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Web Development Articles
(March 2001)

Net Legal Advice Goes Online (Australian IT, March 30th)
Offering a service that many ISPs, publishers, advertisers and consumers have been eagerly awaiting, an Aussie firm has launched what is perhaps the world's first online legal practice specialising in internet and e-commerce law. Their site, OzNetLaw, is loaded with handy information regarding legislation, regulations, contracts, privacy protection and more. While it is Australia-centric, the resource is of use to most web professionals.

Five Questions With...Vint Cerf (Business 2.0, March 30th)
The net pioneer and former ICANN chairman here speaks about the direction and liberties that ICANN are taking in their role as controllers of the domain name system.

Eisner's Son's Site Romping Home (NY Post, March 29th)
Disney's CEO Michael Eisner may have no idea how to profit from the Web, but his son Eric Eisner is doing a cracking job of running a successful online content company. A favorite of college students for its edgy, original content, The Romp is quickly progressing towards profit through its newly-launched subscription model.

Lackluster Tech Sector Dulls Internet Image (DallasNews.com, March 29th)
With tech stocks in the ditches, the investment community is finally accepting that the Internet, while undoubtedly influential, has yet to alter the face of the economy as we know it. The article continues to talk about how the Net can be successfully employed as an element within a larger media/communications chain, and points out that subsequently its biggest beneficiaries are likely to be those traditional brands who are able to leverage the medium to its full effect.

The E-Commerce Confidence Game (E-Commerce Times, March 28th)
With confidence dropping within the investment community and apprehension remaining throughout the consumer ranks, this article ponders the short-term future of B2C e-commerce outlets, and comes up with an optimistic outlook overall.

About 80% of Bay Area Web Firms Will Fail, Study Finds (MSNBC, March 28th)
Figures released by real estate consultancy concerns regarding the state of San Francisco's tech firms sadly suggests that up to 80% of Bay Area dotcoms will shutter their offices by the end of this year, leading to a loss of some 30,000 jobs. During the boom, real estate costs in the tech-savvy area skyrocked. Read more about this issue here.

Report: Look Who's Making Money Online (E-Commerce Times, March 27th)
With all the talk of e-commerce failures taking the fanfare away from their successors, this article takes a refreshing turn by profiling several profitable internet companies, while highlighting their tactics for success.

Only One-Quarter of Content Sites Profitable: Study (Newsbytes, March 27th)
ActivMedia research has found that only 25% of online content sites have already reached profit, with an additional 29% expecting to break even before the end of 2001. The srticle also notes the average number of unique visitors attracted by such sites, the frequency of updates, average number of pages of content and the breakdown of revenue sources.

Eight Rules for Starting a Successful Internet Company (Upside.com, March 27th)
These brief guidelines, originally penned by John Brockman in 1996, remain as crucial today as they did during the seminal stages of web-based e-commerce.

PC Data Online Shuts Doors (internet.com, March 27th)
Major online media metrics firm, PC Data Online has announced that it will cease operations on April 13th; selling its assets to two upcoming audience measurement companies.

Supreme Court to Decide Web Publishing Suit (CNET News.com, March 27th)
The New York Times is challenging freelancers in an attempt to lay the ground rules for croos-media intellectrual property law. In effect, this case is to decide whether or not authors of print-based articles need to be paid additional royalties once their articles turn up in an online counterpart to the print publication. Read more about this debate here.

2001 Webmaster Survey (ZDNet, March 26th)
Features the results of both a survey and series of interviews conducted by ZDNet in regards to life within the web development community.

Net Addictions (Time.com, March 26th)
Sites that provide their users with 'sticky' entertainment features are perceived negatively by advertisers, as users are less likely to click on banners, but are great at building user loyalty, according to this brief article.

JavaScript Trips up Navigator (MSNBC, March 26th)
One of the greatest ironies of the browser wars has been Netscape's inconsistent treatment of Javascript (the cross-platform language developed by that very firm). Now, BugNet has reported a problem within Netscape 6's handling of radio button JavaScript.

Minnows 1, Whales 0 (Dan's Data, March 25th)
This inspirational article from Aussie hardware reviewer Daniel Rutter reveals that while ad dollars are not flowing hard and fast online, small indie publishers, whose expenses are minimal, are better-positioned that many of the larger syndicated plays launched by major media companies, most of whom are doomed to spend many years (a lifetime in internet time) in the red.

ICANN: New Domains Won't Lead to Cybersquatting (Excite News, March 22nd)
With the launch of 4 of the 7 new top level domains expected to take place mid-year, concerns have been raised about the ability of ICANN and its registrars to adecquately regulate the process in order to avoid cybersquatting. In response, spokespeople from ICANN and Register.com assert that they are well equipped to validate the identies of registrants and to protect the rights of trademark holders.

Around the World in 80 Ways (TechWeb, March 22nd)
While the internet provides the technological means for companies of all sizes to facilitate business across borders, many executives have expressed their apprehension and confusion about the administrative and cultural aspects of doing so. This article describes some strategies and software solutions aimed at minimising such concerns.

Variety Slips Into Subscription Outfit (CNET News.com, March 21st)
Owners of entertinment-related sites are well aware of the market's inability to fill that category's inventory at present. Now, even brand-name Variety.com has revealed that it could not survive on ad revenues alone. They have decided, instead, to follow the business model that their print publication has for decades, and to offer their content purely on a subscription basis.

Massacre at Tripod (Salon.com, March 20th)
Free hosts have often been accused of providing poor service and excessively controlling terms and conditions (remember the GeoCities copyright ownership fiasco?). This article notes a sour tale about Lycos-owned Tripod, which removed several fansites and anti-Malasian government member sites last Saturday, without warning. Read more about the fallout surrounding the removal of anti-Malasian government sites here.

Free Web Services: There's No Turning Back (Forbes.com, March 20th)
One of the reasons explaining the rapid rate of adoption and growth in usage rates of the Internet, and particularly the World Wide Web, is the fact that quality content, entertainment and web services have long been offered for free. Now that ad rates are falling, and companies are rapidly depleting their capital reserves, it has become apparent that providers of quality original content and services will have to start charging for their premium services in order to stay afloat. The problem is, web users have become conditioned into believing that everything on the net should be free, and are thus unlikely to respond in kind.

Web Company Shakeout Shows No Sign of Abating (Excite News, March 20th)
The rate of dotcom closures accelerated rapidly at the start of this year, and this article suggests that while the implosion rate has slowed somewhat, the near-term future remains bleak for those cash-starved firms who aren't able to lure funding, or cut costs quickly enough to break even.

Escaping the Web (TheStandard, March 19th)
In the wake of the internet hype of 98-99, many mid-sized companies are starting to reconsider their web strategies in order to best fulfill their needs, while cutting overheads. This article indicates three major saviour tactics: hand over operation of the site to a deep-pocketed partner, reconsider the site's mission or kill it outright.

Study: Most Internet Users Wary of E-Commerce (CNN.com, March 18th)
With the actions of crackers, organised thieves, email harvesters, personal data brokers and others haunting the cyber scene, a recent study indicates that a large proportion of Net users are still concerned about their security and privacy when interacting with e-commerce outlets. Such fears are potentially devastating for online merchants, unless methods are taken to reinforce consumer confidence.

New Rules for Shopping with Electronic Checks (E-Commerce Times, March 16th)
With e-commerce of growing importance to the global economy, and customer confidence in online security remaining low, sites are expected to offer alternative payment systems in order to improve their visit:sale conversion rates. Electronic checks are one such method.

Information Highway Offers Fewer Free Rides (USA Today, March 16th)
As the online advertising industry continues to struggle, and once money-magnetic online firms fail to draw funds from the VC or public markets, an increasing number of major web players are replacing or supplementing their free services with premium commercial options, in an attempt to increase their revenues.

Great Opportunities, No Bull (NewMedia, March 15th)
Many small business startups have seen huge success by launching online services. With the media focusing largely on the failures of the larger, VC and market-funded projects, though, the profitable stars of the e-business world are often overshadowed. This article highlights the work of those who have identified a problem and served a niche market with a solution that is only feasible online.

Content Sites Test Their Strength (TechWeb, March 14th)
This will undoubtedly be the toughest year yet for ad-dependent content sites. Success, suggests a Forrester Research report, will come through consolidation, identifying the value of every customer, personalizing content, and partnering with advertising clients.

Web Businesses Urged to Protect Privacy (TechWeb, March 14th)
In an effort to ease consumer security concerns, and to build customer confidence and loyalty, it is suggested that online businesses need to develop strict privacy policies.

It's Customer Service, Stupid (MSNBC, March 14th)
With billions stripped from the value of e-commerce ventures since April last year, former high-flying CEOs are returning to the Old Economy ideal of customer service in an attempt to secure their futures.

eBay's Whitman Says Web is Doing Just Fine (internet.com, March 14th)
In her kaynote address at Internet World, eBay's charismatic CEO Meg Whitman gave a bullish outlook for internet-based businesses. She also made a statment that most e-businesses have now come to accept as fact, "When it comes to running a successful business, there is only one economy,".

As the Web Turns From Free to Fee (MSNBC, March 13th)
With slowing ad sales threatening to drag down many a content-based web enterprise, entrepreneurs and tech execs are looking at how best to incorporate premium fee-based services into their suite of offerings in an effort to bolster revenues.

The Second Coming of Infoseek? (CNET News.com, March 13th)
With Disney all but abandoning its Go.com portal, and looking to sell its assets, including Infoseek's technology and servers, has met possible saviours from inside. A group of workers layed off from Disney's Internet Group have expressed their interest in reinvigorating the search pioneer.

Half of Consumer Retail Sites Reel in Profit (Newsbytes, March 13th)
Contrary to the reports favored by the mass media of late, this story highlights figures from ActivMedia Research indicating that 50% of all online B2C retailers are already seeing profits. The article goes on to point out that about a third of all online businesses are in the black, while 60% expect to be profitable before the end of the year.

Warning Issued on International Domains (ZDNet, March 12th)
It has been suggested that offering users the ability to reach sites by entering domain names in their own script (local 'language') would improve the internationalisation of the Web. It could also, note its contestors, create huge regulatory and technological problems.

ICANN Readies for 'Land' Rush (Wired News, March 12th)
The organizations given the right by ICANN to oversee and manage the seven new TLDs are rushing to develop their technological and regulatory systems to manage the huge influx of registrations that they are expected to encounter upon the launch of their services later this year. Read more about their preparedness here.

Web Hosters Push ASP Message (ZDNet, March 12th)
With pure-play application service providers seeing slow adoption of their technologies, those with direct access to probable clients for outsourced services - web hosting companies - are rolling out their own suite of ASP services.

Ballmer Calls XML the 'Next Revolution' (ZDNet, March 12th)
There's little doubt that the widespread adoption of eXtensible Markup Language will improve the flow of content and services across the Net. Baller, perhaps driven by the fact that Microsoft's .NET strategy pins its hopes on the popularity of XML, recently touted the benefits of the language.

Dotcoms Doing OK (Wired News, March 12th)
This article looks at the silver lining of the dotcom/tech crash. That being, the weeding out of the weak and the unproven, to a large extent, has forced the survivors into a period of innovation, self-evaluation and strengthening of business principles from a ground-roots level. The article also points out that while the 'new economy' is not set to replace the old, both the online and offline business worlds will see the greatest benefit from working in conjunction with one another.

Call for Privacy to be Automatic in Domain Name Process (Newsbytes, March 12th)
In response to NetworkSolutions' announcement that it would be selling personally-identifying portions of its database in an effort to profit from its registrants, TuCows has stood strong against this move, and is calling on ICANN to change its agreements with its accredited registrars in order to fend off this sale of data pertaining to any member other than those who have explicitly opted-in.

NetLedger Aims to Rule the Small Business Web (Excite News, March 11th)
In an effort to serve the small-business market with products and services that make managing a business more efficient, NetLedger has launched a web-based suite of applications that operate like a slimmed-down version of Oracle's e-business software.

AI Set to Deliver Web Pages That Think (InfoWorld.com, March 9th)
Singapore software developers Elipva hopes that web developers will embrace their artificial intelligence software, to transform websites that are simply functional into intelligent, responsive online environments.

ICANN: TLD Threat? What Threat? (Wired News, March 9th)
ICANN's Vint Cerf points out here the many weaknesses associated with domain name services that operate outside the jurisdiction of the organization to which he belongs. This announcement has been made in response to Idealabs much-ballyhoed New.net service, which was launched just recently. Read more about this issue here.

Excite@Home Offers New Search Engine (TechWeb, March 9th)
A new feature unveiled by Excite offers users the ability to narrow their searches and to eliminate spelling errors through its new Zoom In technology.

News Corp Taps Loudcloud (internet.com, March 9th)
Loudcloud, the web hosting, development, maintenance and infrastructure firm founded by Netscape's Marc Andreessen and others, has added News Corp to its impressive list of clients that already includes AOL, Oracle and Cognizant. Incidentally, the firm went public today.

Lessons of the Dotcom Shakeout (Christian Science Monitor, March 9th)
With Amazon.com, Yahoo and other former bellweathers struggling to stay afloat, and with AOL TW looking steady, Paul Van Slambrouck feels that the future of pure-play internet companies will not be as bright as their diversified clicks-and-mortar competitors.

Accelerating Towards a Better Search Engine (RedHerring, March 9th)
As the Web has blossomed in size and scope, most major search tools have been left behind - plagued by abuse, out-dated algorithms, and an unforgiving nature. This article outlines many of their shortcomings, while showcasing some services and theories that promise to improve the indexability and searchability of online content.

Second Inning Stretch (Forbes.com, March 8th)
Internet bigwigs and industry analysts see this turbulent period as a transition into the second phase of online business development. As this article reveals, though, while they all realise that change is needed in order to drive the industry forward, few are aware of exactly what needs to change, or when this will occur.

Slowdown May Shake Hosting Firms (Canoe News, March 7th)
Although the hosting market is expected to grow rapidly during the next five years, the economic slowdown, which has been hardest felt in the tech sector, could cause a greater shakeup for hosting firms than the Seattle quake.

Branded Web Domain Can Help Your Firm's Name Register With Clients (LA Times, March 7th)
Ever since Network Solutions lost its government-protected monopoly on the market for domain registration, consumers have been offered domains at increasingly cheaper prices. This article outlines a few of the cheapest ICANN-approved registrars, while highlighting several design and hosting options for the budget-conscious company who wants just a simple web presence.

Bust? What Bust? (Washington Post, March 7th)
The backdrop to the discussions at this year's Global Internet Summit were decidedly darker and more 'real' than the idealistic environment of last year. Nevertheless, the feelings and goals expressed at the conference were optimistic in tone, and show that the online revolution has just begun to gather speed.

Distributing Server Load to the Client with XML and XSL (15 Seconds, March 7th)
The eXtensible Markup Language (XML) is set to revolutionize the way data is processed and displayed on both the server and client side. This article explains how to use ASP to combine XML and XSL data on the client side, so as to preserve valuable server resources.

Bells and Whistles Fail to Increase Online Purchases (internet.com, March 6th)
A study by PricewaterhouseCoopers has looked at what features on an e-commerce site help to incite purchases, and which are ignored. Amongst themost effective features are the ability to search, close-up views and availability guides. It's thought that the popularity of these features over the advanced functionality offered on many sites is that they best represent how people are used to browsing for goods offline.

The Good News About E-Commerce (RedHerring.com, March 6th)
With headlines filled with stories of dot-com layoffs, failed executives and a very sick NASDAQ, an outsider may see the Internet industry as a dying fad, or as a collection of broken promises and flawed business models. From the ashes, though, many analysts are predicting a strong rise towards an new dawning of e-commerce - one in which businesses are developed to make, rather than burn, money.

XML: Like the Air We Breathe (TechWeb, March 6th)
XML is more than a markup language. It is set to revolutionize data processing and transfer across networks. This article outlines some of its capabilities, and the level of interest that this catchy acronym has drummed up thus far.

HP Products Put Small Businesses Online (internet.com, March 6th)
Hewlett-Packard has joined a growing list of IT companies offering online products and services aimed at getting, and keeping, small businesses online.

Graphics 101 (CNET, March 6th)
Everyone needs a refresher course every now and again. Whether you're new to web graphics or have been hacking PhotoShop and The Gimp for years, this discussion on file formats, compression, time-saving techniques and other aspects of creative graphic design is invaluable.

Online Insecurity (Boston Globe Online, March 6th)
Yet another study has been released detailing the fact that many web surfers still harbor concerns regarding the privacy and security of the data that they share with companies and the government online. As a result, several e-commerce figures have banded together to form the Privacy Leadership Initiative whose aims are to offer further security to data, and to reassure the public that interacting and shopping online is a safe practice.

XXX Domains May Be Hard Sell (Wired News, March 6th)
New.net recently announced that they would be operating outside of ICANN's jurisdiction to provide publishers with the right to use 20 new top-level domains (TLDs). Their decision to include .xxx within these, though, has arisen outrage from Domain Name Systems and its users. DNS has been selling .xxx and .sex domain names unofficially since November 2000, and has sold thousands of names thus far.

AOL TW Launches Netscape Toolbar on Content Sites (Excite News, March 6th)
Following their high-profile merger, AOL Time Warner are looking to unite their properties online by including a Netscape toolbar on each of their sites that gives their users instant access to email, instant messaging, search, etc.

Sex.com's Sordid Story (CNNfn, March 6th)
Undoubtedly the highest-profile case of domain name hijacking, the scandal surrounding sex.com is filled with more drama than a marathon session of Melrose Place. How will it end?

Web Site Services Market Will Top $600 Million by 2004 (Newsbytes, March 5th)
With small businesses becoming more savvy in their approach to the Web, simple web designers and hosts are being supplanted by eBusiness Service Providers (eBSP) who provide companies with assistance to manage and promote their web presence once they're online.

CyberCash Files for Bankruptcy (Las Vegas Sun, March 5th)
A high-profile provider of merchant services to several e-commerce sites and service providers has declared that it will file for bankruptcy protection after failing to raise enough funding to complete a merger. The company's future remains unclear.

It's Not Too Late (TheStandard, March 5th)
This brief article alludes to the fact that much of the press coverage surrounding net ventures has focused on the negative, giving potential entrepreneurs and tech-workers a bad case of the shakes. Instead, it is suggested, the burgeoning dot-com world still offers more opportunities for expansion than offline industries, while providing a comparable level of job security.

Start-up Will Sell Web Addresses to Bypass Internet Bureaucracy (MSNBC, March 5th)
With criticisms-a-plenty being launched at ICANN following their handling of the introduction of new domain name extensions, Idealab's Bill Gross has struck up several deals to facilitate the launch of a range of new extensions (including .xxx, .tech, .sport and .family) that will work on the peripheral of the current DNS services.

Bookstore Scores Big Via Internet (Detroit Free Press, March 5th)
Where Amazon.com has failed, a small bookstore based in Detoit has leveraged its distribution channels and marketing savvy to offer millions of titles to users of its website, while making enough money to become profitable in just a few months. The development of Web-based e-commerce was surrounded by tales of possible David and Goliath matchups, but few have proved to realise such goals. This is one such victory for the small business owner.

Don't Give Up on the Web (Fortune.com, March 5th)
There remain several untapped opportunities in the realm of creating profitable web ventures. For a dose of balance within this excessively negative environment, check out the eight success stories within this Fortune article.

ICANN: Launch of New Domain Names Behind Schedule (Excite News, March 4th)
Economic and organisational factors have collided to push back the release date of the new top level domains approved by ICANN several months behind their expected July launch date.

Running Lean and Mean to Survive in E-Business (E-Commerce Times, March 2nd)
One of the reasons explaining the severity of the dot-com shakeout is the fact that many of these companies grew too fast, and burnt cash too quickly. This article explains how running a lean, well-managed operation provides a greater chance of success in the present e-nvironment.

Small Businesses Integrating Internet into Operations (internet.com, March 1st)
Small businesses have long employed internet-based communication technologies to exchange information and orders with suppliers. Now, an increasing proportion of small businesses throughout the States have announced that they provide sales and support services for customers over the Net. Several have also reported that they have experimented with email marketing and wireless technologies.


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