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Web Development Articles
(August 2001)

How Many Clicks to an Order Form? (eCRMguide, August 31st)
This brief article notes that one of the largst trouble spots in securing e-transactions relates to the number of clicks that must be made between viewing a product of interest and reaching the order form. By crawling through the ordering process yourself with a newbie's mindset, identifying and eliminating trouble spots will be far more natural, and should boost sales conversion ratios.

Public Interest Groups Clash With ICAAN Over Governance (Newsbytes, August 31st)
Following ICAAN's own investigation into its future as the body that governs the key part of the internet's architecture - its domain name system - a body of public-interest groups has been progressing through its own investigation, resulting in the delivery of several recommendations to ICAAN.

Artificial Help Wanted (eCRMguide, August 30th)
This hilarious article highlights the emergence of low-cost artificially intelligent bots that may soon become viable replacements of, or complements to an e-commerce brokers interactive customer support department. While the example of a test dialogue here suggests that the product in question is not yet market-ready, it could be argued that its knowledge and helpfulness is not far behind that of most real-world customer service personnel. j/k ;)

For Flooz, Time Was Money, and Time Ran Out (atNewYork, August 30th)
The demise of the once high-flying and celebrity-backed virtual currency play Flooz.com may mark the end of an era in e-commerce evolution. Flooz was not the first to attempt the creation of an online currency, and many fell out of contention during its rise, but this company came closest to realizing the goal of all those in this area. The question now is whether or not its failure will end the online currency evolution, and whether credit cards and gift certificates will serve an almost equivalent purpose.

E-Tail Dresses Up for Back-to-School Shopping (E-Commerce Times, August 30th)
While overshadowed by the massive feative shopping season, the back-to-school period of late July through early September has consistently stimulated growth in e-commerce traffic and revenue. This article notes some of the biggest growth areas, while suggesting which sites can capitalize upon the uptick.

Page Not Found on AltaVista's Regional Services (ITWorld.com, August 29th)
It has recently been confirmed that the Web's first major spider-driven search engine has put an extended hold on the inclusion of new sites within its regional indices as a result of an impending database consolidation that the company claims will improve the relevancy of its search results. This means that web pages created or significantly modified since mid-April will not appear within the search results of the popular service.

Make Way for the Deep Crawl (ClickZ, August 29th)
For too long now, search engine spiders have been unable to effectively crawl and index dynamic pages and similar content, leaving much of the web effectively invisible. New developments, some of which are free while others are set to be commercial additions, are set to remove this barrier by providing net users with direct access to the deepest corners of your website.

First Look At Microsoft IE 6.0 (PCWorld.com, August 28th)
Microsoft's latest full-version update to its dominant web browser features several minor revisions, the most dramatic of which are the adoption of new privacy features that support third-party cookie blocking and long-awaited support for open web standards.

The Power of Passionate Pages (NewMedia, August 28th)
With the initial novelty of the world wide web wearing thin for many, opportunity exists for those web publishers who are willing to create passionate, energetic content that is not simply re-purposed data from other media.

Yahoo Plans Paid Web Hosting Services (SiliconValley.com, August 28th)
While this title is a little inappropriate given that Yahoo has been offering a commercial web hosting service for several months now, this article from SV.com notes that Yahoo will shortly be revealing a low-cost commercial service to its millions of Geocities members. Coincidentally (?), this announcement has come at approximately the same time as Yahoo's decision to serve popunder advertisements to visitors of Geocities member sites. For more info on this, you might like to refer to this InternetNews.com article.

Internet and Copyright Law (WDVL, August 27th)
This special feature, while not written by an IP lawyer, provides a good overview of copyright issues challenging publishers and other content-creators in the digital era.

Customer Service: What Comsumers Want (eMarketer, August 24th)
This great report by eMarketer highlights the findings of a report commissioned by WorldCom that looks at which media consumers have used in an effort to seek customer service, and how satisfied they have been with the service received through said medium. Interestingly, while the telephone is the most used medium, a greater proportion of consumers have been satisfied with customer service delivered through online chat sessions than through any other medium.

Troubleshooting for Transaction Turbulence (InternetDay, August 24th)
One of the most elementary manners through which to improve your ratio of visitors:confirmed sales is to troubleshoot a website (including both its promotional aspects and the e-commerce technology and processes themselves) is to troubleshoot extensively with the goal of reducing risky spots in the purchasing process that may hinder or deter customers from completing their purchase.

E-Commerce Shows Signs of Waking From Summer Slumber (CyberAtlas, August 23rd)
E-tailing revenues experienced almost a 20% month-over-month jump from June to July of this year according to the NRF/Forrester Online Retail Index. This brief report also displays which items were the most warmly received by online consumers during the period in question.

Companies Move to Register .info Domains (internet.com, August 23rd)
Despite the uncomfortable amount of negative publicity surrounding Afilias' dubious handling of the 'sunrise period' in which trademark holders were invited to register .info names ahead of the general public, Afilias itself is proclaiming the phase a success in unveiling what it claims is the first truly global TLD. The domain will be unveiled to the general public on September 12th.

Study: Offline Retailers Should Rethink Web ROI (internet.com, August 22nd)
Finding that a web presence has more value to bricks-and-clicks retailers than simply what can be measured by calculating the number of goods sold online, Jupiter Media Metrix has suggested that retailers look at to what degree their web presence boosts offline sales and other indirect returns in the calculations of their ROI.

Sony Presses 'Fast Forward' on Digital Marketing (eMarketer, August 22nd)
While no clear market leader has emerged in the online entertainment content sector, content and technology giant Sony is set to leverage its substantial body of works in the creation of an interactive powerhouse that will derive revenues from advertising, sales and subscriptions online.

The Evolution of Paid Inclusion (ClickZ, August 22nd)
Search engine specialist Danny Sullivan here outlines and delineates the various forms of paid inclusion presently touted by search engines and directories, while highlighting some of the pros and cons associated with each model.

Creating ASP Pages With Python (4GuysFromRolla, August 22nd)
Fans of efficient object-oriented programming for Windows are well advised to consider developing their ASP pages with the open-source Python, according to the author of this comprehensive tutorial.

Don't Lose Track of Your Online Brand (NewMedia, August 21st)
NewMedia here highlights the continuing value of brand-building (even during a slow economy), and how e-commerce players may position themselves so as to establish positive brand relationships with their clients and customers, inexpensively.

Web Firms Still Host Hopes for Recovery (Washington Post, August 21st)
This article notes the sentiment expressed at the Web Hosting Expo in regards to the present and perceived future state of the hosting industry.

Developing a Winning E-Commerce Strategy (InternetDay, August 20th)
With e-commerce spending overall continuing to grow rapidly, and evidence coming to light that suggests that a company's web presence can dramatically boost their associated offline sales and brand awareness, it is essential that merchants and web developers identify the weaknesses in their websites and transaction processes in order to maximise their returns in what is certain to remain a highly competitive and alluring market.

Inktomi Getting Serious with Paid Listing Business (internet.com, August 20th)
The company best known for licensing its search engine technology to major portals is beefing up its offerings GoTo.com-style by improving the capabilities of its paid-for-placement model.

Study: Wireless Free Content Is Doomed (ZDNet News, August 20th)
They say that hindsight is 20:20, and it could easily be argued that many online content providers, if they were to start over given the knowledge that web ad revenues would be slow to build, they would opt not to offer free access to such content. This article suggests that wireless content providers should heed the warnings expressed by failing dotcoms, and either maintain slim operations designed to generate transactions, or offer content largely on a subscription basis so as to adecquately offset the costs of its production.

New Uses For Internet Address System Could Strain It (SiliconValley.com, August 17th)
The rolling out of seven new domain namer suffixes, in addition to impending support for multi-lingual domain alternatives could put excessive load upon the net's root DNS system.

GoTo.com: Not-So-Sleazy Search (UpsideToday, August 17th)
This article counters the concerns voiced by Ralph Nader's Commercial Alert group regarding paid search engine listings, by suggesting that not only is Wall Street embracing the engines' dedication to move towards profitability, but net users are flocking to commercially-oriented search engines to track down relavant info and products quickly.

Beenz to Shut Down August 26th (internet.com, August 17th)
Just days after alternative-currency player Flooz.com shut down its service, the largest remaining player in the once-hotly-contended market, Beenz.com, has called it quits. The move comes in an environment in which investors have turned their backs on novelty systems that show little promise of reaching profitability in the near-term, and in which credit card companies have beefed up their security policies and product ranges to suit the e-commerce age.

Afilias to Challenge .info Cybersquatters (TeleDotCom, August 16th)
After being accused of mishandling the crucial 'sunrise' period accompanying the rollout of the .info TLD, Afilias has released a statement claiming that it will strike down upon those who wrongfully registered names to which they do not have a trademark-protected right.

Online Contests and Incentives (ClickZ, August 16th)
Several publishers of B2C websites and/or newsletters have recently discovered that holding contests as incentives to build an opt-in subscription list is an affordable and efficient marketing option, but this article proposes that building untargeted lists to unmanageable sizes using this method may be counter-productive.

Learning From JetBlue to Stay Out of the Red (ClickZ, August 15th)
This inspirational article by Sean Carton notes the similarities between the airline indistry in the wake of deregulation, and the turmultuous world of e-business, with an emphasis on how best to carve out a niche and cater to your customers' needs and desires without having to stoop into the risky situation of embarking on a price war with your competitors.

NoVa Company Suing Amazon.com Over Domains (WashTech.com, August 15th)
NeuLevel Inc, which has been awarded the exclusive rights to manage the new .biz top-level domain, has been criticized by Amazon.com (amongst others) over its handling of a pre-registration program that allegedly represents an illegal lottery. In its defence, the company has launched legal action against Amazon.com.

Northern Light Launches XML Portal (internet.com, August 13th)
Indicating its significance in defining the future online landscape, the XML community has been provided with a large-scale specialty portal created by Northern Light. The site hopes to be the launching pad from which XML developers begin any online research.

Christmas In August? (ClickZ, August 13th)
Those online businesses for whom the busy holiday spending period is expected to provide an antidote to the starving e-commerce and ad markets that have dominated the early part of this year ought to take steps to ensure that their sites are ready for the rush presently. This article outlines a checklist of points to note in optimizing a site so as to provide superior conversion ratios.

comScore Networks Scores Up To $16M (WashTech.com, August 13th)
Online audience measurement and research firm comScore Networks, who acquired many of the assets of former major player PC Data Online earlier this year has successfully scored another round of investment that indicates confidence remains that this firm will be able to effectively compete with, or complement, leaders Jupiter Media Metrix and Nielsen//NetRatings.

Converting XML to HTML with Systems by Sun and Microsoft (15 Seconds, August 10th)
15 Seconds brings you a guide that is effectively a tutorial and cross-comparison of competing systems that aims to illustrate how to most efficiently convert database-driven XML data to HTML reports for viewing through a standard web browser.

Selling Subscriptions to Internet Content (MarketingProfs.com, August 10th)
This feature presents a summary of the aspects surrounding the facilitation of a successful online subscription model as suggested by several successful players in the area at a recent conference.

Marketing Trends: Data Mining (NewMedia, August 9th)
While arguable in its suggestions, this article highlights the value of data mining in targeting marketing messages to groups of consumers who share various behavioural and/or demographic relationships.

Sex, Lies and TLDs (MSNBC, August 8th)
This MSNBC commentary pokes holes in the veil with which Afilias and ICANN have shrouded the 'sunrise' pre-registration period that will shape the rollout of the new TLDs - with most mentions made of the popular .info domain. It notes that the system is being widely abused, and that by the time the general non-trademark holding public is able to access the system for registration purposes in September, the vast majority of desirable names will have been snapped up.

Register.com Scores Exclusivity on EarthLink (internet.com, August 8th)
Facing a dramatic decline in registrations and transfers made through its domain name registration service, Register.com, who is presently the second biggest registrar, has successfully landed an agreement with ISP EarthLink to act as the exclusive registrant for the company's millions of subscribers.

AOL Releases New Netscape Beta (MSNBC, August 8th)
While the much-anticipated release of the disappointingly buggy Netscape 6.0 was seen by many as the final nail in the browser's coffin, AOL has reportedly delivered a surprisingly efficient and stable product with its 6.1 beta release.

What's Next for E-Commerce? (E-Commerce Times, August 7th)
In the wake of the burst bubble, a great deal of repositioning, rebuilding and consolidation has been taking place in the online space. More notably, though, are the changes that many e-commerce players have made in an effort to focus on those things that are more important, long-term, than a quick-to-market IPO. Elements of the customer relationship management and other service aspects of electronic commerce are coming to the fore, as are natural alliances created to reduce costs and streamline all aspects of a company's operations.

It's the Content Management, Stupid (NewMedia, August 7th)
Nightmare situations regarding lost or poorly managed content ar rife in an increasingly networked world. This article notes the value of establishing effective content management systems in an effort to remain organized, and to improve almost all aspects of your organization's efficiency.

The Pure Profit Power of Free Advertising (InternetDay, August 6th)
Promoting your web venture through offline channels needn't be an excessively expensive process. This article outlines a few techniques that can assist in attracting leads to your website with little to no initial outlay required on your behalf.

NetIQ Rvamps WebTrends Brand, Product Lineup (internet.com, August 6th)
After acquiring the popular WebTrends brand, NetIQ is busy revamping the positioning of the company's product line, while also renewing its image in an effort to build upon WebTrends' already dominant share of the media measurement and logfile analysis market.

My Brand Is Here to Stay (ChannelSeven, August 6th)
Customer loyalty is inextricably connected with cost savings, increased profits and a thriving business. This article nontes that although Wall Street may be bearish on stocks in the internet and telco sectors, many of the brands in these markets generate the highest levels of customer satisfaction and loyalty, suggesting positivity on the horizon.

TheGlobe.com to Close Communities (internet.com, August 3rd)
Citing continuing market woes, the ill-trodden provider of online message boards, games, personals and free hosting has made the decision to wind down the majority of its operations.

IE6 to Launch on August 15th (The Register, August 3rd)
Following a lengthy beta period, IE6 will be released as a standalone software product on the 15th of this month, bringing with it P3P privacy support, improoved SMIL 2.0 and CSS support, a beefier search feature, an integrated media player and automatic picture resizing.

Visa Prepares to Roll Out 'Verified by Visa' Service (E-Commerce Guide, August 2nd)
In an attempt to build consumer confidence, while reducing the unnecessary chargebacks and online fraud that can cut into the bottom-lines of e-commerce players, Visa is preparing to roll out a service that will verify the ownership of a credit card before processing a transaction.

ICANN Signs Off On .Name Contract (NewsBytes, August 2nd)
The third of the new TLDs set to launch appears to be .name, the generic top-level-domain set aside for use by individual web users that is to be managed by Global Name Registry Ltd. ICANN signed off on the final agreement governing the name's use this week, and it presently needs only approval from the US Commerce Department to move ahead.

Batteries Not Included (eCRMguide, August 2nd)
This article poses that "customer satisfaction includes avoiding customer disappointment", and wisely notes that e-commerce players should include details about any catches/exlusions and so on that restrict the appeal of the products and services that they stock, in order to reduce returns and dissatisfaction.

Offline Brands Bringing E-Commerce to the Masses (CyberAtlas, August 1st)
With the all-important holiday season approaching, the 'new economy' tides are turning, with bricks-and-mortar giants seeing greater year-over-year growth in the usage of their online services than the pure-plays who dominated during the web's seminal years.

Hosting the Host - Lessons in Outsourcing Customer Care (eCRMguide, August 1st)
Outsourcing your customer service responsibilities can be a resource saver, while providing an increasingly scalable and experienced solution than bringing in casuals to handle the task. This article notes that the emerging outsourced customer service market is set to boom on the back of e-commerce expansion.

Nonprofit Firm Could Guide '.us' (WashingtonPost.com, August 1st)
With the .com and .net spaces saturated, one ccTLD that has thus far been underexploited is .us, whose exposure the United States Commerce Department is hoping to boost by seeking new management and a broader terms of use governing the domain.

Get Ready for the Privacy Backlash (DarwinMag, August 1st)
With intimate consumer data gathered and stored within databases operated by 100s of different direct marketing organizations and websites, it has been suggested that the straw will soon fall that breaks the consumer's back, leading to them acting aggressively to defend their right for privacy. As such, web publishers and e-commerce players must adopt responsible privacy practices if they hope to maintain consumer confidence.


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