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  Anvil Issue Twenty Three

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*Welcome to Anvil, a fat-free newsletter and Web site providing insight into online industry news, issues and trends.
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TOP INDUSTRY NEWS
*Broadcast News
*Web Cemetery

DESIGN
*Netscape Designs For Corporate
*Consolidated Push

HOSTING
*AOL Goes NBC
*Reliability Is Job One

MARKETING
*Web Advertising Effectiveness Questioned
*Ad Agencies At A Loss

TOP WEB PICKS
*Basement Industry
*Better Homes And Gardens Home Improvement Encyclopedia
*IBM Patent Server
*National Geographic Society Map Machine
*Netsurfer Digest


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TOP INDUSTRY NEWS
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*Broadcast News
As technology evolves and improves bandwidth issues, multimedia applications increase in complexity. This trend is validated by the recent launch of MSNBC DeskTop Video’s Business Video news service. The service will allow live broadcast of audio and video business news thanks to the deep pockets of Microsoft and NBC. The subscription-based service, priced at $24.95 per month will carry Bloomberg business news. Competition is stiff, though, in this infant industry. CNNfn recently announced their plans for new financial Web shows. Digital Jam and Business Unusual will provide streaming broadcast video via Vxtreme software. Sony Online also announced their new test site, Station@sony.com, that will provide a multitude of channels, ranging from gameshows to music. The new site has already raised a reported $1 million dollars in advertising revenue from Microsoft, Sears and American Airlines.
http://www.news.com/News/Item/0,4,8655,00.html
http://www.news.com/News/Item/0,4,8642,00.html

*Web Cemetery
A recent Wall Street Journal article addresses the online graveyard created when "dead" Web pages are not removed by their owners, thus clogging search engines with outdated or irrelevant information. Many of the numbers, provided by Alta Vista, are scary at best. Nearly one-sixth or 5 million Web pages indexed by Alta Vista haven’t been updated since early 1996. Going further back, 424,000 pages haven’t been updated since early 1995 and 75,000 since before 1994. While the later numbers may seem small to some, many of these neglected sites are some of the big players, including Hair Club For Men, Armani, Keebler and L.L. Bean. The primary cause for "digital death" is lack of funding or bandwidth. On the other hand, it’s also cheaper and easier in some cases to leave a site up than take it down, besides, it feeds the creator’s ego. The key to minimizing cost and maximizing frequency of updates is automation and site management. Web designers, whether internal or external, should design templates for easy updates and help educate site administrators with proper site maintenance and management techniques.
http://interactive6.wsj.com/edition/current/articles/
SB858031646474204000.htm


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DESIGN
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*Netscape Designs For Corporate
Netscape’s move into corporate America was made public in a recent white paper entitled "The Networked Enterprise." To help validate their new strategy, Netscape announced a new product line including a new browser code named Mercury, a management application code named Compass and a server program code named Apollo. Mercury will compete with Internet Explorer 4.0 by offering a single view of data stored both locally and on the Web via a new "Hypertree" approach. Compass, an agent-based technology, will aid users in managing the large amount of data available on the Web. Apollo is reported to offer enhanced e-mail, scheduling and centralized network management capabilities.
http://www.nando.net/newsroom/ntn/info/031097/info10_2960.html

*Consolidated Push
Push technology is hot this week at Internet World in Los Angeles. The major players, including PointCast, Marimba, BackWeb, Microsoft, Intermind and Arrive, are all aggressively selling their technology. To help counter the noise generated by the "push" technology frenzy, IDC recently released a warning regarding the consolidation of the industry. While this should be no surprise to experienced Internet capitalists, many companies are still jumping on the bandwagon, looking to make a quick buck. IDC cautions that by years’ end, there will only be a small handful of significant push vendors. Early bets are placed on the deepest pockets, mainly Microsoft and Netscape. Technology isn’t the heart of the issue as much as effective marketing and strategic partnerships. Current technology and partnership leaders include PointCast, Marimba and BackWeb. PointCast, the industry leader and founder, is a Windows application with the most impressive interface and seamless delivery. BackWeb, also a Windows application has survived primarily due to partnerships, mainly Microsoft. Marimba is a Java-based application, which allows greater flexibility, even with occasional bugs. IDC points to corporate intranets and extranets as the key to survival for these applications. From a higher level perspective, the winner will ultimately bring the most reliable, open and scaleable solution to market and partner with channel providers with the deepest content. In related news, Microsoft is proposing a set of standards for push technology. So far, the channel definition format (CDF) will be adopted by America Online and PointCast. Netscape has yet to reply to the bold but questionable move by Microsoft.
http://www.nbnn.com/5.html


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HOSTING
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*AOL Goes NBC
To help combat the onslaught of Webcasting programming from the likes of Microsoft and Sony, AOL recently hired the former head of NBC’s entertainment division, Brandon Tartikoff to head the new Greenhouse Networks Entertainment division. Tartikoff’s directive will be to lead the development of online programming including gameshows, talk shows, movie and music reviews, celebrity gossip and online chat. To augment the division, AOL purchased LightSpeed Media and licensed push technology from Firefly Network. Content will be available free on the Internet with additional chat functionality for AOL subscribers.
http://www.nando.net/newsroom/ntn/info/031097/info18_21180.html
http://www.usatoday.com/life/cyber/tech/ct960.htm

*Reliability Is Job One
Network World recently released the findings of their ISP study. Overall, the results were not alarming, yet offer insight into purchasing decisions. Reliability ranked number one in importance when selecting an ISP. Customer support and security followed closely behind reliability. When ranking current ISPs, respondents preferred MCI for current or future usage followed by AT&T and PSI. Most common uses for ISP’s services include Internet access, Web server applications, firewall security, remote access and intranet. The most revealing trend: intranet usage.
http://www.merc.com/stories/cgi/story.cgi?id=1884367-183


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MARKETING
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*Web Advertising Effectiveness Questioned
The effects of advertising have long been disputed, yet budgets are at an all time high. While the Web offers advertisers greater tracking ability, companies are slow to dedicate substantial budgets to the new medium. The choice is almost a no-brainer for Internet companies. As a provider of Internet access, AT&T WorldNet Service currently spends about 25 percent of its ad budget online. Surprisingly, high tech companies like Silicon Graphics and Bell Atlantic are much slower to adopt and limit their online ad spending for the time being. The largest factor contributing to the slow adoption is the lack of unified measurement and pricing structure. In order to price, target markets must be defined and measured. Currently, visits (equivalent to circulation in print) can be tracked by hits, page views or user sessions. Once the advertiser decides to go with a particular site, banner ad impressions are measured by views or click-throughs. Due to the fluid nature of the Web, pricing structures are still being worked out. So far, the best bet looks to be banner ad networks like DoubleClick, which can offer highly targeted ad space on a wide array of sites.
http://www.netb2b.com/cgi-bin/cgi_article/monthly/97/03/01/article.2

*Ad Agencies At A Loss
A recent survey of 300 marketing executives conducted by Advertising Age revealed traditional advertising firms are not as popular for interactive work as are Web developers. A quote by author Debra Aho Williamson says it all, "The survey shows that marketers view their ad agencies as just another name in a roster of suppliers - not particularly better, and sometimes worse, than their new-media competition. Agencies that once thought they could dominate the market must now fight tooth and nail for every scrap of business." So far, the perception is validated as Web developers like Vivo Media are moving into the ad agency model more effectively than ad agencies are able to move into Web development. While 29 percent of respondents prefer ad agencies, Web developers are a close second with 26 percent, and a remaining majority of 23 percent prefer to do their Web work in-house. The survey also revealed a potentially disturbing trend for both ad agencies and Web developers: 46 percent of respondents plan on bringing more Web work in-house in the future.
http://www.mmp.co.uk/mmp/informer/netnews/HTM/311n1e.htm


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TOP WEB PICKS
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*Basement Industry
A site for the graphically inclined. A seemingly random collection of thoughts and images come together in a strange and captivating new way. Site features include: the eerie music of Fragmented, Vacuity Magazine, Stratagem, MirrororriM, Mind Over Matter and BlueNitesEroticSecrets Records.
http://www.basementindustry.org/

*Better Homes And Gardens Home Improvement Encyclopedia
Spring is just around the corner, and it’s time to start all those home improvement projects. Better Homes and Gardens has a one-stop online resource for many of the basics including: the basics, house structure, decks, plumbing, electric and phone, yard structures and landscape. Additional site features include a tool dictionary, handy project calculator and a chance to win a $500 gift certificate.
http://www.bhglive.com/homeimp/

*IBM Patent Server
With this World Wide Web server, IBM lets you access over 26 years of U.S. Patent & Trademark Office patent descriptions as well as the last seventeen years of images. The first entries date back to January 5, 1971. Users can search, retrieve and study over two million patents.
http://patent.womplex.ibm.com/

*National Geographic Society Map Machine
As expected, National Geographic’s implementation of Map Machine is impeccable. The highly functional site includes maps, profiles, facts and flags of countries, states and provinces, all available for easy viewing or downloading. Additional site features include map resources and links, political and physical maps and satellite images.
http://www.nationalgeographic.com/ngs/maps/cartographic.html

*Netsurfer Digest
Netsurfer Digest is a free e-mail newsletter and Web site (similar to Anvil) that offers the latest industry news and sites of interest. Sections include Breaking Surf, Online Online Culture, Art Online, Books & E-Zines, Surfing Science and Online Services.
http://www.netsurf.com/nsd/index.html

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