internet.com, April 6th)
Popular ASP, whose services included the SuperStats tracking system and iClicks banner ad network have shut down their free services in an attempt to raise revenues from members converting to their premium commercial versions.

Will There Be Any Web Developers Left in 5 Years? (australia.internet.com, April 6th)
This article suggests that the increasingly complex demands of large-scale clients, and the many DIY template design tools available will remove most small developers from the web landscape, while paving the way for giant development firms and specialist teams who unite around larger projects.

Hasta La Vista to AltaVista? (TheStandard, April 6th)
AltaVista has been a hot-potato of the internet world, having changed hands and had IPOs postponed on several occasions. Now, the promising search technology pioneer is thirsting for a cash injection or acquisition in order to fund its survival.

ICANN Pressed to Reform Outdated Whois Policy (internet.com, April 5th)
In an effort to restrict abuse of the contact details found in the public Whois database, Tucows and others are spearheading a movement to have registrant's details made public only oin those cases where the registrant has agreed to such.

Forrester Research Predicts Affiliate Programs Will Thrive (Refer-It, April 5th)
A recent report produced by Forrester Research suggests that while the life span of shopping intermediaries, product review sites and also-ran portals is nearing an end, the market for consumer goods will increasingly offer support to ecommerce brokers, major portals and result-based affiliate programs.

New Firms Try New Ways to Collect Data on Web Surfers (MSNBC, April 5th)
Aiming to compete with Nielsen/NetRatings and Jupiter Media Metrix, two new net measurement firms have launched services that take into account a larger sample group in an effort to provide more accurate figures than those presented by the market leaders.

Judge Seizes Teen's Web Biz (Wired News, April 4th)
Citing false charges for excessive bandwidth use, several former clients of shady hosting firms Page Creators and Trinity Host (both owned and operated by 18-year-old Bryan Kruchten), have succeeded in having the teen's business shut down and their money returned.

eFront Sites Given Two Days to Relocate (CNET News.com, April 4th)
Just weeks after coming under fire when CEO Sam Jain's ICQ logs were made public, eFront has found itself in deep water once again by failing to meet the financial requirements of its outsourced website hosting deal. As a result, eFront network sites have been given just two days to pack up and move to another server.

ICANN Warns About Preregistering Domain Names (CNN.com, April 3rd)
ICANN officials and the Federal Trade Commission have warned comsumers against the practice of preregistering domain names under the new extensions to be launched later this year.

How to Add Value to Your Corporate Website (ZDNet, April 2nd)
This feature presents a great step-by-step guide to planning the implementation of a value-packed corporate website.

Out of Service (BW Online, April 2nd)
This article presents a couple of nightmare scenarios in which web providers pulled the plug on their clients. It also notes some survival tactics.

Misys Stops the Meta Tag Madness (The Register, April 2nd)
While the central focus of this article is the anti-competitive behaviour exhibited by Misys in the development of their meta tags, the second portion of the article regarding the (in)effectiveness of meta tags in determining search engine rankings should be of interest to web developers and marketers.


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