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Web Development Articles
(October 2001)



Introduction to Web Technologies (NET-ADS, October 31st)
Starting out in web development can be a daunting experience. Many wanna-be web publishers, faced with a dizzying array of acronyms such as HTML, CSS, ASP, PHP and CGI unfortuunately give up in their attempts to tackle the complexities of the medium. This article provides a brief outline of the capabilities of each of these, as well as several other common technologies and protocols.

Convenience Key to Successful Holiday Season (CyberAtlas, October 31st)
Research from Jupiter Media Metrix asserts that this holiday season will see slower growth than usual in online shopping, due to the increasing financial hardships facing Americans and others - despite the perceived increase in the popularity of the web as a shopping medium as a result of uncertainty stemming from the terrorist crisis. The report has also found that convenience is given a higher priority than price this year, suggesting that e-tailers should tweak the usability of their site and related systems in order to streamline the buying process in time for the Christmas rush.

Tell-A-Friend: Viral Marketing Packs Clout Online (E-Commerce Times, October 31st)
The virtues of word-of-mouse marketing online has been well demonstrated and documented, but increasing its efficiency relies on a marketer identiifying and stimulating the interests of a particular group of community leaders and information disseminators.

Ask Jeeves About Its Dismal Quarter (internet.com, October 31st)
Falling well short of Wall Street estimates, Ask Jeeves has reported a massive loss of $27.5 million ($0.74 cents/share) for the past quarter; placing its blame on the slowing online ad market and the Sept 11th attacks.

Personalization vs Privacy Debate Heating Up (internet.com, October 31st)
Ever since the more than a year ago of DoubleClick's intent to link web surfing profiles with personally-identifying details from their massive Abacus database, privacy advocates and consumers alike have had their eyes peeled for Big-Brother-like activities online. Many web developers and online marketers, however, wish to continue using relaively innocent technologies such as cookie data storage, transparent tracking GIFs and anonymous profiles in order to both enrich a consumer's experience while surfing a personalized site, and to boost the publisher's ad revenues. This article notes that the debate is likely to reach a climax soon, resulting in greater clarity as to where the line must be drawn in order to best serve all parties.

New Rules For Writing An E-Business Plan (E-Commerce Times, October 30th)
Following the much-publicized bursting of the dotcom investment bubble, venture capitalists and angel investors have rightly increased their skepticism and vigilance in reviewing a potential investment. As such, it's essential that you abide by the principles noted in this article when formulating your formal business plan in order to give it the best chance of being read, considered and - hopefully - funded.

Internet Confidence Increases (eMarketer, October 30th)
Stats released from Yahoo!/ACNielsen's latest Internet Confidence Index suggests that although online sales have dropped since September 11th, consumer confidence in e-commerce continues to grow to record levels. For another interpretation of this figures, check out this InternetNews.com article.

Emails Opportunity to Shine (ClickZ, October 30th)
With the anthrax scare creating mail mayhem in many parts of the United States, and stimulating warnings for consumers and business owners to avoid opening letters from unknown senders, the spotlight has again been shone on the marketing potential of email. This article suggests a few tips as to how best to boost response rates triggered by your opt-in commercial mailings.

Amazon, NBC to Join Forces (The Seattle Times, October 30th)
How the tides have turned. Just 18 months ago, this title may have conjured up thoughts of a dynamic e-conquerer acquiring an old-world giant in a stock transaction. In the real world, though, this suggests that in a desperate bid to maintain the strength of its brand leading in to what is widely considered to be the troubled e-tailer's do-or-die season, Amazon.com has teamed up with NBC in a massive cross-promotional effort.

Web Site Content Writing for Start-Up (Internet Day, October 29th)
This fantastic article presents a brief guide to writing for the web in such a fashion as to capture and keep your visitors' attention.

Government Awards '.us' to NeuStar (NewsBytes, October 29th)
The United States' own ccTLD, .us, has failed to catch much attention as a result of unsure rules regarding its governance and the poplarity of the more generic TLDs. After successfully bidding for the management rights to the ccTLD from the US Commerce Department, though, NeuStar hopes to bring the space back into public awareness by revamping its rules in advance of a full-scale 2002 roll-out.

E-Commerce Metrics: Drowning In Your Own Data? (ClickZ, October 29th)
With the web rightfully touted as the most accountable and measurable of all mainstream media, it's all too easy to become flooded in data when attempting to analyze a site's ROI and the effectiveness of its marketing campaigns. Here, Brian Eisenberg cuts through the clutter to highlight which metrics are the most essential for those who wish to get back-to-basics in their analysis.

Interview: Sneezing Godin's Ideavirus (eMarketer, October 28th)
During the height of the dotcom boom, when the term 'viral marketing' propagated throughout marketing circles much in the same manner as its namesakes did through the net's public conscious, Seth Godin released a book entitled Unleashing the Ideavirus that attempted to take stock of this affordable method of generating buzz. Given that viral marketing is likely to remain hot throughout the foreseeable future in this presonal-communication-drivenm landscape, eMarketer has returned to the source more than a year later to interview Mr Godin about the concept and the future of viral marketing.

U.S. E-Commerce Returning to Pre-Attack Levels (InfoWorld, October 26th)
Figures released by ComScore Networks have highlighted that, despite a continued downturn in travel expenditure, e-commerce spending has bounced back to pre-attack levels in the five weeks since the attacks upon te WTC and Pentagon in the USA.

How Young Should E-Commerce Go? (E-Commerce Times, October 26th)
Many reports have been released of late noting the growing importance of marketing to teenagers in the agendas of many brand marketers, but doing so poses several financial and legal risks if handled poorly.

For E-Commerce, a Return to Normalcy (internet.com, October 26th)
Data released by comScore Networks has revealed that, with the exception of the travel sector, consumer e-commerce actvity has largely returned to pre-attack levels.

Overture Pulls Off Web Miracle (MSNBC, October 26th)
Shortly after re-branding itself from GoTo.com to Overture Services, the pay-for-placement search pioneer has beaten estimates and recorded its first profitable quarter - experiencinig a huge leap in its stock value as a result.

NetRatings to Buy Jupiter Media Metrix, eRatings.com (internet.com, October 25th)
In signs of further consolidation within the hotly-contested web measurement space, NetRatings has made simultaneous bids to acquire publicly-listed competitor Jupiter Media Metrix and the eRatings unit of ACNielsen. If the Media Metrix transaction is approved by the company's shareholders, the combined entity will become the dominant player in the web measurement market.

Preparing for the Worst (E-Commerce Guide, October 25th)
As online publishers, marketers and e-tailers, our systems of business rely largely on the stability of our respective web presences. As such, preparation for the accidental destruction, corruption, disruption or potential theft of such digital data is essential in safeguarding the business' short-term survival. This article present tips regarding the backing up and protection of e-data.

Developing a Web Presence (eMarketer, October 24th)
This great (albeit brief) report reveals those industry trends that web developers consider will dominate the industry during the coming 1-2 years, while also noting what are those barriers that are perceived to be greatest, and what are the average costs related to developing websites of varying sizes.

September 11th's Impact on Life and Your Business (ClickZ, October 24th)
Sean Carton and firm have surveyed people from many of the states and nations affected by the terrorist attacks of September 11th in order to find how consumer values have changed in response to the incident. The mindset shifts are summarized here, along with a link to the full report.

.Info Racks Up Half-Million Customers (internet.com, October 24th)
Though the statements made by Afilias rgarding the uptake of .info exceeding the rate at which .com gained favor in the early nineties obviously being overblown and out-of-context, the group has reached an important milestone in the delivery of its half-millionth registration of the gTLD that was released only three months ago.

The Keyword at Google: Growth (BusinessWeek Online, October 23rd)
The search engine upstart of internet legend is banking on the breadth of its public appeal to boost its popularity within the corporate scene where more established players Inktomi and Verity maintain a foothold.

Internet For All (E-Commerce Guide, October 23rd)
The reach of the Internet has brought a world of information to people of all ages, races and creeds. This democratic ideal, however, has not in all cases been extended to those with physical disabilities as a result of careless design. This article notes how a web developer may prepare her site so as to comply with the same regulations that guide the US government in making sites that are accessible to as many people as possible.

What Online Shoppers Expect - Today (E-Commerce Times, October 23rd)
With the skills of the net public on the increase and the demographics of said audience changing as late adopters become a large part of the wired population, the needs of those who intend to shop online are changing. This article presents a guide to the most noteworthy features and systems demanded by users currently.

Amazon.com's Last-Minute Overhaul (ABCNews.com, October 23rd)
Feeling increasing pressure from the investment community, Amazon.com has announced a fundamental shift in its business plan that will see the company become increasingly a service provider and transaction facilitator rather than a pureplay e-tailer concerned with customer acquisition and expensive order fulfillment.

Ghost of Christmas Past: eToys is Back (internet.com, October 23rd)
A high-profile symbol of the high-flying and quick-dying days of the dotcom bubble, eToys perished almost a year ago, but has now had its brand and online shopping service resurrected by brick-and-mortar toy retailer KBToys - just in time for Christmas.

Monitoring Web Visitor Behaviour Gets Deeper (internet.com, October 22nd)
Two established players in the field of web tracking and audience measurement, WebSideStory and comCast have teamed up to provide their clients with an advanced tracking product that reportedly better assists publishers in gauging their strengths as compared to those of their competitors.

New Records Predicted For Holiday E-Commerce (CyberAtlas, October 22nd)
Though many corners of the economy are likely to remain in a state off ill-health through Christmas, e-tailers of the world are set to see big increases in consumer activity and spending according to a recent study performed by Harris Interactive and Nielsen//NetRatings. Apparel, books/music/video, auctions and toy sales are expected to lead the pack.

A Little Christmas (ClickZ, October 22nd)
Dana Blankenhorn here brings light on the positive economic data noted in the article above, while continuing by highlighting some key points that e-tailers should be considering in preparation of a willing, but cautious, consumer crowd this season.

E-Tailers Realize Money Can't Buy Loyalty (E-Commerce Times, October 19th)
In the heady days of the dot-com bubble, countless e-tailers were offering giveaways and other dramatic promotions ini an effort to catch consumer attention and (hopefully) to generate loyalty and brand-awareness through such expenses. As we are well aware in hindsight, these promotions oftn did more damage than good, with Jupiter Media Metrix finding that no only did many consumers feel no guilt in collecting such freebies and coupons, but they felt little loyalty to the firm offering them such gifts.

U-Commerce in E-Urope (eMarketer, October 18th)
A survey conducted by Accenture of board-level execs has found that most companies, particularly those within Europe, are developing ubiquitous-commerce plans designed to offer customers a wealth of transaction channels from which to choose.

Design for Community (WDVL, October 18th)
This is a digital version of Chapter 5 from the book Design for Community, which advises how best to create, build and maintain forums and other community features online.

How to Build Your Mailing List and Stay Sane (NET-ADS, October 17th)
Just as increasing traffic to one's website is a challenging and on-going process that must be tackld on many fronts, building opt-in subscriber numbers to your mailing list does take time and effort. With the help of this article, though, you should be able to reduce some of the groundwork and trial-and-error.

Top Seven Tips for Writing Articles on the Internet (NET-ADS, October 17th)
One mistake that many marketers make when transitioning a sales pitch or other copy to the internet is maintaining copy originally produced for print. The Web is a different beast in terms of usage, and this article notes seven essential points to consider when writing for the online audience.

How To Easily Keep Your Website Fresh (NET-ADS, October 17th)
This article by Tom Falco highlights the ease by which a website administrator may add a seasonal touch to her website in order to convey freshness and to highlight special features.

It Takes X-Ray Vision to Shop the Web (InternetDay, October 17th)
The effectiveness of a site's navigation and available search functionality is crucial to determining that site's success in securing sales throughout its broad inventory range.

Innovation Not Required (E-Commerce Guide, October 17th)
This brief guide suggests that, for purposes of usability, designers of e-commerce destinations should stick to the tried-and-true basic of navigation rather than attempt innovative designs that could risk lost sales through unfamiliarity with the interface.

Forrester Maintains $11B Estimate For Holiday E-Tail (E-Commerce Times, October 17th)
Forrester Research has released a report suggesting that although online consumer spending declined somewhat in September of his year, scares regarding air travel coupled with the willingness of thousands to offer relief donations online of late (which may have been the first online credit card transaction for many) points towards reasonable growth in e-spending this crucial holiday season.

XO Marks the bCentral Spot for Microsoft (internet.com, October 17th)
Microsoft Corp. has selected broadband company XO Communications, Inc. as Microsoft's private label hosting provider for its 1.6 million small business bCentral registered users.

An Action Plan For Marketing Your Website (NET-ADS, October 16th)
Contributing author Joanne Glasspoole here presents a solid, and very comprehensive, guide to the options available in developing and executing a website marketing plan. Most of the avenues highlighted here are free or low-cost methods of promotion.

Making a Lasting Impression (eCRMguide, October 16th)
First impressions can be a make-or-break concept in web design, with the layout and usability of the front page of a site often determining whether or not a visitor will be compelled to bookmark a site, or to complete an online purchase through that channnel. This article nontes a few design recommendations put forth by the Usability Science Corporation in its study of those elements that most determin the success of a web design product.

W3C Recommends Extensible Stylesheet Language (internet.com, October 16th)
In an effort to move increasingly towards an XML-dominated environment in which cross-compatibility of standards, protocols and displays is tantamount, and in which the speed of online data retrieval and delivery is enhanced, the World Wide Web Consortium has put forth a recommendation to have the Extensible Stylesheet Language (XSL) 1.0 made standard.

With Your Permission (eMarketer, October 16th)
eMarketer's Jonathan Jackson jubilantly reveals the results of a study performed by IMT Strategies regarding consumer reactions to unsolicited commercial mail vs permission-marketing meessages. The report found that a large majority of online consumers deletes spam mail without even opening the message, while permission-based deliveries are far more likely to be read with interest than their unsolicited counterparts. Chalk one up for the real marketers!

Building Successful Web Sites On The Cheap (EarthWeb, October 15th)
Though those from the guerilla camp of the web publishing community are likely aware of the inexpensive techniques that may be employed to develop and promote a site, this brief guide offers tips for newbies that will see them cut costs far enough as to allow one to develop and launch a site with no financial outlay whatsoever.

The (Domain) Name Game (WDVL, October 15th)
One of the most challenging experiences facing a web publisher, marketer or designer upon starting a new product is securing a domain name that accurately reflects the feeling or purpose of the work. This feature takes beginning domain registrants through the paces of a market that has remained incredibly competitive and, in some respects, confusing even in the wake of the burstinig of the tech bubble.

Consumers Choose Safety This Holiday Season (eMarketer, October 15th)
Concerned about the continued threat of terrorist action on US soil, many consumers are planning to avoid the shopping malls this holiday season, with a significant proportion of those stating that security concerns are the central reason for them making a decision to shop online instead.

Developing Your Project Doesn't Have to be Rocket Science (ClickZ, October 15th)
This article outlines a few healthy principles to follow when planning and developing a web or intranet project from the ground up.

eShopping Knowledge and Misconceptions (eMarketer, October 12th)
National Consumers League as revealed a set of figures noting net consumers' understanding of the risks and security aspeects of shopping online, with some surprising results.

L.A. Judge Bars Lottery For '.biz' Domain (CNN.com, October 12th)
Considering that ICANN took months to sift through applications to find the best companies to manage the new domains, it has been disappointing beyond belief to see the .info rolloutt shrouded in controversy over the abuse of its sunrise period. Now, Neulevel - the group assigned the task of managing the .biz domain - has had its auction-style dispute resolution halted by a Las Angeles judge who has been asked to considering the legality of the format.

New Net Domain 'Fiasco' (BBC News, October 12th)
Speaking of...(see above)...this article highlights the controversy surrounding the flawed 'sunrise' period in which trademark holders were invited to register .info domain names ahead of the general public. Afilias spokespeople later contacted The Register about the many tribulations surrounding the TLD's early management. That report may be found here.

Yahoo!, MSN Battle Over Traffic Figures (NewsFactor, October 12th)
For the pure-play portal of internet folklore, maintaining a position of leadership in reach is crucial. As such, disputes by MSN regarding its popularity (MSN notes that Jupiter Media Metrix has rated the MSN search portal above Yahoo's in terms of reach) have been challenged with vigour by Yahoo!, who have both dismissed Jupiter's methodology over that of competitor Nielsen//NetRatings and claimed that MSN's figures have been artificially boosted by its control over misspelled domains.

VeriSign to Offer Keywords to Registrars (internet.com, October 12th)
Boosting the prospects of RealNames, Inc. - whose keyword navigation product has failed multiple attempts to capture consumer attention thus far - the company who holds monopolistic control over the .com and .net registries has signed a deal with RealNames that will see its keyword product made available through several domain name registrars. According to the company, keyword usage through the IE web browser is up 250% over last year.

Serial Dating or Long-Term Relationship? (ClickZ, October 12th)
Gimmicks, sales and loss-leading measures can bring any online company a short-term boost in sales and interest, but such marketing techniques rarely prove viable over the long-term, as this article notes.

Pass It On (eMarketer, October 9th)
Jonathan Jackson presents an outline of the viral marketing phenomenon, while noting which are seen as the biggest obstacles to the successful implementation of a campaign of this type.

Differentiation: It's in the Details (ClickZ, October 9th)
While it's prudent to adhere to established design principles in creating a site's navigation elements, layout and flow, brands must learn to differentiate themselves from the crowds in order to establish a unique identity online. Martin Lindstrom suggests that such qualities may be found in the details - copy, personality, community features, visuals, policies, etc.

Lessons From the Content Trenches (australia.internet.com, October 9th)
This article highlights some of the most successful viral gems to grace web folklore. The article also points out the fallacies inherent in the belief that viral marketing can succeed simply by following a recipe or attempting to clone a previously-successful effort with a commercial spin.

Feeling E-Bandoned? (E-Commerce Guide, October 9th)
This article takes a constructive look at the common problem of shopping cart abandonment.

How Many Holes Are In Your Bucket? (ClickZ, October 8th)
Building upon the article above, this piece looks at how best to identify the weak spots in one's website in order to reduce abandond sales and registrations.

Achieve Ranks Through Content, Not Money (InternetDay, October 5th)
While the paid-placement and paid-inclusion business models adopted by revenue-starved search engines and directories of late has been at the center of attention of the industry, this article notes the importance of writing for the web in such a fashion as to improve the old-school search engine positioning of your site's content.

CGI Project: Creating a Flat-File Counter (HitBox, October 5th)
Continuing on its series of articles for beginning CGI/Perl hacks, the HitBox team here presents a tutorial that will take you through the process of writing a simple flat-file visitor counter that is designed to display how many times people have requested a particular page on your site.

Digital Island Launches 2Way Web Services (internet.com, October 4th)
Fresh from the completion of its acquisition by telco giant Cable & Wireless, Digital Island has released a unified collection of web services that aim to more efficiently manage the sorting, processing and delivery of content, as well as the management of digital rights and other assets, and the facilitation of digital transactions. The system competes with giants such as Akamai on many fronts, and also bears much in common with Engage's recent last-ditched effort to revitalize its brand. The system being peddled by Digital Island has been applauded by many.

Does Anybody Know What Time It Is? Does Anybody Care? (ClickZ, October 4th)
One of the early promises of email was that messages could be sent and received at any time, any place. Here, though, Rebecca Lieb rightfully notes that timing plays an important role in determining how a visitor will react to an email, and thus must be considered when planning and executing any email-based promotional campaign.

beenz.com Finds Buyer for Assets (internet.com, October 4th)
After exiting its business last month, one of the once-leading alternative currency plays (Flooz gave up the game shortly before Beenz) has successfully sold many of its assets to Carlson Marketing Group. The assets in question will allow Carlson to further mobilize its popular rewards schemes in the online sphere.

Overcoming Public Participation Challenges by Going Online (PR Insight, October 4th)
The highlight of this article is a checklist of recommendations that may assist in opening up your company's operations to public participation, suggestions and an active support process via online means that takes some of the burden away from the company's own support staff.

Case Study: Fresh-Squeezed Branding (eMarketer, October 4th)
This study indicates the success enjoyed by Minute Maid in their online launch of the new Simply Orange Juice product. After researching what consumers are looking for in a packaged-goods site, the development team contracted by the firm focused on promoting the site via the offer of a contest, TV spots and a few viral elements in a move that was successful in helping the company build substantial list of opt-in prospects.

Search Engine Optimization and the Law (SearchEngineWatch, October 3rd)
Though it's an issue that's been around for a while, this article provides an excellent overview of the possibly anti-competitive consequences of including trademarked names, phrases and terms related specifically to your competitors within your META tags, or as par of your paid-placement buys.

Amazon Needs A Christmas Present (BW Online, October 2nd)
Just when you thought your own e-commerce or ad-supporteed venture was suffering, an article such as this comes along to suggest that things are not so bad for the smaller operators who were able to avoid the bloat associated with making a bid to be number one in the general e-commerce space. After a few years of struggling to reach profitability (and another few in which this wasn't a priority) Amazon.com's time is running out. As this article suggests, if Bezos and Co fail to reach their target for a quarter 4 break-even, the company may be unable to raise the additional funds necessary to maintain operations.

About Face at About.com (SearchEngineWatch, October 2nd)
Speaking of once high-flying firms whose future is in question, About.com is in the midst of a sweeping series of transformations - not the least of which has been the firing of 300 of the company's Guides. This article outlines how the transitional period presently engulfing the firm has created many obstacles for surfers seking the information that used to be a central offering of Primedia's online properties.

Top 10 Ideavirus Tips (eMarketer, October 2nd)
Viral marketing is a phenomena that creates phenomena. That is, it is a concept unique in scope and speed to the digital age, and more specifically to distribution via word-of-mouse. This feature reveals a checklist of steps to consider when developing a gimmick with the goal of having awareness of your firm spread quickly, inexpensively and without intervention.

The Next Generation of Knowledgebase (E-Commerce Guide, October 2nd)
The incremental development and refinement of publicly-accessible knowledgebases can significantly ease an organization's support resources. Even more useful, suggests Alexis Gutzman, are interactive FAQs that feature rating/comment features not unlike a formally-structured forum.

A New Tone for the Holiday Season (ChannelSeven, October 1st)
In the wake of the September 11th terrorist attacks, and with war and a global recession looming on the horizon, this holiday season will be unlike any other experienced during the past few decades. As such, Pamela Parker recommends in this article that marketers, publishers and e-commerce players remain conscious of the messages that they are putting forth in their bids to appeal to consumers whose values and priorities have shifted.

Applications Used to Manage Content Overflow (CyberAtlas, October 1st)
The quantity of digital information held by individual companies, and the internet at large, is expanding at an incredible rate. As such, it becomes only logical that the market for efficient and effective content management systems is set to explode. This article notes estimates as to how large this market (which will most certainly be exploited by web publishers) is expected to become in the near future.

FindWhat.com Expands CNET Deal (internet.com, October 1st)
For the paid-placement players, distribution is core to their success. As such, the news that CNET has expanded its deal to have FindWhat power a large proportion of the searches made through its website and WebFerret application comes at a key time in for FindWhat, who would otherwise most certainly have suffered at the loss of the now-bankrupt Excite portal.

The Email Arms Race (ClickZ, October 1st)
Here, Dana Blankenhorn brings up an increasingly important warning regarding the demise of email as a viable marketing medium as a direct result of the medium's abuse by spammers and other unethical 'marketers'. This also risks that expensive rich-media platforms will not be embraced by legitimate marketers, but will instead be used by spammers in a desperate bid to gain attention or to create potential security threats.


 
 
 

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