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Web Development Articles
(June 2001)



Getting the Word Out: How to Write and Distribute a Press Release (HitBox, June 29th)
The ability of press releases to get word out about significant developments at your company or site should never be underestimated. This article provides some tips for how best to leverage PRs in order to generate buzz.

Interview: Michael Landau on Copyright (WebReference, June 28th)
The landmark decision made on the intellectual property case of Tasini vs The New York Times this year established the ground rules that determine how the IP rights of freelancers are to be respected in cross-media transfers of information. This interview with Professor Michael Landau of Georgia State University College of Law highlights the specific consequences of the case, while defining how to best define the ownership of a work in order to avoid confusion and/or lawsuits if you wish to cross-publish or otherwise manipulate and redistribute creative works.

Going From Free to Fee (ASPnews, June 28th)
FreeDrive's VP Lisa Gloria here outlines a series of broad steps aimed at giving online enterprises the best chance of pulling off a successful transition from offering a free (lossy) service to a subscription-based model.

Yahoo, ACNielsen Declare e-Commerce Strong and Healthy (CyberAtlas, June 27th)
The first Yahoo/ACNielsen Internet Confidence Index has revealed a healthy outlook for the e-commerce sector, with 42 per cent of US internet users expecting to make purchases within the next 3 months amounting to almost $10 billion in expenditure.

Amazon to Use Streaming Media to Hook Customers (E-Commerce Times, June 26th)
Having waited for both technology and consumer behaviour to mature, Amazon.com is moving into territory that once bogged down the much-touted Boo.com, by offering a variety of rich streaming media additions to their e-commerce system. These are designed to get consumers more involved in the shopping experience and to provide them with additional information. On the technology front, Amazon's goal is to present the data in formats that may be viewed as intended by all users, whether connected via cable or dialup, without delay.

Shootout Brewing Between Paid Search Engines (internet.com, June 25th)
Following in the heels of the success seen by GoTo and similar pay-for-placement players, LookSmart has expanded its offerings to offer two varying paid placement schemes in an attempt to increase its advertisers' exposure, while raising the company's revenues.

Freelancers Win Big in Digital Rights Case (AtNewYork, June 25th)
After a long and arduous struggle, freelancers have won a landmark case this week as the US Supreme Court rules that web publishers and media companies must obtain redistribution rights before publishing works online that were originally commissioned for offline consumption.

The Saga of Sucks.com (Salon.com, June 25th)
From a small office in NJ, Dan Parisi is fighting a controversial, yet crucially important, war in the protection of free speech online through his many scuffles over the protection of consumer-oriented ***sucks.com domain names.

Trying to Win a New Name Game (NY Times, June 25th)
The market for the next two ICANN-accredited TLDs to roll out, .biz and .info may not be as big as that for .com, but those behind the rollout are attempting to create a bang, and one that protects the rights of trademark and other rights holders more effectively than their pioneering predecessors. This article outlines the specific rollout dates associated with the new names.

Microsoft Axing ListBot (internet.com, June 22nd)
In a surprising, and disappointing, move demonstating that even free ad-supported services backed by cash-flush companies are not always safe from market pressures, Microsoft has made the decision to shut down its free email list management system. This is a big blow to 1000s of sites that outsourced their lists to this service, and who will now be forced to find another home for their ezines or fork out limiting subscription fees in order to migrate to a premium Microsoft service.

Have Fun! - The Argument for Online Gaming (E-Commerce Guide, June 22nd)
This article notes that, in certain circumatances, the deployment of sticky, entertaining content such as online games on your e-commerce site can increase visitor interaction, mood, and willingness to open their wallets.

How to Get Free Publicity for Your Business (E-Commerce Guide, June 21st)
This article presents a set of practical tips relating to the most effective ways of providing the press with public relations information that they are likely to cover.

Exec Calls for 3rd Party Verification of Privacy Policies (internet.com, June 21st)
Jerry DeVault from Ernst & Young's Innovative Assurance Solutions practice has declared the current system of posting privacy policies online unsatisfactory in safeguarding consumers. To improve this, he has proposed that a third-party needs to be appointed to regulate and verify privacy policies developed by online firms.

Häagen-Dazs Launches Web Promotion for New Dessert (internet.com, June 21st)
Following in the footsteps of pioneers such as Pepsi and Coca-Cola in managing cross-medium promotions that aim to drive users from point-of-sale or television onto mini-sites or online advergames designed to promote a brand, Häagen-Dazs is running a contest that offers lucrative prizes to lucky participants in their online challenge.

Timing For .info Rollout Announced By Afilias (NET-ADS, June 20th)
The team of registrars awarded the right to manage the new .info TLD - the first of the seven TLDs approved by ICANN to come into effect - has announced its roll-out plan.

A PDF Primer (Intranet Journal, June 20th)
Adobe's Portable Document File format has become immensely popular online as a medium through which official documents may be compressed, delivered and viewed without having to be re-designed for the web. This article presents a handy beginner's guide to the format, including instructions as to how best to create efficient PDF files for online use.

Study: Era of E-Commerce Profits Underway (E-Commerce Times, June 20th)
While many dotcoms, best associated with their volative stocks, have recently broken even, or claimed that profitability is clearly within site, the distance between the secotr's most and least successful continues to grow - indicating that while the beaten-down stocks of some companies are well justified, others are proving that the efficiencies offered by new technologies can support strong, competitive business plans.

Netscape Denies Browser Escape (Wired News, June 19th)
Contrary to suggestions made earlier this month, it seems that Netscape has not yet given up its attempt to gain ground in the browser market, and it is committed to pushing a version 6.1 release some time next quarter.

TRUSTe Hopes to Develop Web Privacy Symbols (InfoWorld.com, June 19th)
In an attempt to simplify the process of alerting visitors to a site's treatment of their privacy, TRUSTe hopes to develop a set of symbols that developers may add to their sites in order to provide at-a-glance guidelines, devoid of the legalese that chokes up traditional privacy policies.

Web Shui: Borrowed Brilliance (CNET, June 18th)
Web usability experts and design gurus each have their own assumptions about what makes a website successful. This article does an impressive job of rounding up several of the most popular design theories, while placing a focus on the creation of not just a flat design, but a carefully-crafted experience for visitors to a site.

YellowBrix to Acquire iSyndicate (internet.com, June 18th)
Content infrastructure play YellowBrix has added the struggling, but immensely popular, online content syndication and distribution firm to its staple of service offerings.

Top-Notch Customer Service (Builder.com, June 18th)
Keeping a stable of satisifed customers is far cheaper than acquiring new clients. As such, the value of effective customer relationship management cannot be ignored. This article highlights some tools that are available which make CRM easier to manage.

URL Design (WDVL, June 15th)
This article looks at URLs, domain names and navigation from a usability perspective, and makes recommendations as to how your server can be configured and your site's architecture structured so as to achieve maximum user-friendliness.

Study: E-Tailers Can Make Big Splash with First Impressions (E-Commerce Times, June 15th)
With a great proportion of the population yet to make their way online, research firms are predicting a significant surge in new users, particularly within the 35-to-54 age range, will make their way on to the net during the next few years. This presents e-tailers with a great opportunity for growth and brand-building by focusing on customer relationship management to lure and impress this strong wave of big-spending users.

Your Own Digital Domain (ZDNet, June 15th)
The ZDNet team here give an elementary "beginner's guide" to designing, developing and hosting a website. This is a great 101 primer for those who have yet to take the leap into web publishing.

A Quiet Revolution in Design (ClickZ, June 13th)
A new movement is gaining momentum within web development ranks under the assertion that web design is more like product or storefront design than print ad design. The assumption here is that interacting with a website and its supporting systems (CRM, marketing, structure, etc) is an experience that gives consumers a broad appreciation for the company's image and ability.

Well-Formed HTML (EarthWebDeveloper, June 13th)
Still the basis for most online documents, HTML is a language with which all web developers must become intimately acquainted. This feature outlines several tips that ensure that your HTML documents are valid, precise and error-free.

Growing a List with Greetings and Sweeps (ClickZ, June 12th)
Building an opt-in mailing list quickly is not an easy task in the absence of incentives for subscribers. Although quality content is the greatest incentive of all, employing contests and hooks such as free greeting cards are another popular avenue worth exploring. This article notes a few ASPs who offer co-branded services that allow you to outsource the more technical aspects of such a system, while maintaining your focus on building and publishing a successful list.

Dot-Co May Challenge Dot-Com for Global Domain (NewsFactor, June 12th)
Although its success is in doubt, Columbia is proposing that its .co ccTLD could be the next big thing in the domain name landscape, and is accepting applications from those registrars who wish to take its global.

Homestead Does About-Face on Free Service (internet.com, June 12th)
One of the biggest free web hosts has reluctantly admitted that it will not be able to survive in the current ad market without switching to a paid-hosting model, and has thus requested that its users pay a subscription fee in order to cover their hosting costs, or else switch to an increasingly feature-starved free preview version.

E-Biz Faces Five Dangers That Limit Growth (E-Commerce Times, June 12th)
Research firm GartnerG2 has released a report noting the greatest threats that face firms during and following this transient economic period. Five threats are mentioned, many referring directly to a firm's online strategy, that note what strategies to avoid in order to see growth as the economy picks up.

Three Site Types Dominate Surfing Habits (internet.com, June 11th)
Neilsen//NetRatings has once again taken a look at which categories of site dominate surfing time. It found that search engines, directories and portals once again ruled the roost, with telecommunications and internet service sites coming in second, followed by the burgeoning entertainment category.

Google Seeks Global Fame (FT.com, June 8th)
A favorite with both web users and institutional partners, search engine technology company Google is making aggressive moves to expand its market share in foreign regions in order to establish itself as the search technology of choice on the web and emerging network systems, such as wireless.

Feed Freezes Its Ezine (CNET News.com, June 8th)
Once revered for their edgy take on a variety of issues, online magazines Feed and Suck.com, who merged last year into Automatic Media, have shut down after failing to raise enough funds to continue as a going concern. This comes as AOL Time Warner laid off most of Business 2.0's editorial staff, and soon after The Industry Standard slashed a large proportion of their staff. Just one of the unfortunate signs of consolidation in a weak advertising environment, and one in which alternatives such as micropayments and subscriptions have rarely been proven successful.

What Search Engine Strategy? (ChannelSeven, June 8th)
This article takes you through a few effective strategies for maximizing your ROI when marketing your site/service through the pay-for-placement search engines.

New Windows XP Feature Can Re-Edit Others' Sites (Wall Street Journal, June 7th)
A new feature presently included in one of the WinXP beta releases features functionality that will chill many a web publisher to the bone. Internet Explorer Smart Tags will control a websites functionality in some regards by creating links out of bare text - links that point to Microsoft-controlled or sanctioned properties that have not been approved by the web designer. Developers, claim Microsoft, will be able to opt-out of this system by placing a certain piece of code within their meta tags, and the feature will be turned off by default in the final release of the product. Nevertheless, this augmentation of content via a third party is bound to raise the ire of privacy advocates, IP lawyers and web publishers during the coming months. Feedback from other web publishers may be found here. Further comments from HardwareCentral may be found here.

Terra Lycos Trolls for Acquisitions (internet.com, June 7th)
With the demise of Excite@Home and NBCi's portal plays considered imminent, Terra Lycos is making yet another move to gain market share in an attempt to challenge giants AOL Time Warner, Microsoft and Yahoo! in the portal stakes. The company has penned a deal with eBay, stated that it will not proceed with talks regarding the possible acquisitions of CNET or EarthLink, and has committed to spending some of its cash reserves instead on picking up niche portal (otherwise known as vortal - vertical portal) plays.

Death of the Free Web (CNET, June 6th)
This special feature by CNET looks at the decline of the democratic, free information source that was the wild wild web. This special deals with several reasons for the decline, while pointing out the holes in business models that proliferated in the commercial web's early days. Importantly, it also provides suggestions as to the risks, threats and opportunities moving forward.

Is Netscape Leaving the Browser World? (BrowserWatch, June 6th)
Derived from the world's first ever graphical web browser, the Netscape browser was once dominant, and a preferred choice of web surfers around the world. Poor design and marketing, in addition to compatibility issues and aggressive moves made by Microsoft to gain market share soon saw Netscape relegate its crown. Now, in what could be seen as a final nail in the coffin for the browser, the AOL Time Warner-owned Netscape has announced that it will reduce its focus on browser technology and instead focus on enhancing the Netscape Netcenter portal. While this is great news for web designers, many will say a silent prayer for the once-mighty pioneer. Read comments about this announcement here.

Profitability Within Reach for Most Websites (internet.com, June 6th)
ActivMedia research, in surveying 500 executives and business managers at websites around the world, found that over half of those who are looking to make a profit from their sites are already doing so, with a large proportion of those in the red expecting to break even this year. This data refutes the overwhelming negative sentiment that has propogated throughout the industry since the dotcom meltdown.

Tricks of the Trade (CNET, June 5th)
Despite how you feel about their content, there's absolutely no doubt that adult web business has driven many of the most significant innovations in online technology and e-commerce. Everything from popups to subscription models, and streaming video through to age verification was pioneered with porn in mind. Now, CNET presents a fantastic guide to how you can leverage such technologies to make your mainstream site increasingly successful.

Flash Makes a Splash on Prime Time (internet.com, June 5th)
Developed for its ease of production and distribution online, Macromedia's Flash allows developers to animate and compress video sequences, audio and graphics as vector-based clips. The low cost of production has also led to the technology being increasingly used to create animations for television, including title sequences for Rosie O'Donnell and ad spots for NetZero.

Converting Your Existing HTML to XML (15 Seconds, June 5th)
The thought of converting 1000s of existing pages to XML specs will undoubtedly seem daunting to most web publishers. This article aims to relieve your tension by presenting information about third-party tools that can expediate this process.

ICAAN Kingdom Crumbling Among ccTLDs (internet.com, June 5th)
In yet another blow to the dominance of ICAAN as a governing body, a working group of ccTLD administrators has voted unanimously to withdraw from the organization's Domain Name Supporting Organization (DNSO). This decision was made in response to criticisms of undisclosed fees associated with being aligned with ICAAN, a lack of legislative influence granted to ccTLDs, and fears that ICAAN is operating out of the bounds of its interests.

Keywords: The Net's Future Naming Standard (NewsFactor, June 4th)
This article considers the opinions of proponents such as RealNames, AOL and Netword, who have long been trying to convince net users that navigation via keywords are the future of web surfing. Of course, doubters are many, due mainly to the fact that search engines already serve that purpose well, as do standard URLs, which (with regulation increasing to cut back on cybersquatting practices), generally take people to the appropriate destination simply by adding a ".com", ".net" or ".org" to the end of a company/topic/celebrity's name. Seems obvious enough.

Paid Placement is Catching On in Web Searches (NY Times, June 4th)
The model employed by GoTo.com to provide search engine placement based on the bids put forth by websites has long been the subject of controversy. The success of the firm to gain advertisers during even this most trying of periods, though, in addition to its appeal as a low-cost customer acquisition firm and a popular partner of the major portals has secured the concept of paid-for-placement listings as central to the search process. In fact, as this article reveals, most major portal and search engine players have incorporated the commercial pay-for-placement model into their services in one way or another.

Internet Playing Field Tilts Further Towards Big Names (internet.com, June 4th)
In a sign that confirms the death of the democratic ideal that proposed the impossibility for a few companies to control the flow of traffic and information on the internet, the latest numbers to come out of Jupiter Media Metrix have shown that more than 50% of US-based time online is spent at properties owned by just 4 entities (AOL Time Warner, Microsoft, Yahoo! and Napster Digital). Read more about the implications of this finding in this australia.internet.com article.


 
 
 

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