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Web Development Articles
(November 2001)



The Perils of Running a Small E-Business (E-Commerce Guide, November 30th)
With dead dotcoms littering th information superhighway like never before, the Gartner Group has issued guidance to those considering embarkinig on a small e-venture in order to increase their chances of gaining favor from investors and users.

Consumers Urged to Shop Online (BBC News, November 29th)
Finding that some 47% of the British online shopping public are concerned about the security of informatiion they disclose over the Net, the British Government has spearheaded a campaign aimed at promoting the security of web-based transactions in the lead-up to Christmas.

How to Increase Your Sales During the Holidays (InternetDay, November 29th)
This article presents five simple tips aimed to catching the attention and business of online shoppers this Christmas.

E-Taili Traffic Up 43% (E-Commerce Times, November 29th)
While reporting the heady traffic boosts experienced by major e-tailers shortly after Thanksgiving, this report is quick to note that such figures may not convert into impressive returns this season, since much of the increase has been driven by aggressive loss-leading promotions.

Online Shoppers Take Weekends Off...To Shop Offline (Newsbytes, November 27th)
Noting the findings of retail studies from last year, this article suggests that e-marketers focus on appealing to consumers while they are at work in order to reach them whenn they're more likely to choose the online shopping channel, rather than take a stroll to the local mall.

Holiday Bargain Hunting (eMarketer, November 26th)
The slowing economy is driving an ever-increasing number of consumers into bargain-hunting mode, with Accenture reporting that 45% of shoppers plan to actively seek out discounted sales and promotions ths Christmas season. The study also found that while 24% of online shoppers are planning to spend more online this year than last, a substantial 43% plan to spend less.

E-Tail's Comeback Kids (E-Commerce Times, November 26th)
The high-profile failures of many a pure-play internet retailer led many to declare the medium a mis-match for consumers looking to buy furniture and clothes. The successes of traditional catalog players and other brick-and-mortar retailers in peddling such products online of late suggests differently, though.

Christmas E-Tailing Shines (internet.com, November 23rd)
If the dramatic increases in online spending and activity at e-tail outlets following the Thanksgiving weekend is anything to go by, a bumper Christmas spending period is to be expected on the net.

Web Merchants Fish for New Holiday Hooks (E-Commerce Times, November 21st)
Though indications are that consumer budgets have shrunken in response to the incidents of September 11th and the subsequent economic fallout around the world, many research firms have found that the actual number of shoppers making online purchases as a component of their holiday spending is likely to remain stable or increase slightly, the race for attention is beginning to heat up. While few are foolish enough to embark on 1999-style publicity crusades, gimmicks such as free shipping, price competition, consumer credit extensions and the like are being employed en-masse.

Protecting Your Customers (E-Commerce Guide, November 21st)
The increase in order activity facing e-tailers during the Christmas season obviously has its benefits, but one threat that could dig into a merchant's margins this season is that of fraud, loss of orders through consumer hesitation and other security concerns. This article includes a few tips as to how an online retailer may prepare to face the key challenges in this arena.

Online Shopping: Satisfaction Guaranteed? (eMarketer, November 21st)
Research firm Retail Forward has found that although 64% of US internet users are satisfied with their online shopping experience, only 2% say their experience is free of frustration. Th leading causes opf frustration are said to be irritating advertising, congested webpages and slow load times.

ICANN's Lynn: No New Domains Anytime Soon (CNN, November 20th)
ICANN's CEO Stuart Lynn is interviewed here regarding the future of the top-level DNS as controlled by the body. The interview implies that it will be a long wait until any new generic top-level domains are rolled-out beyond the seven presently on the drawing board.

Raising Capital: Dos and Don'ts for Small E-Businesses (E-Commerce Times, November 20th)
The venture capital well has dried up substantially this year, bt there remain funds to be had by those entrepreneurs whose pitches, business plans and established niche-business show promise over-and-above the market norm. This article presents a wealth of tips, ranging from the project's preferred scope and perceived market to the attire that one should wear to meet with potential financiers.

Land of the Free (eMarketer, November 20th)
Figures produced by the Pew Internet & American Life Project have brought light to the reluctance consumers have towards paying for online services that were once free. The study has found that only 12% of those who were asked to pay for a previously-free service did so, while the bulk sought out free alternatives.

Study: Trust Central to E-Commerce, Online Marketing (internet.com, November 19th)
In confirmation of a trend that has become increasingly relevant, management consultants McKinsey & Co have found that a dramatic proportion of online consumers are resistent to filling out contact, membership or order forms online out of fear relating to how their information will be used by the collecting party.

E-Commerce Getting Ready for a Lean, Mean 2002 (E-Commerce Times, November 19th)
With 2001 proving a no-show for many, and the global economic decline expected to worsen before a late 2002 recovery, a number of e-commerce players are readying their businesses to perform at an optimum through 2002, by reducing their expenses, improving security and moving towards more affordable marketing endeavours in order to boost sales.

Businesses Fear Fraud-ian Slips (eMarketer, November 19th)
With the economy flailing, the proportion of e-tailers concerned about credit card fraud and chargebacks has increased markedly, with many buusinesses seeing fraud as a significant risk to their revenue.

E-Commerce Community Hails Tax Ban (E-Commerce Times, November 16th)
Faced with a broadly negetive economy, and a dire situation in e-tail in particular, George W Bush and team have asserted that the morotorium on Internet sales taxes will remain in place for another two years. This announcement was met with jubilation by US-based e-tailers, despite suggestion that sales taxes would almost certainily be imposed shortly after the expiration of this latest tax ban.

Is ICANN Finding Itself Again? (internet.com, November 16th)
For the best part of the past two years, the body assigned the task of governing the Internet's domain name systems has been heavily criticized for moving slowly, acting favorably towards particularly firms and putting too great an emphasis on the more beaurocratic elements of their task. Since Sept 11th, though, the firm has re-evaluated its position in the marketplace and resolved to return to its roots in ensuring the security and longevity of the Net's core infrastructure. This change has been met with wide acclaim. For comments regarding the government's role in this aspect of ICANN's charter, check out this Newsbytes article.

Yahoo! Is Soooo Over (Business 2.0, November 16th)
Terry Semel's plan to revitalize the web portal's sagging revenues in light of the global advertising slowdown has been met with jubilation by a few (mainly Overture shareholders, mind you, whose company is sure to get a boost out of Yahoo's decision to incorporate their paid listings within Yahoo's search results). One not set to jump for joy about Yahoo's future as a broadband entertainment and professional services play is Business 2.0's Erick Schonfeld. This article explains why Erick remains bearish about Yahoo's prospects. For yet more commentary on Yahoo's new focus, you may like to read this internet.com article.

Business.com Hops on Paid Listings Bandwagon (internet.com, November 16th)
And just as Yahoo! made its landmark announcement, the company best known for spending an incomprehensble $6 million on its domain name - business.com - has announced that it, too, will be boosting its marketing inventory by offering its listed sites the ability to gain premium positioning for a fixed monthly fee.

Toys Lead E-Tail Into Holiday Season (CyberAtlas, November 15th)
The week ending November 11th has been asserted as the first of the holiday season, as several web measurement firms finding that e-tail is up across-the-board. The most nontable leap, though, was in the sales of toys and games, which jumped 65% in the week according to Nielsen//NetRatings. BizRate also noted that the sector is expected to receive a boost from hype surrounding the XBox, GameCube and PlayStation 2 consoles, as well as Harry Potter movie merchandise, and that women will be responsible for placing the greatest number of toy orders online.

All I Really Want (ClickZ, November 15th)
Though essential all-year-round, it is often during the bumper holiday season that retailers seek to embrace the 'personal service with a smile' concept in an attempt to keep Christmas spirits high and to capture those willing consumer dollars. Smiles may not be visible in online channels, but through the provision of personalization options and rapid, imtimate contact channels, e-tailers can make buyers' experiences as positive as possible.

Yahoo! to Try Overture Search Results (internet.com, November 14th)
As part of its renewed focus (and likely in response to shareholder pressure at the sight of FindWhat and GoTo/Overture announcing their profitability recently), Yahoo! has announced that it will work with pay-for-placement search engine Overture to provide paid listings above all others when users perform keyword searches at Yahoo.com.

Holiday Cheer and Fear (eMarketer, November 14th)
While media usage is, across-the-board, being boosted by interest in world events spawned by the terrorist attacks upon the US, consumer spending this holiday season is widely expected to dip well below year-ago levels as confidence and personal prosperity slips in accordance with the economic recession. The results of another gloomy survey may be found in this CyberAtlas report.

More Indications of a Healthy Holiday Season Online (CyberAtlas, November 14th)
Then again...with reports such as this claiming that e-tailing s relatively immune to a recessionary environment since the bulk of regular online consumers are those who have comparitively high disposable incomes, this holiday spending period could prove lucrative despite the downturn. For more about this clash of expectations, check out the following CNET article.

New.net Distends Domain Dynasty (ISP-Planet, November 14th)
Having survived about a year now, New.net is already proving a ferocious competitor to ICANN, against all odds. This article looks at the promise offered by the alternative domain registrar, while also paying due attention to the daunting threats facing the firm.

ICANN: To Serve and Protect (Wired News, November 13th)
Just as security is being prioritized in various facets of the 'real-world', ICANN has been handed the task of increasing the ability of the internet's core systems to avoid suffering DNS abuse, or the exploitation of vulnerabilities present in other core-level systems.

FAST Search Engine Shifts into High Gear (SearchEngineWatch, November 13th)
While Google maintains its dominance in th crawler-based search department, late entrant FAST/AlltheWeb has recently enhanced its offering dramatically in a move that it hopes will assist the service in raising its profile with both consumers and corporate clients.

MindArrow Debuts E-Commerce Tool (internet.com, November 13th)
The race to develop secure and flexible rich-media emali products is continuing, with MindArrow claiming to have developed a product that successfully allows for secure transactions to be instigated and completed from within an email message - or from a popup window spawned by the email.

Interview: Verdi or Not, Hear Opera Come (eMarketer, November 13th)
Microsoft quickly and decidedly claimed victory in the much-publicized 'browser wars' of the late 90s over competitor Netscape and, to a lesser extent, upstarts such as Opera. Now, though, by focusing on creating the best product it can and establishing itself as a first mover into many device-based markets, Opera is gaining influence as an operating system/platform designer - and hopes to kep Microsoft on their toes for many years to come.

Ofoto-Genic: A Case Study (ClickZ, November 13th)
Here, Joseph Jaffe nontes those strategies employed by one successful online venture that could be translated across any number of web-based businesses/publications in order to make them increasingly responsive to the needs and desires of their audience, and subsequently more profitable.

Excite@Home Selling Its Portal (internet.com, November 12th)
After its parent was forced to file for bankruptcy protection at the end of September, the fate of the Excite search portal assets was in doubt until recently, when InfoSpace and iWon put forth an offer to acquire the intellectual property assets of the company for a mere $10 million (the portal was valued at $7.8 billion during the height of the bubble).

E-Tailers Retool for Profitability (SiliconValley.com, November 12th)
Realizing that e-commerce is hardly the world-changer that it once seemed, consumer-oriented e-tailers are revamping their websites and business plans in an effort to operate more efficiently and to take full advantage of the strengths presented by this unique medium wihout succumbing to its inherent weaknesses.

Image is Everything (InternetDay, November 12th)
The old adage that a book should not be judged by its cover has long been ignored in many aspects of society, and this article notes that first impressions carry a great weight online.

New Pricing for a New Century (ClickZ, November 12th)
Continuing from the sentiment expressed in the description above...the Web may not have changed the shopping world as we know it, but one aspect of the online realm that has fundamentally affected a paradigm established in retailing during the past several decades is the auction-style haggling and price competitions that have dominated online transactions.

Abandon Cart! (eMarketer, November 9th)
In a stunning statistic, Vividence has found that 75% of US web shoppers have abandoned their shopping cart before completing an order. The most common reasons for this are high shipping and handling fees, findings of comparison shopping and a simple change of mind. E-tailers must, therefore, look to reduce the number of steps and possible points of weakness or indecision from their sopping carts in order to maximize their conversion ratios.

E-Tail Shelter in a Teenage Wasteland (E-Commerce Times, November 9th)
The teen demographic is certainly very valuable to many e-commerce firms - not to mention a large proportion of brand marketers - but being that most web publishers have put away a few years beyond their teen days, it's essential that publishers looking to target this group endeavour to understand what drives the group, and which trends are likely to last longer than the average fad, in order to maintain credibility.

Growing Pains...the Birth of New Domains (internet.com, November 9th)
Perhaps if the administrators of the new domains set their expectations (and those of the internet public) a little lower, the many hiccups involved in the rollout of the first two gTLDs approved by ICAAN last year would have been relatively well received. As it stands, though, several delays and technological glitches pertaining to registrar and DNS hook-ups have tainted this phase. Nevertheless, with .biz and .info both live, it will soon become apparent whether or not the new domains manage to capture the attention and recognition of surfers.

Study: Web Privacy Concerns Cost $3.4 Billion (internet.com, November 8th)
E-Tailers have long been aware of consumer resistance to making online credit card purchases, despite the fact that these are easily as secure as their offlin equivalent, but new research from Cyber Dialogue paints a continuing dismal situation for those e-tailers who fail to adecquately highlight their security and privacy policies.

The New Paradigm: Back to Basics (WebReference, November 8th)
Now that online enterprises are starting to adhere to the principles that have defined successful business management for hundreds of years of capitalism, there is a resounding call that web execs go back to basics and properly evaluate their markets, margins, marketing strategies and the usability of their sites in an effort to slim down operations and move toward sustainable and profitable growth.

How Free Content Has Damaged the Content Industry (ClickZ, November 8th)
Gerry McGovern discusses how the wealth of free content found online may have long-term residual effects for the content production industries, after having presented the public with the false idea that quality content is cheap to produce and distribute. The author suggests that advertising alone will never fully support the online content industry, and that net users ad publishers alike will have to compromise in order to find some common ground in order to sustain the content biz.

E-Tail Victim (ClickZ, November 8th)
This case study highlights that niggling problems concerning order fulfillment can seriously dampen one's online shopping experience, and/or cause potential customers to abandon their shopping carts prior to completing an order.

NeuLevel Launches .biz Top Level Domain (internet.com, November 7th)
After suffering several setbacks - the most notable of which was legal acion brought against NeuLevel regarding the allegedly illegal format of the auction instigated by the frm to settle domain disputes - the long-awaited .biz TLD has finally gone live.

Retail Websites Choose Personalization Over Community (eMarketer, November 7th)
After finding that the costs and administrativ overheads involved in operating community features often outweigh the benefits, it has been found that while the vast majority of large US-based e-tail sites offer personalization features, very few offer message boards and the like.

Apparel Sellers Try New Web Gizmos (MSNBC, November 6th)
In an effort to improve the usability of their sites and to attract the attention of new users, several e-tailers are incorporating flashy new interactive elements into their web offerings.

Q3 Afternic Writedown Hurts Register.com (internet.com, November 6th)
After suffering at the hands of a dramatic downturn in domain name registrations, renewals and transfers, many players in the domain registration space have already been placed under immense pressure. Register.com - the second biggest retail registrar - has suffered a further strike following an on-paper writedown of its investment in Afternic, the domain name auction site.

Grab Those Eyeballs With AltaVista Listing Enhancements (SearchEngineWatch, November 6th)
In yet another case of a search engine/portal making the transition to paid listings in a bid to increase their revenues, AltaVista has launched an enhanced listings program that gives web marketers the chance to include logos, icons and/or taglines along with each of their listings for a relativly small time-based fee.

E-Commerce and Usability (WDVL, November 5th)
Andrew Starling looks at how best to design one's e-commerce site ini such a fashion as to maximise completed sales.

Coupons For Christmas (ClickZ, November 5th)
Several studies conducted during the web's formative stages have validated the worth of online coupons in the marketing plan of consumer-oriented e-commerce plays.

The Most Powerful Secret of Customer Conversion (ClickZ, November 5th)
Traditional business edict has long asserted that it's cheaper to keep an existing customer happy than to acquire a new one. In the realm of e-commerce, this means that the most important metric to monitor is that of what proportion of one's orders come from repeat customers. A low ratio would tend to suggest costly weaknesses present in the support, technical or order fulfillment departments.

In Good Form (E-Commerce Guide, November 5th)
While it's essential that web publishers and e-commerce brokers maintain solid communication with their visitors, making email addresses public can inadvertently lead to one's inbox being flooded with spam. The alternative suggested by this article is the establishment of a contact form that is processed server-side so as to ebb the tide of junk mail.

Who's Number 1? Depends Who Counts (Wired News, November 1st)
The heavily-contested battle for dominance in web measurement has created several sets of data - which often rank sites in significantly different positions as a result of employing varying methodologies and sample sizes. This article highlights the potential benefits of convergence within the market, and the establishment of measurement standards.

Remotely Working (WebReference, November 1st)
With the ranks of web designers and developers increasingly operating out of home offices, designer/author Nigel Gordijk offers some tips as to how remotely-stationed freelancers may maintain an effective flow of communication, trust and completed work with their respective clients.


 
 
 

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