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Web Development Articles
(September 2001)



PayPal Files for IPO (internet.com, September 30th)
Bucking the trend that has been the norm since the dramatic bursting of the dot-com bubble, online payment facilitator PayPal has filed for an initial public offering. This comes despite the fact that the firm has yet to break-even, though the rapid reach established by the company, particularly within affiliate marketing and auction circles, has made many of the world's leading financial institutions sit up and take note of a company that could conceivably become an acquisition target by any number of major players.

Excite@Home Pulls the Plug (internet.com, September 29th)
After years of racking up deep losses in an effort to establish itself as a leading broadband technology and content provider, Excite@Home has been forced to enter bankruptcy procedures in order to protect itself from its creditors. Major shareholder AT&T will acquire the company's broadband business, but the future of the also-ran Excite portal is in serious doubt.

Staying Online When Servers Fail (ISP-Planet, September 28th)
This article reviews Tzolkin Corporation's AutoFailover service, which promises to monitor internet servers, balance load among multiple servers, and automatically route to alternate servers when the primary server fails. No downtime - every webmaster's dream!

Should Your Company Use Pay-Per-Click Engines? (InternetDay, September 28th)
The overwhelming success of the pay-for-placement and pay-for-inclusion models adopted by many leading directories and search engines of late has forced online marketers to seriously consider whether or not value is to be had in puchasing commercial listings on such outlets. This article investigates that precise question, while also cross-comparing the leading pay-for-placement engines for suitability.

Cooking Sites Whip Up Audiences (internet.com, September 28th)
Recent findings of a study conducted by InsightExpress bode well for culinary sites. The research firm has found that more people turn to the internet than magazines for recipes and cooking advice - making the market a desirable target for the consumer-oriented brands that have traditionally flocked to cooking magazines.

Publishing Your Own Newsletter (E-Commerce Guide, September 27th)
While some of her recommended methods are highly dubious from an ethical standpoint (such as harvesting opt-outs from your own email folders), Alexis Gutzman's beginners guide to publishing an email newsletter offers several handy tips as to how best to proceed with your entry into that intensely personal medium.

Crisis Means More News Traffic, Disrupts E-Commerce (CyberAtlas, September 27th)
Seeking additional information regarding the historical terrorists attacks that shocked the world just a few weeks ago, and the corresponding action taken by the leaders of several nations, news-oriented sites registered significant traffic increases (though since most sacrificed advertising and advertorial space to cover the incident, few saw commercial benefit from the tragedy). During the same period, online consumers temporarily lost interest in shopping online, with the tightening of wallets seeing double-figure percentage decreases in day-to-day spending for much of the two weeks following the attacks. Fortunately, the messages sent by George Bush and others regarding the desperate need for citizens of the world to return to business as usual, and to trust in their economy has since seen spending levels return to normal.

ICANN Table Current Agenda (internet.com, September 27th)
Given the rapidly changing face of the business world post-attack, ICANN has reordered its quarterly meeting with an emphasis placed on returning to the principles upon which the internet was designed for in its early days - that being, a secure, stable communications medium that cannot be interrupted by aggressive forces.

Despite the Economy, Consumer Confidence Rises (eMarketer, September 26th)
The key fear plaguing economists at at present is whether or not consumer confidence will remain strong enough during Q4, 2001 as to keep the US economy humming along in positive territory. If a recent survey conducted by Yahoo/AC Nielsen is anything to go by, consumer confidence remains suitably high, and will drive e-commerce revenues into an impressive growth period leading up to the big-spending holiday season.

The Hidden Drawback of Consolidation (internet.com, September 26th)
Efforts to consolidate are almost without exception result in several delicate and complex processes as management, staff, customer databases and brands are merged. VeriSign, who recently picked up the assets of e-commerce facilitator CyberCash during the company's bankruptcy proceedings, is finding out just how complex a merger can be in its attempts to transition all former CyberCash clients over to its own Payflow-Pro system.

Writing for Search Engines (SearchEngineWatch, September 26th)
This disappointingly scanty article that reads more like an ad for INT Media's conferences than an informative piece of promotional advice suggests that web developers consider writing not only for their human audience, but with the invisible audience of keyword-hunting search engine robots in mind, in order to acheive the best possible search engine positioning.

Osama bin Laden Outranks Britney Spears in Web Searches (NET-ADS, September 25th)
The overwhelming series of events spawned from the September 11th terrorist attacks made against the USA have fundamentally changed the way many of us operate. Within this commentary, search engine optimization specialist Mike Valentine notes just how dramatically the world's online interests and priorities have shifted since the event, based on the popularity of certain keywords and phrases processes by the search engines.

Building Web Sites From Start To Finish (WDVL, September 25th)
This is a fantastic guide for web developers of all experience levels, but is escpecially of value to those who have only recently entered the professional design and development market, and who have yet to establish a comfortable footing in the dynamic blend of art, business, law and technology that is the industry.

Building the Organic Portal...One Visitor At A Time (E-Commerce Guide, September 25th)
Here, Alexis Gutzman discusses the evolution of online discussion groups and the popular portal structure of organizing information into a communal information source devoted to a central topic, and whose content is created exclusively and incrementally by visitors to the site.

Real-World SVG (CNET Builder.com, September 25th)
This tutorial/feature notes that those who pitched SVG (Scalable Vector Graphics) as a Flash alternative were sligtly off-base, with the new format better suited to precise technical drawings, instructional illustrations and slideshow presentations than svelte animation.

Dot-info Web Addresses Become Active (USA Today, September 24th)
In the first major expansion of the internet's core addressing system since the 1980s, Afilias officially rolled out and activated the first round of .info names over the weekend. Registrations made after the public launch have been lower than expected, but Afilias has blamed the loss of interest in the incidents associated with September 11th, and has continued its determination to see .info challenge .com for the most popular top-level-domain option.

Why They're Agog Over Google (BusinessWeek Online, September 24th)
Everyone's favorite search destination, Google, is looking to expand its exposure to the corporate market, and to overseas advertising clients. In order to faciliate its growth into increasingly competitive markets, the company - which is expected to reach profitability during the present quarter - is expected to make its initial public offering.

Jupiter Looks to Topple Traffic-Tracking Leaders (internet.com, September 24th)
Web traffic measurement firm Jupiter Media Metrix, which has been slowly losing market share to Nielsen//NetRatings, has struck back with a strategy it hopes will see it again become a clear leader. In teaming up with LiveTechnology, the firm will offer the double-service of overall traffic measurement and more accurate server-side logfile analysis to individual sites.

The Ideal Tracking System (ClickZ, September 24th)
This article suggests that your entire website should be treated as a single conversion system - designed to funnel consumers towards the confirmation of a sale smoothly and without unnecessary resistance.

Adobe Updates Image With AlterCast (internet.com, September 24th)
While content-based sites generally have little trouble keeping their text-based content fresh through the employment of content management systems, the maintenance of fresh multi-purposed images has traditionally been a greater challenge. Adobe's latest server-side product aims to eliminate the time-consuming process of reformating, resizing and manually positioning images for different purposes - but it will cost a pretty penny.

CGI Project: Creating a Guestbook (HitBox, September 21st)
Following on from their introduction to the principls of CGI, the HitBox crew have created a brief CGI tutorial that provids you with the skills to create and configure a guestbook script for Unix.

Online Content: Made for TV? (internet.com, September 21st)
Noting that one of Salon.com's staff has recently scored a coup in having her autobiography optioned by AOL Time Warner's HBO division, this article highlights what could be an additional, albeit highly-competitive, source of revenue for creators and publishers of original content.

What Small Biz Gets From the Web (E-Commerce Times, September 21st)
This article looks at the hopes that many small business operators pin on their web presence, and how this can be valuable not only as a direct-selling tool, but as an affordable promotional avenue designed to stimulate increased offline responses.

Consumers Shop Online Despite Abundance of Problems (eCRMguide, September 21st)
In a study that seems more reminiscent of the online scene in 1999 than presently (or, at least, we'd hope so), researchers from Consumers International have found that the systems employed by many e-commerce brokers are still riddled with imperfections (both in terms of technology and basic principles of business and law).

Add More Value to That Automated Email (ClickZ, September 20th)
ClickZ contributor Nick Usborne here presents an article noting the importance of composing automated emails (such as autoresponders and membership confirmation notices) with the same precision as scheduled promotional mailings so as to build trust, provide information and stimulate either return visits or sales.

E-Tailers Dangle 3D Imaging to Convert Surfers to Buyers (E-Commerce Times, September 20th)
Although it obviously didn't prove a saviour for Boo.com, the utilization of 3D imaging to showcase products to be sold online has been proven successful in increasind the ratio of visitors who convert to paying customers. This article looks at some of the more successful and appropriate applications of such technology.

Could Cyber Attack Be Next? (USA Today, September 19th)
Fearing that those behind the heartless attacks against US civilians, and their supporters, could take to the world's information-distribution channels to wage their next wave of attack. With the realization that the net's infrastructure is now critical to the functioning of the various capitalist systems, web hosts are battening down the hatches in an effort to keep the world's information streams flowing freely.

Automatic for the User (CNET, September 19th)
The importance of usability in web design and development can never be overstated. The trouble is, designing with usability and personalization in mind can be a challenging and costly process, which is why CNET is placing several software packages that claim to perform such tasks out-of-the-box under scutiny within this feature.

FBI, CERT Warn New Worm Spreading Fast (internet.com, September 18th)
Virus Alert: Though we rarely notify the web using and web developing public of viruses through this site, Nimda - which contains a payload and distribution method more destructive than those of Code Red - is certainly worthy of mention. Read this, and patch everything. For more info on the virus, check out this Wired story. Even more details about the triple-threat posed by this worm/virus may be found in this CrossNodes article.

New CEO, Fewer Employees at AltaVista (internet.com, September 18th)
In yet further cutbacks affecting CMGI-controlled entities, AltaVista has named a new CEO and cut its staff numbers by almost a third in response to ailing advertising revenues. The company is alspo shelving its comparison shopping service as part of a restructuring aimed at reducing overheads to make the company more competitive while ensuring its longevity.

Content Management Trims Online Fat (InternetWeek, September 17th)
As online ad revenues fail to impress, and online content plays continue to trim their operations accordingly, effective and affordable content management systems have become an essential avenue through which content may be organised, stored and delivered while reducing overheads.

Search Engine Mythology 101 (InternetDay, September 17th)
In the early days of the web, the key concern in promoting a website was search engine submission and optimization. As search engine technology has improved in an effort to present users with more relevant results, and to eliminate spam submissions. With various studies continuing to note that the majority of web users find new sites through search engines and directories, though, the humble spiders deserve a re-look.

Just How Much Is That Domain Name Worth? (internet.com, September 17th)
Verisign, owners of GreatDomains.com, which is notorious for over-valuing web properties, has launched two new domain name appraisal services in an effort to present domain merchants with a more accurate standard against which to calculate the value of their top level domains.

I.S.P.s Curb Terrorist Postings and an Anti-Islamic Backlash (NY Times, September 17th)
Just as the world's political and religious leaders have stepped up their effort to reduce race and religion-related hate sentiment, ISPs and the administrators and moderators of community-based sites have been forced to adopt micro-management political roles in order to clamp down on hate, ill-advised message board postings and the like.

Dell Sprints From Hosting (ASPnews.com, September 14th)
Dell Computer, who made a flashy entrance to the web hosting market about two years ago has pulled out of the market suddenly, selling its $20 million stake in hosting partner Interliant and peddling its rapidly-growing DellHost arm to Sprint. This article attempts to uncover the rationale behind Dell's seemingly-rushed decision and how it bodes for the greater hosting market.

Search Engines Swamped (BBC News, September 14th)
Tipping out Britney Spears and Pokemon in the ranks for the most popular search terms were words and phrases relating to the terrible tragedy in the US this week, with portals and search engines flooded with requests for terms such as 'CNN', 'World Trade Center', 'Osama bin Laden' and 'Nostradamus'. Interest in the shocking event drove traffic at some search engines and news sites into new highs, crippling their servers.

To Cloak or Not to Cloak (SearchEngineWatch, September 13th)
This special commentary/tip sheet weighs up the option of whether or not a responsible search engine optimization marketer should employ the highly controversial technique known as 'cloaking' in order to either boost their positioning or to conceal their valuable META data.

Companies Lack Sound Search Engine Strategies (CyberAtlas, September 13th)
CyberAtlas has found that very few Fortune 100 companies make an effort to have their websites designed with search engine optimization in mind. Many, the study has found, use technologies such as Flash to display data, and omit valuable META tags - inadvertetly rendering their websites almost invisible to search engine robots.

XHTML: Past, Present and Future (CNET, September 12th)
This in-depth feature/tutorial by CNET aims to introduce those web developers who have yet to embrace XHTML to the markup language that promises greater flexibility, greater compatibility and enhanced interactivity.

Tragedy Spurs Corporate Altruism in Web Marketers, E-Tailers (internet.com, September 12th)
Several high-profile tech and internet companies have responded positively to the tragic events of September 11th by sacrificing their ad inventory and selling space to charitable causes in an effort to aide the relief and recovery efforts in New York City and Washington D.C.

Seniors Act Just Like Everyone Else, Online (eMarketer, September 11th)
Findings by eMarketer suggest that those people aged 65 or older who use the net do so in a fashion congruent with the greater web internet population, with perhaps one of the most surprising findings being that 32% of those over 65 regularly playing online games.

Ask Jeeves Buys Search Engine Tech Firm (internet.com, September 11th)
In an effort to play catch-up against rivals Google and AltaVista, search engine technology player Ask Jeeves has acquired the privately-held Teoma Technologies, and in doing so gains access to advanced search technology and a knowledgable staff.

Consumers Turn Backs to Bells and Whistles (CyberAtlas, September 11th)
Confirming earlier studies that revealed that web using consumers are more interested in visiting sites that load quickly and that focus on usability and personalization than flashy destinations loaded with complex rich-media elements, Jupiter Media Metrix has published the results of a recent survey suggesting that web developers get back to basics.

Peeling the Onion (ClickZ, September 10th)
One of the few poster-children of the new media age that has survived the grand ol' bubble burst relatively unscathed is the hilarious satirical media play The Onion. Here, Dana Blankenhorn notes that an adherence to discipled, proven business practices and a willingness to operate in a fashion that shares more in common with traditional media bellweathers than many of the fly-by-night publishers that domainated the boom have kept The Onion on the top of their game. He suggests that all web publishers could learn from their management's resolve.

Open Source Databases Bloom (ITWorld.com, September 10th)
The strength of the open source movement that has so been mainly represented in the media by discussion of the Linux OS variants is perhaps evident in no field as dramatically as in the database market. Where products from Microsoft, IBM and Oracle offer robust database solutions, freely available open source products such as mySQL have proven incredibly popular, and scalable, as alternatives for websites of all shapes and sizes.

Net Body Faces Conflicting Power Plays (CNN.com, September 10th)
The Net's governing body, ICAAN, has been under fire from all sides for its perceived inability to move swiftly enough, and with enough open-mindedness to best serve the world's 500 million net users. Presently, the group is being faced with the decision as to whether or not to open its directorial ranks to either representatives from the country-code domain name system or democratic-style representatives who are to speak on behalf of the net using public.

GoTo Changes Name to Overture (ITWorld.com, September 10th)
Just as the title suggests, leading pay-for-placement search engine GoTo.com has made the decision to rebrand itself as Overture Services Inc in order to clearly differentiate its brand from others in similar markets, such as Disney's Go.com and Infospace's Go2Net.com. The move is unusual given that the service delivers its results primarily through licenses to other portals, and not through its own online presence.

Afilias Founder Company Quits Over .info Cock-Up (The Register, September 7th)
In a showing of integrity that has further driven .info managing group Afilias into embarrassment (and potential legal turmoil), one of the founding companies of the conglomerate, PSI-Japan has sold its entire stake in the group. It will remain a registrar for the .info space, but will no longer have a say in how the suffix is managed.

The Internet and Teenagers (australia.internet.com, September 7th)
As the technological ability for teens to make purchases independently increases, catering to the all-important teen market may now prove rewarding in the online space.

Principles of CGI (HitBox.com, September 6th)
This article presents a basic overview to incorporating CGI applications into your site in order to beef up its interactive potential.

New.net, BulkRegister.com Deal On New Registry Platform (internet.com, September 6th)
Though the flood of both registrants and publicity directed towards Idealab's New.net project seems to have slowed dramatically, the company is continuing to strike up high-profile partnerships in an effort to bring their pseudo-TLDs to the masses. This latest incolves a deal that will see the extensions offered for registration through BulkRegistrar.com.

Meet the Search Engines (SearchEngineWatch, September 6th)
Read notes made by representatives of four major search engines detailing the most important elements tha their spiders/robots search for in order to determine which content is relevant, and which deserves to be discarded.

Teens' Money is Online Gold (CNET News.com, September 5th)
Interestingly, the broad demographic that is one of the most pursued offline appears to have been one of the most undervalued online, despite the rapid rising of fame to teen-oriented services such as Napster. As this article notes, teens are amongst some of the biggest online spenders, and will most certainly contribute substantially to the revenues of those e-commerce plays that embrace support for alternative payment systems, since most teens do not have access to credit or debit cards.

Microsoft Gives Error Pages New Direction (CNET News.com, September 5th)
In a move that is raising the ire of those in the portal and search space who compete with Microsoft's MSN properties, Microsoft has activated a feature within its browser that redirects net users to an MSN search page in place of what normally would be a 404 Page Not Found error. MSFT claims that the development has been made in the name of enhancing user-friendliness, but their competitors are claiming that its yet another occasion in which the Redmond giant is improperly leveraging its software monopoly.

That Darned Content (WebReference, September 5th)
In an article obviously tailored to the pure-play designer rather than the indie web publisher, to whom content is king, Wendy Peck describes how best to avoid having content ruin one's design comps.

Wisenut, The Google Killer? Nah... (SearchEngineWatch, September 5th)
Google has rapidly risen to the top of the pure-play search destination market, largely due to its committed focus on maintaining a user-friendly, single purpose service driven by strong technology. Given that, it is unsurprising that the crisp, techy new search service known as WiseNut has been compared to the leader. Within this article, Chris Sherman notes the reasons why he feels its unlikely that Google will have to hand over its crown any time soon.

W3C Recommendation Brings New Life to Graphics (internet.com, September 5th)
The World Wide Web Consortium Wednesday delivered a protocol recommendation that, based on XML and vector graphic principles will allow designers to create single images that will automatically and simply port across to different devices, and varying screen resolutions.

WIPO Sees No Quick Fix For Domain-Name Grab (NewsBytes, September 4th)
WIPO, the world's leading arbitrator and mediator of intellectual property-driven domain name disputes has suggested that it and organizations like it would not be placed in sticky situations quite so often if the rules governing the registration of top level domains were beefed up.

Internet and Copyright Law (NewMedia, September 3rd)
This great, albeit brief, 2-part introduction to the complex issue of intellectual property protection in a digital world, provides web publishers with tips aimed at protecting their self-interests, and preserving their rights to original material created by such companies. Part II may be found here.

Linking Mistakes to Avoid (ClickZ, September 3rd)
Here, self-proclaimed linking expert Eric Ward provides a series of guidelines aimed at increasingly one's chances of success in promoting their site's deep links. Part 2 of the series may be found here.


 
 
 

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