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[A splitting Web... or Not?]

April 27, 1997 by Dave Kristula
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ARTICLE QUOTES


"so they end up getting $35k from the corporation and a 'wow' from their friends..."

"Personal pages do have their advantages, one of which is diversity. You usually wonít run into two personal pages that look exactly the same, or even very similar. Maybe the rest of the web could learn something from these guys."

"the browser war causing the web split is really only a corporate war backed by a bunch of flaming surfers who dedicate their contentless home page to giving free advertising to the browser company they like most."

"Companies like the Internet Link Exchange (ILE) help to pull the web back together..."

While reading one of the HTML newsgroups this week I came across a post by a fellow webmaster describing how there are now three categories of web sites: Commercial sites, Content sites, and Personal Home Pages.

Commercial sites are often handy dandy infosites trying to get you to buy a product, and the design teams making these sites seem to think that shoving a dozen useless plug-ins in your face (each taking a few minutes to download) will get you to do just that. Or at least thatís what they tell the corporation... while really all they are really trying to do is have something to show off to their friends. So they end up getting $35k from the corporation and a "wow" from their friends... sounds pretty decent to me.

Iíve never bookmarked a plug-in-happy commercial site, probably because I can remember all of them by name, and the only reason I have to visit them is was if I wanted more information on their product. If I want a soda, Iíll visit www.pepsi.com or www.joltcola.com. If I want a hard drive Iíll visit www.maxtor.com or www.wdc.com.

Now we move into the realm of content sites, which are out there on pretty much any topic you can think of, and topics youíve probably never heard of (yet). Many of these sites are updated daily, which are usually sponsored sites that are run by a team of a dozen or more people. Examples of such sites are www.cnet.com, www.cnn.com, and www.usatoday.com.

Content sites, in most cases, put much less emphasis on plug-ins. To be informed doesnít require a fancy little animation, does it? The content sites can be viewed in pretty much any browser, making them a valuable resource to you no matter where you are or what type of Internet connection you have.

Once in a while I come upon a plug-in-less technology happy web site, the latest of which was www.mtv.com. It didnít require me to download any plug-ins, but was still pretty decently set up. Although I was impressed, I did realize that the mtv.com design team accomplished... the sacrificing of content for appearance.

Personal home pages to me are the most amusing of any web site. I really love how the main content of most of these pages in the wonderful hit counter they place at the top of their page, as if they feel it will make you return by seeing incredibly many visitors they have. Personal pages do have their advantages, one of which is diversity. You usually wonít run into two personal pages that look exactly the same, or even very similar. Maybe the rest of the web could learn something from these guys.

I suppose you could say that these three categories split the web a bit. Commercial sites are usually linked from friendly partnership sites (another commercial company) and from sites sponsored by the corporation. Content sites are linked from both other content sites and personal pages, but personal pages seemed to be linked only from personal pages, if they are even linked at all. How often do you see a personal page linked from a commercial site? Me? Never.

Recently a split has occurred in the personal home page sector: the Netscape Navigator versus Microsoft Internet Explorer war.

When was the last time you saw a home page without either the NS or IE button on it? It wouldnít be so bad if the button were merely displayed on the bottom of the page, but a splash page dedicated to displaying the ownerís browsing preference? Yeah, that site would almost earn my bookmark. Or a site having two identical pages titled differently depending on the browser, to make you think that you are getting something special by using a certain browser?

Both the major browsers understand the common HTML language, as long as you donít incorporate a fancy enhancement such as JavaScript or ActiveX. Even the editors, MS-FrontPage and NS-Navigator Gold understand each others code, respectively. I have rarely seen any content site requiring you to use one browser over the other. In my eyes, the browser war causing the web split is really only a corporate war backed by a bunch of flaming surfers who dedicate their contentless home page to giving free advertising to the browser company they like most.

Not everyone is out here to try to split the web. Companies like the LinkExchange (ILE) help to pull the web back together, by allowing all three categories of sites have banner advertisements across each other without penalty. And the traffic increase from ILE isnít too bad either.

Do I think the web is really splitting, or ever will split? Not really, but the topic does make a pretty nice SLASH article <grin>.

  Dave Kristula is the Editor of SLASH.
     He can be reached via email at
      themag.editor@davesite.com
RELATED LINKS

www.pepsi.com/

www.joltcola.com/

www.maxtor.com/

www.wdc.com/

www.cnet.com/

www.cnn.com/

www.usa
today.com/


www.mtv.com/

www.link
exchange.com/




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