Category: News & Trends

More Online Ads

It looks like the new idea in online advertising is to use domain names as nothing more than billboard space. Demand Media, a new company started by the original owner of MySpace.com, has just bought the third largest domain registrar: eNom Inc. The idea is to use all the expired domain names that eNom handles and use them as ad space. Demand plans to also put up some sort of content, but nothing really spectacular, which means a lot more advertising will be available on the Internet.

In line with Mr. Rosenblatt’s plans to add some cheap content to his sites to give visitors a reason to come back, Demand Media has already purchased San Francisco-based eHow Inc., which provides niche content, and will buy more content companies. But he isn’t planning to invest heavily in content — Mr. Rosenblatt says his goal is to have “immaterial”content costs. Instead he plans to rely heavily on content contributed by members of the public, which could range from reviews and blogs to photos.

Amazing, how some people view blog content as nothing more than free material for their own business ventures. This reminds me of how open source programmers complain about how some big companies give absolutely nothing back to the open source code and community. But wait, it gets better:

“These domain names are really the raw land of the Internet,” says Fred Harman, managing director of Oak Investment Partners, one of Mr. Rosenblatt’s backers. “Richard is a real-estate developer, taking the raw land and developing it … We’re trying to liberate these domains from the cybersquatters and actually put them to good use.”

In case you missed the irony in that statement it goes something like this: It’s okay because we are a company, when an individual makes money from cybersquating it is wrong, but when we do it, it is liberating cause we do it on a massive scale!

Read the entire Post Gazette article.

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Internet Scams

Perhaps you were at your local Best Buy store or even at Target and you saw something like Eazy SuperFast WebSiteBuilder on sale for $29.95 or you were up late watching Comedy Central and heard about how you can make $8000 a month at home with an Internet home business, or you got an offer in the mail to renew you website domain for an easy payment of $49. And I won’t even mention the spam emails from people willing to sell you your domain name for just $69. The problem with all these offers is that they are mostly scams or outright bad deals.

The true objective of these offers is to get you to pay up what seems like a modest fee for something which is either not that valueable to begin with, or not even legitimate. For example, a domain registration does not cost $69 or even $35. At WebKeyDesign, we sell domain registrations at $15, as a service to our friends and clients. Just yesterday I got an offer to renew all of my domains for $35 each, and they included search engine submission and all these extras. Too bad all these extras either cost nothing or they can’t guarantee that you will actually get them! When it comes to domains, paying too much is a bad deal, but paying too low is also something to be avoided. If you are paying almost nothing for a domain registration it means the registrar is selling the domain at almost cost, which equates to very limited support and possibly having your email address used for marketing purposes.

The easy site builder software is actually a good deal, if we were still in the 90’s. Today’s internet users expect quite a lot from a website, and the simple truth is that a cookie cutter style web site that these inexpensive software packages produce, just does not cut it anymore. There is a reason why Dreamweaver costs $300. If these $29 software packages worked well, then Dreamweaver would not exist at all. The simple truth is that you are better off buying a $29 book on HTML and using a free application like Nvu to do your web site, than buying cheap software.

The most outlandish scam of all is the one that promises you the most money. Can you really make thousands of dollars with just a web site? The answer is yes, but it requires a lot of work and investment. You either have the skills to setup and maintain a site all by yourself or you have to pay someone else to help you. Most online ventures that work either have a lot of money behind them or they are very small and do not make huge profits. Consider that there are people who have the technical skills to setup a site, yet they never do it! Why? Because, the maintenance alone requires a lot of time and some people rather use their free time for other things. If however you are interested in starting a home business and using the web to help your business grow, then it is a good idea. Just realize that like anything else you do in business, you have to know what you are doing and spend wisely. Looking for the best return on investment is what business is all about. Spending money without knowing the rate of return, well that’s how you can go out of business.

Filed under: News & Trends

The Downside of The Internet

I have been thinking more and more about the downsides of today’s Internet. While the “always on” and “24 hour self-service” are repeatedly talked about, I find on many ocassions where these claims either turn out to be false or worse a severe let down. It is interesting to think that sites like Amazon.com who cornered the online retail market with their innovations such as 1-click ordering and customer reviews now no longer mean much. In a sense, the Internet has become stagnant and I am not sure if this partly due to Microsoft not really investing much in Internet Explorer or that much of the Internet has adopted a “me too!” mentality.

The rampant rise of the commercial aspects of the Internet have caused the Internet to grow immensely since the 90’s, but the cost of all this growth has created a major problem of signal to noise ratio. If today, I go looking for some specific piece of information on how to go about fixing a computer problem, if the problem is too specific I will almost never find a solution. Google and Yahoo will try their best to bring up some results, but most of all the results will be junk sites with ads. What is worse is that when something relevant does come up you usually run into protected or pay-for-information sites. These are sites which once offered their information for free but then decided to go member-only. Lastly there are the old links which point to nowhere. All the search engines have build up quite a list of outdated pages which are no longer retrievable at all.

Disappointed By Internet Shopping

Remember when you wanted to buy something and the Internet was helpful? A few years ago you could type in the model number and brand name, along with the word “review” and find instantly some helpful consumer comments on said product. These days that same search brings up hundreds of online shopping sites that sell the product, offer no consumer reviews, and most sites cannot even tell you if the product is in stock or how much it will cost to ship! Just try finding a review for simple ADSL Router or an inexpensive television set, and you will be hard pressed to find anything useful.

For whatever reasons, companies have chosen to use the Internet as their cheapest marketing tool, and the idea that providing helpful information to consumers is most likely an afterthought. Today, most companies that do provide forums, censor them heavily or let them linger into uselessness. Independent web site operators are also guilty of pushing their sponsor’s products or wanting members to pay for access to their archives. In fact many new sites specifically entice participation, so that at a later date they can go commercial and restrict access.

The only exception is the personal blog, but even that is being invaded by the rise of “professional bloggers” and commercial sponsored blogs. All of these changes though point to a less useful Internet and a challenge to search engines who want to remain relevant, as the search results are becoming more diluted every day.

Filed under: News & Trends