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Web Development Articles
(July 2001)



Web Sites: Learn to Build Smart and Buy Smart (WDVL, July 31st)
This feature is of value to both web developers/designers and marketers who are contracting to have a site designed. Specifically, it notes how many so-called designers do little more than plugging information into readily-available templates, or otherwise perform inadecquate service for an excessive price - while suggesting some signs that indicate a work is original, hand-coded and ready to be promoted.

CRM for Your Site - on the Cheap (ClickZ, July 31st)
While the market for outsourced Customer Relationship Management planning and systems is seeing a booming trade, indie web developers can go far in testing and optimizing their sites and/or e-commerce ventures so as to increase consumer satisfaction and conversion ratios. This article suggests how best to test your site, with the most important lesson being to step into the shoes of a newbie user, and view your site's usability and appeal from that perspective.

Mea Culpa (E-Commerce Guide, July 31st)
Accepting responsibility for the errors that are bound to arise in your e-commerce dealings with customers can not only assist you in the avoidance of lost customers, but may actually reinforce the positive associations the affected customer feels towards your brand when handled well.

Is the Internet Becoming a Commercial Directory (australia.internet.com, July 31st)
With many search players now following GoTo.com's lead and giving preferencial placement or inclusion to sites that pay for the privilege, a question has arisen as to whether or not any of the major engines will be suited to their initial purpose of digging up useful information from the vast corners of the web.

E-Commerce Will Get Boost From Fourth Quarter (CyberAtlas, July 31st)
Figures coming out of BizRate and Datamonitor suggest that despite the gloom surrounding the market, 2001 has been, and will continue to be, a bumper year for e-commerce, with blick-n-clicks players the greatest beneficiaries.

Officials Warn of Internet Threat (Excite News, July 30th)
With Code Red heating up its assult on internet infrastructure, users of Windows NT and 2000-based systems running IIS are advised to patch their systems in order to avoid being used as a tool in upcoming attacks. Read more about the scope of the latest attack within this CNN article.

Big Blue aims to be the Web Host of Choice (ITWorld.com, July 30th)
Snaring massive clients such as the NBA, IBM Global Services is rapidly moving up to the task of challenging present leaders in the managed web hosting market.

Jupiter Feels the Dot-Com Losses (internet.com, July 30th)
Market leading web audience measurement firm Jupiter Media Metrix, Inc. has experienced a particularly turmultuous period of late, with controversy surrounding the metrics and practices that allowed such properties as X10 and eFront to gain top-billing within their ranking list. Adding to their sad tale is an earnings report that has seen the company lose 22% from the value of its client contracts, while posting significant losses overall.

Filling the M-Commerce Void (M-Commerce Times, July 30th)
Developers have, as yet, been largely responsible for holding back the m-commerce market as a result of the limited appeal of wireless expansion in relation to the high costs associated with the porting process.

Flash 5 Tutorial (WDVL, July 30th)
This is the beginning of a great tutorial that presents Flash-newbies with a well-rounded view of the most essential techniques associated with animating within Macromedia's common creative application.

Should a Web Site's Privacy Policy Be Set by Law (PCWorld.com, July 27th)
Debate is continuing as to whether or not the privacy policies associated with sites should be guided by legislation, technology or basic business ethics.

Listings Continue to be the Key for Looksmart (australia.internet.com, July 27th)
Having already gone down the routes of an also-ran portal, also-ran technology provider and also-ran human edited directory paths, Looksmart unsurprisingly now sees its future in focusing on paid placement (ala GoTo.com and FindWhat). The company's latest quarterly filing suggests that the paid inclusion strategy is beginning to pay off, and will account for a far larger proportion of the company's revenues as it moves away from unrpofitable partnerships and focuses on its core search offerings. With it's stock price floudering around in the sub-$1 range, though, Looksmart's arms are tied in comparison to its cash-flush first mover competitors, so its future remains unclear.

TheCounter.com Goes Premium (internet.com, July 26th)
Citing falling advertising revenues as the cause, INT Media Group has transitioned its former free website traffic measurement service to a paid system. But if your wallet remains light, there's no need to despair, since many free counters/trackers remain available.

Discounts, Marketing Practices Working Against E-Tailers (CyberAtlas, July 26th)
Rather than painting broad strokes in their marketing efforts, opportunity remains for online retailers to hone their marketing efforts in to the targeting of 'Internet Power Shoppers', who spend far more, and who are more responsive to e-marketing messages, than average consumers.

Personalized Pricing Still Makes Sense (E-Commerce Guide, July 26th)
Alexis Gutzman comments on several reports that, despite Amazon.com's slip-up in this area, suggest that personalized pricing based on individual user value priorities can assist e-tailers to boost sales and customer satisfaction, while minimizing marketing expenses.

.Biz Lottery Losers File Class Action Suit (internet.com, July 26th)
As if ICANN needed to be embroiled in any more controvery, the company assigned with the responsibility of managing the new .biz generic top level domain - NeuLevel - has been hit with a class action lawsuit alleging that their method of distributing the rights to popular domains is illegal and misleading.

Analyzing Site Traffic (E-Commerce Guide, July 25th)
Though the truest measure of successful online marketing is increased advertising and sales revenues, tracking traffic and user behaviour within your site is a crucial part of the day-to-day process of refinement and promotion. For a list of counters and trackers that are freely available, click here. Our list of commercial trackers may be located here.

Users and Viewers (AdWeek, July 25th)
Nielsen//NetRatings has found that most active web users are also some of the heaviest consumers of television, though what they watch on TV has little effect on their online behaviour. THe study has also interestingly taken note of the fact that many web users multitask by watching TV while simultaneously surfing the net.

Sircam Virus Steals Files (BBC News, July 24th)
We don't normally announce virus warnings, but since this little bugger is causing such a nuisance, it just had to be done. Sircam is a ruthless worm that attaches itself to files within an infected user's "My Documents" folder, before distributing itself to all email addresses found in the user's address book and cached internet files. Please visit this article to learn more about the virus, before going here to learn how best to tackle the pest. Update: SirCam has quickly established itself as the most widespread email worm in computing history, according to Kaspersky Labs.

Eight Secrets of Successful e-Service (eCRMguide, July 24th)
A business can not run at maximum efficiency unless effective customer relationship management is a priority. This article notes the results of a study that highlights the increased expenses associated with poor or non-existent online service, and how best to execute an online CRM plan in this environment.

Vendors Struggle to Get Online 'Yellow Pages' Rolling (ITworld, July 24th)
Undertaken in an effort to streamline business communication in an increasingly connected world, UDDI promised much, but has been delivered little thus far. Find out what's bugging this massive-scale project.

Coming to a Court Near You: Movie Previews (CNET News.com, July 24th)
As publishers and content producers continue to work through the intricacies of copyright law as it affects the internet, Disney's Buena Vista has taken video retailer Video Pipeline to court in an attempt to block the company from exhibiting its trailers online.

Many Web Developers Prefer MySQL (CNET Builder.com, July 23rd)
Affordable, fast and flexible, MySQL has become the database software of choice for many web developers who are reliant upon reliable dynamic applications, fast data retrieval and responsive server-to-user interaction.

The Fine Line of Failure (The Standard, July 23rd)
It has long been asserted that failure is the most effective teacher. Well, with failure the flavor of the day in dotcom circles, The Standard has produced a special feature that outlines how best to learn from others' mistakes, and your own, in order to foster experimentation and a drive to forge ahead towards an improved state of being.

Internet Company Dedicated to Helping Others Shuts Down (SiliconValley.com, July 21st)
Though failures of advertising-supported online pure-plays are a dime a dozen these days, this story is particularly worthy of note (and regret), in that the company in question set out to revolutionize the face of philanthropy, while bringing together people from all over the world with the unified goal of helping those less fortunate than themselves. Read why the company behind TheHungerSite and TheRainforestSite is shutting up shop.

Registrars Refute 'Domain Slamming' Charges (internet.com, July 20th)
In-fighting continues to plague the domain registrar business - and this time, VeriSign has leveraged an internally-sponsored study and their market domainance to enact policy that will make it far more difficult for registrants to transfer their domain's management to a competing registrar.

Webby Awards Push the Envelope (The Standard, July 19th)
Fortunately, the Webby Awards have maintained their resistance to becoming the 'Oscars of the Net', by upholding the comical, self-deprecating ideals that make the event worthy of water cooler discussion year after year.

Understanding Online Behaviour (NewMedia, July 17th)
Just as is the case in traditional retail operations, monitoring customer behaviour and modifying a company's operations in response to such is an essential ingredient in online success. Nevertheless, Forrester Research recently reported that only 23% of web businesses actively modify their operations in response to data associated with customer use of their sites.

The Secret to Online Privacy (ISP-Planet, July 17th)
A US Senate committee has begun the process of reviewing some 50 privacy issues related to the internet, with the goal of exploring whether or not legislation, or technology, is the answer in protecting the rights of online consumers.

The Elusive Art of Web Measurement (australia.internet.com, July 17th)
With Jupiter Media Metrix' leadership being challenged by upstarts and cross-media players alike, the team over at australia.internet.com take a look at the different metrics and methodologies employed by the major audience measurement services.

The Domain Name Rush is On - But Where's the Gold? (NewsFactor, July 17th)
In sync with the decline in hype surrounding the online frontier, the domain name market has cooled somewhat from absurd heights in which names were being traded for seven-figure prices. This article suggests that the emergence of new gTLDs, in addition to lower prices and a desire to acquire multi-lingual variations upon one's name will boost the market to new heights as the year nears and end.

Consumer Watchdog Accused Major Search Engines of Deception (digitalMass, July 16th)
Commercial Alert, the watchdog group founded by Ralph Nader, has filed complaint with the FTC against several of the web's leading search engines due to the disguising of paid listings within their results pages, which the group feels constitutes misleading advertising. Read more about this issue in the following LA Times article.

Sony to Take Stake in eUniverse (internet.com, July 16th)
In a deal that lends a boost of confidence to the struggling online entertainment sector, Sony has agreed to purchase several million of equity in teen-centric network eUniverse.

The Case of the Forwarded Email (Salon.com, July 13th)
The boundaries of legal jurisdictions and legislations online remains sketchy at best. Salon.com reports here about a situation in which an ezine editor based in the Netherlands is being taken to court by an American woman who is attempting to sue the man for defamation in what will be a landmark decision that could threaten the future of indie editorial operations.

Mass Site Defacement Relied on Cheap Trick (Newsbytes, July 13th)
Server security is always a significant issue in the defence against invasion, defacement and data compromise. This article notes how a cracker was able to deface literally hundreds of sites within seconds, since they were all virtually-hosted on the same server, with several ports left vulnerable.

Comedians Stumble Upon Viral Marketing Concept (Internet Day, July 13th)
Looking to promote their work via a few online channels, a pair of comedians came across an effective marketing vehicle almost by chance as they united humor and easily-forwardable ebooks to create a wave of interest in their site and work.

Net Body Stamps on Critics (BBC News, July 13th)
ICANN has finally made a formal, aggressive stance against the confusion caused by the growing popularity of alternative domain name registries, and they have been harsh in their judgement of systems such as those supported by New.net.

Sometimes Free is the Only Way (ASP News, July 12th)
It's interesting how the tides flow online. In the early days, subscription models were avoided like the plague in an effort to gain market share and 'unique users' as quickly as possible - even if only to become a loss leader. As the online advertising market slowed, though, subscriptions and paid premium services became the flavor of the day. Now, several servives are accessible only via subscription - which again creates an opportunity for publishers to rapidly gain market share by providing a similar service for free. If costs are kept under control, and as long as profitability projections are realistic, even within the present advertising environment, the lure of free may again prove magic.

Look Who's Making Money Online - Without the Heavy Lifting (E-Commerce Times, July 11th)
While e-commerce failures have been many, several niche-oriented sites (particularly those who do not take care of order fulfilment and stock housing) have already spent a number of quarters in profitable territory. This article profiles a few such success stories.

Categorizing US Online Shoppers (eMarketer, July 11th)
A behavioural study by The Marriott School of Management at Brigham Young University has revealed a great deal about the purchasing habits, and tech-savviness, of various online consumer groups, while also highlighting which categories of goods attract the most interest online. I'll give you a clue, Amazon.com sells all of them ;)

Web Photos That Pop (WebReference, July 10th)
Tweaking, correcting and optimizing photographic images for the web is unlike the print process. Here, Wendy Peck outlines a few of the differences, while offering a tutorial on how best to make the most of digitized piccies within your design.

Me-Zine Publishing for Fun and (Sometimes) Profit (NY Times, July 9th)
A growing trend within the journalistic and indie publishing ranks is seeing writers turn away from penning columns for media giants, and instead pursue self-publishing via a personal website and/or ezine. As this feature reveals, where the content offered by these electronic journals makes for compelling reading, publishers can often turn tidy profits through advertising and donation-based revenue.

Consumers, M-Commerce Fail to Connect (CyberAtlas, July 9th)
Jupiter Media Metrix has found that the pattern of adoption surrounding mobile commerce will be far different from that evident in e-commerce. In addition, the firm found that consumer apathy to mobile transactions expect to make the medium account for only 2% of all online shopping activity by 2006. Read more about how mobile commerce is expected to play only a niche role in coming years in this Infoworld article.

Customer Service Roundup (eCRMguide, July 6th)
CRM may be a sexy acronym, but it does not replace traditional customer service systems. This article stresses the importance of providing rapid feedback and human-operated customer support systems in order to build positive brand affinities and increase sales.

P3P: Protecting Your Privacy (digitalMASS, July 5th)
With the release of IE6 pending, consumer privacy is going to be given a boost through a system that allows web users to block cookies and/or access to sites who don't meet their privacy standards. Sites will be categorized according to the statements made within their P3P-compliant privacy policies, which avoids the necessity for users to read such policies at every site they visit. To create your own P3P-compliant privacy policy, visit SiteOwner.

Charging Toward Paid Content (australia.internet.com, July 5th)
With more than 40% of consumers surveyed by Jupiter Media Metrix acknowledging that online content cannot remain free forever, the decision facing a web publisher is not just whether or not to implement a subscription or micropayment-system, but how to roll this out effectively, without isolating or placing undue burden on one's audience.

Competing Domain Name Registries Create Confusion (The Industry Standard, July 5th)
The bitter fighting in the domain name industry has not just been between ICANN and gTLD 'wanna-be's. Providers of alternative roots, many of whom have sold domain names that have reportedly already been registered elsewhere, are set to clash if any of these domains become widely know. Obviously, giant newcomer New.net is central to this debate.

Internet Death Rate Levels Off (TechWeb, July 5th)
Data emerging from Webmergers.com has revealed what appears to be a plateau in the fatality rate of online businesses. The first siz months of this year have seen a record number of e-businesses shut up shop, but the slowing death rate suggests that a recovery built on consolidation is taking the place of the aggressive shake-out that has thus far defined the business environment of 2001.

Verizon Scores Distribution Deal with AltaVista (internet.com, July 5th)
In a bold move to expand the reach of its personal and business directory listings, Verizon-owned Superpages.com has chalked up a deal that will see it supplant Worldpages.com as the exclusive provider of yellow and white pages listings for popular portal AltaVista.

Dot-com Doldrums Reach Researcher Jupiter (CNET News.com, July 5th)
Following the public expression of doubts placed on Jupiter Media Metrix' audience measurement methodology, it has become clear that competitor Nielsen/NetRatings are rapidly gaining market share from the leader.

UK Web Stats Notoriously Innaccurate (BBC News, July 4th)
Though this article presents figures from a study of UK-based web publishers, the figures presented would likely be conguent with those found elsewhere in the world. The crux of the discussion is that several online publishers innacurately report their traffic, by presenting figures that reflect how many pages (or even page elements - hits) are requested, rather than how many are actually delivered..

New Internet Domains Fall Flat (MSNBC, July 2nd)
Though subject to much hype, discussion and press coverage, the two next TLDs set to roll out (.info and .biz) have received what appears at this stage to be a rather lukewarm reception.


 
 
 

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