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Web Development Articles
(May 2001)

Increasing Integration of Net Boosts Content Management Market (internet.com, May 31st)
With extranets and corporate internet services becoming increasingly essential, and complex, the market for content management systems that support long-distance collaborative creation, as well as the rapid distribution of static, dynamic and rich media types is set for strong growth.

Internet Body to Take up Challenge (Excite News, May 31st)
Tired of remaining the butt of jokes, and the enemy of internet innovators, ICANN is apparently finally making moves towards establishing a task force and other systems that will oversee the expansion of the root domain selections.

Search Engine War Brewing (Newsbytes, May 30th)
According to referral stats collected by WebSideStory's StatMarket service, the search territory, once clearly dominated by pure-plays Yahoo! and AltaVista, is rapidly becoming a battle arena within which AOL, MSN, Google and Yahoo! are set to duke it out for audience dominance.

Hacker Flick Swordfish Taps Web Promotion, Contest (internet.com, May 29th)
Following from its successful and innovative online marketing effort for Spielberg's A.I., Warner Brothers have embarked on a similarly cryptic web promotion for hacker-flick Swordfish, with users gained access to the various 'levels' of the website through cross-media password hunts.

E-Mail List Sourcing (NewMedia, May 29th)
Many analysts, including Intel's Andy Grove, saw the dark side of eMarketer's estimates regarding the rapid growth in email marketing expected to take place over the next four years. Thie trend is likely to lead to increased spam, unless marketers source their lists responsibly. As such, this article presents tips for building a list legally and ethically. You might also like to read this ChannelSeven article about how good email marketers can turn bad.

A Global Web Law Lesson (Business 2.0, May 28th)
One of the greatest strengths of the web is that it effectively gives company execs and small business owners access to a global audience. What is often overlooked, though, is that establishing satellite offices, or even expanding a virtual business to service foreign markets, can be fraught with legal challenges.

Expanding the Commercial Value of PHP to the Enterprise (Intranet Journal, May 24th)
PHP, or hypertext preprocessor, is rapidly gaining momentum as the scripting language of choice for developers of web applications and dynamic delivery mechanisms. If you are unfamiliar with PHP, this article provides a reasonable introduction.

Two Teen Tech Titans Make the Grade (BW Online, May 24th)
While you may not know the names Bowman and Brockman yet, these two prodigious programmers are poised to become part of the tech lexicon as their search startup, Pinpoint Networks, establishes itself as a domainant first-mover in the wireless search field.

More Quality Content, Please (ClickZ, May 22nd)
There is an old marketing axiom suggesting that "content is king". This remains the case on the web, with content working not only to attract visitors, but to reduce their apprehensions about dealing with a company.

E-CRM: Making the Customer King? (ZDNet, May 21st)
With continuing price wars proving helpful to neither the battling retailers, or service-demanding consumers, e-retailers are wise to invest in refining their Customer Relationship Management solutions in order to grow a loyal customer base, suggests this article.

DoC Clears Landmark VeriSign-ICAAN Deal (internet.com, May 18th)
Despite recent revelations, the US Department of Commerce Friday approved the deal wherein ICAAN grants VeriSign exclusive control of the .net and .com registries. DoC has, however, included many safeguards within its analysis that will see VeriSign audited so as to keep its registrar and registry businesses seperate, and its exclusivity contract may become available sooner than expected if the new TLDs fail to attract sufficient market share.

Smoking Pistol Unravels VeriSign Domain Name Stitch-Up (The Register, May 18th)
The secrecy surrounding the ICAAN/VeriSign deal has launched a wave of investigation that culminated this week in the leaking of several internal memos suggesting that the VeriSign was, contrary to wheat ICANN officials stated, given preferential treatment in its bid to maintain control of the lucrative .com registry. Perhaps nervous of the results of the investigations that are to come, VeriSign has already expressed their own second-thoughts about the deal.

Lots O' Links (internet.com, May 17th)
Stuck for ideas? Establishing a website that is nothing but a collection of specialty links can help to overcome that case of developer's block, while opening windows to increased ideas and advertising opportunities.

Develop an Opt-In Email List (internet.com, May 16th)
This article provides a beginner's guide to the benefits of developing an effective email marketing/newsletter strategy to collect data, build a loyal community and encourage repeat visits to your site.

MLB.com: Play for Pay (Business 2.0, May 16th)
Major League Baseball went out on a limb to become one of the net's first subscriber-only consumer-oriented web services last year. Now, having signed up some 120,000 subscribers at $9.95/year, the service is being lauded as a case study in the successful implementation of a subscriber system. It seems that where the content is compelling enough, net users are willing to pay, despite their early reluctance to do so.

C&W Buys Digital Island for $340 Million (SiliconValley.com, May 14th)
The British telco giant has saved struggling web host Digital Island by announcing that it will acquire the firm to boost its own global web hosting reach. Digital Island announced earlier this month that they had scored a major contract with Microsoft, wherein the company would handle Microsoft's sizeable ad delivery needs.

VeriSign's Fate to be Determined on Monday (internet.com, May 11th)
Monday will see the US Department of Commerce pass judgement on the agreement set forth between ICANN and VeriSign that grants VeriSign the right to continue acting as both a registry and a registrar, despite the obvious conflicts of interest.

Survey: Personalization Crucial to Scoring New Customers, Data (internet.com, May 11th)
A significant study produced by Cyber Dialogue found that users are more inclined to register their personal details at a site and complete purchases if the site uses personalized marketing and technologies.

Hardly Any Portals in a Storm (MSNBC, May 10th)
The virtual shuttering of Go.com and NBCi, followed by suggestions that Excite At Home would flog off its also-ran portal lies as indication that AOL Time Warner, Microsoft and Yahoo! have emerged as clear winners in the portal wars.

Qualifying Prospects (ClickZ, May 8th)
In order to provide quality service to those leads who are most likely to make a purchase, it becomes necessary to put systems in place that help to differentiate between such users and those who are doing little more than cyber window shopping.

How Commercial Communities Can Click (BW Online, May 7th)
In its early days, the internet was heralded for its ability to become a global village, and a great medium through which both private conversations and multi-user communities could be facilitated across many miles. For some reason, many merchants seemed to dismiss the communal nature of the web as a novelty, ignoring how building a sense of community can be beneficial in increasing traffic, customer loyalty, return visits and revenue. This article highlights some cases in which the fostering of online communities has had a direct and measurable effect on a company's buttom-line.

Want Five Sure-Fire Marketing Rules? (ClickZ, May 7th)
This humorous article starts by claiming to have an answer for marketers that will produce positive results across the board, before slowly breaking down and eventually dismissing its own attractive statement and concluding that since each business is (or should be) unique, the successful marketing of that business will be similarly unique.

XML Databases Offer Greater Search Capabilities (ZDNet, May 7th)
The querying and retreival capabilities inherent in eXtensible Markup Language development will make accessing database information such as archives a far speedier process, experts have suggested.

Avenue A: Measuring Click-Through Not Sufficient (internet.com, May 7th)
While obvious, the findings of a study sanctioned by Avenue A have revealed that e-commerce drop-off rates, wherein a customer initiates a sale but backs out during the transaction process, are most dramatic when big-ticket items are at stake. The study implies that web developers must be more proactive in the process of tracking user behaviour in order to identify and reduce those 'leaks' that may be hindering conversion ratios.

Got a High Risk Moment? Use Strong Copy... (ClickZ, May 7th)
One of the strengths of the web in the facilitation of an e-commerce transaction is that merchants are generally aware of which steps in their sale conversion process are the riskiest in terms of confirming or losing a sale. This article presents the opinion that strong copy could effectively minimize this risk by guiding and compelling visitors to complete their transaction.

Content Still Rules the Roost (HitBox, May 4th)
What differentiates your site from another, and ensures a steady stream of return visitors is fresh, original content. This article gives a few hints regarding the three main options available to a content-hungry publisher. That is, creating your own, hiring someone or purchasing syndicated content.

E-Tailers Benefit When Customers Run the Show (E-Commerce Times, May 4th)
While many e-commerce designers, and analysts, have suggested that cookie-based user tracking and customization are key in the personalisation of one's online shopping experience, this article highlights further research suggesting that users would rather guide their own experiences by deciding which sites they would like to have personalized, and how.

Can Word of Mouth Save E-Commerce? (E-Commerce Times, May 4th)
Adverse press, constricting marketing budgets and a withdrawal from unproven advertising campaigns is driving a growing online trend towards actively encouraging word of mouth promotion. Whether in the form of a simple 'tell-a-friend' system, or lead and referral-based reward programs, companies are finding the targeted, personal and viral quality of word of mouth (or mouse) effective at building market share on a budget.

Three Ways to Pull a Prospect to You (ClickZ, May 4th)
Barry Silverstein here outlines three possible strategies that B2B companies can employ in order to attract leads, and fulfill personalized orders.

The Elitist Web (E-Commerce Guide, May 4th)
The assumption that the longer a user spends at one's e-commerce site, the more likely he is to make a purchase has almost unanimously been accepted as fact without question, due to its consistency with offline thought. This article questions whether or not that is always the case, and how easy navigation and a quick checkout can appeal to particular groups of consumers moreso than online games, forums, customer reviews and similar time-consuming lures.

Survival of the Fittest (ClickZ, May 4th)
In a competitive environment, especially one as expansive as the internet, Darwin's evolutionary theory is all the more relevant. Although there have been several high-profile online failures since the birth of the commercial web, those whose ventures are built around solid business plans, managed well and run tightly will weather any storm, suggests Cliff Kurtzman.

A Little CRM a Day Keeps the Liquidator Away (ClickZ, May 3rd)
This article suggests that while marketing and innovative business plans are great, in order for a company to progress beyond the funding stage to turn a profit and succeed for the long term, a company must focus on developing its support and other customer relationship systems.

E-Commerce is Dead, Long Live E-Commerce (internet.com, May 3rd)
Despite the share prices of many of its leaders still taking a pummelling, research from Shop.org indicates that the market for consumer-oriented e-commerce is continuing to grow rapidly, while customer acquisition costs and operating losses are decreasing. This bodes well for the future of the market.

Afilias Enlists WIPO's Help to Settle .info Disputes (internet.com, May 3rd)
With just months remaining until the eagerly-anticipated release of the new .info TLD, Affilias has aligned with WIPO to govern the dishing out of domains so as to protect the rights of trademark holders and minimise bad-faith cybersquatting. This move has been criticised by some.

Custom Error Pages Can Turn Problems Into Profits (Net-Ads, May 2nd)
Broken and/or outdated links, renamed files, typos, search engine archiving and many other factors can lead to users seeing 404 error pages upon visiting your site. In order to counter this, you should customize your error pages in order to redirect your potential customers to where they intended to go.

The Demise of NBCi (ClickZ, May 2nd)
Here, SearchEngineWatch's Danny Sullivan ponders the unsure future of NBCi and its various properties and assets.

Excite Next to Go? (SearchEngineWatch, May 2nd)
In the wake of the Go and NBCi portals effectively shutting up shop, Excite@Home's popular web properties could be the next to go, despite the fact that the company has poured billions of dollars into their narrowband ventures during the past 6 years. Excite@Home, its CEO suggests, will increase its focus on braodband subscription services.

Avoiding the Search Gap (SearchEngineWatch, May 2nd)
Several studies have suggested that a large proportion of net users utilise search engines in order to locate the information that they are seeking. Despite this, figures released from both StatMarket and Booz-Allen & Hamilton found that less than 10% of websites' daily traffic comes from search engines and portals. Danny Sullivan has coined the term 'search gap' to explain this discrepancy, wherein users employ search engines to find a site but, once found, they return to the site directly in the future. The tactic, then, is to make your site appealing enough on a first-impression basis to encourage such return visits.

Online Opportunities Still Exist (Excite News, May 2nd)
Since the internet stock bubble burst, business execs have wisely shifted their view from the internet being an industry sector unto itself, to a valuable marketing and sales channel to enhance their own business offerings. This article suggests that there are many opportunities for success online, but that jumping in without testing the water depth is hazardous.

All Aboard for Online Profits (CNET News.com, May 2nd)
Though it struggled to gain a foothold early in the net boom, the online travel sector, particularly in terms of ticket-booking outlets, has seen steady growth move it to one of the most promising and profitable service groups.

Search Engine Tips, Part I (internet.com, May 2nd)
This article gives an entry-level guide to search engine optimization. It is followed, obviously, by Search Engine Tips, Part II.

Warner Bros Web Campaign Goes Guerilla Route (internet.com, May 1st)
The brilliant online campaign used to promote Spielberg's next offering, A.I. incorporates dozens of mysterious websites, phone numbers and more in an effort to virally build interest in the film far before its launch date.

iVillage Strikes Promotional Deal With Coca Cola's Dasani (internet.com, May 1st)
In a similar deal to the one struck between Pepsi and Yahoo! several months ago, women's content network iVillage is to design and promote a new website for the Dasani range of bottled water. In return, iVillage will have its brand promoted on the product's packaging an on in-store displays.

Criticism of Flash Grows With Its Popularity (CNET News.com, May 1st)
Macromedia's user-friendly web animation package has brought designers a great range of freedom and flexibility in the creation of slick, avelte animations. Unfortunately, the package's ease of use has led to many inexperienced animators employing the package to create features that fail to serve the website's goals.

Online Messaging Means Instant Access to Customers (Upside.com, May 1st)
E-Commerce companies are quickly turning towards instant messaging technologies as avenues for customer support. IM not only offers instant gratification to customers, but its efficiency reduces the costs traditionally associated with providing toll-free phone support.


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