Tag Archives: business

An Explosion of Web Names

URLOne of the biggest changes in the history of the Internet could be set into motion shortly. Whether that is a good thing or a bad thing remains open to fierce debate.

At a meeting in Singapore, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, which oversees the Internet address system, has approved a vast expansion of the range of addresses available. The group wants to make it possible for Internet users to create their own extensions like .com, .net or .org.

So, get ready for Web sites that end with the names of cities or brands, like .berlin or .canon, to name just two entities that have expressed interest in the proposed system. Crafty entrepreneurs are busy thinking up sites like iwant.beer or whatsfor.dinner.

Icann envisions hundreds of new extensions, and that is just in the first round of applications. The overall range of Internet addresses on offer would increase exponentially.

Icann has been working on this for years. At a meeting in Paris three years ago, its board recommended going ahead. Since then, however, final authorization has been delayed several times, even as Icann has gone ahead with other expansions, including the use of non-Latin alphabets in domain names.

This time around, Peter Dengate Thrush, the chairman of Icann, said he thought the board would give the go-ahead. “We’re feeling reasonably confident at this stage because of the feedback we’ve been getting from all the players,” he said.

Such a vote would be a personal triumph for Mr. Dengate Thrush, given that the meeting in Singapore is set to be his last as chairman. Icann says the expansion would give Internet users vastly greater choice, leading to innovations in online marketing, among other things.

Yet critics of Icann question the need, saying existing suffixes provide plenty of choice. They say Icann wants to railroad the plan through without addressing their concerns.

Owners of corporate brands and other trademarks — who remember the cybersquatting that marred the early days of the Internet, when profiteers claimed brand names and then resold them to their owners — say the expansion would open the door to a new round of intellectual property abuses.

“It’s an unproven idea that has been handled very poorly from a project management standpoint,” said Alan C. Drewsen, executive director of the International Trademark Association.

The primary beneficiaries of the change, critics contend, will be the registrars that maintain Internet addresses; unlike Icann, a nonprofit organization, many registrars are commercial entities.

“The more domains they have out there, the more names they can register and the more money they take in,” said Josh Bourne, president of the Coalition Against Domain Name Abuse, a Washington-based lobby group.

Icann plans safeguards to thwart cybersquatters and other opportunists. The price of the new extensions has been set at a steep $185,000, for example, with a further $25,000 annual fee to maintain them. Trademark owners would be allowed to claim their names for use in addresses during “sunrise” periods following the rollout. These protections have been strengthened since the proposal was outlined.

“My expectation is that people will look at this in a fairly commercial way,” Mr. Dengate Thrush said. “My hope is that they aren’t going to waste a lot of time and money applying for names that don’t stand a chance.”

Mr. Dengate Thrush acknowledged that there were still unresolved issues around implementation. But he said these could be resolved after a vote to go ahead. Icann plans a four-month communication period before applications for addresses will be accepted.

During that time, trademark owners will have to wrestle with some big questions. Should they apply for the new suffixes? Should they register their names for use with other new extensions? Or should they do neither? A lot of money hangs on the decisions.

Mei-lan Stark, senior vice president for intellectual property at News Corp.’s Fox Entertainment Group, recently told a U.S. congressional committee that the change could cost her company at least $12 million in the initial stages alone.

That estimate was based on the cost of registering 300 names in an initial round of 400 new address extensions, at a cost of $100 each, she said. The cost, and related legal bills, would rise as the list of suffixes grew, Ms. Stark added.

Planning is complicated by the fact that brand owners do not know how consumers will react. Icann has already been adding suffixes one by one, in advance of the big bang it envisions. Most recently, it approved .xxx for sexually explicit sites. With a few exceptions, however, marketers prefer .com over other extensions, like .web, .net or suffixes that represent a specific country.

The .xxx extension appears to have had little support from the pornography industry, and its approval prompted dismay in political capitals around the world, including Washington and Brussels. The government advisory council, which monitors Icann and its independent board, had previously voiced concerns.

Neelie Kroes, vice president of the European Commission, wrote in a letter to Commerce Secretary Gary Locke of the United States that the introduction of .xxx could create unexpected consequences, perhaps prompting censorship-minded governments to block entire portions of the Internet.

In a response, Lawrence E. Strickling, an assistant commerce secretary who is responsible for Internet policy, agreed, but added that the Obama administration did not think it was “in the long-term best interest of the United States or the global Internet community for us unilaterally to reverse the decision.”

The fact that Icann has ruffled feathers in Brussels and Washington, among other capitals, is not necessarily a bad thing. At a time when governments all over the world are taking a greater interest in what happens in the digital world, the Internet needs an independent guardian and Icann is one of several groups that play an important role in this regard. But it may have to pick its fights carefully.

Ms. Kroes wrote in an e-mail that she continued to support the “multistakeholder” approach to Internet governance, as embodied by Icann. But she said that the board of the organization should be “extremely sensitive to the views of public authorities” as it proceeded with projects like the expansion of Internet addresses.

“Overall, I am concerned that certain public policy issues, which are of great importance to the economic and social well-being of European citizens and businesses, have not been taken into consideration by the Icann board as much as they would deserve,” she said in the e-mail, sent via a spokesman.

Source: New York Times

The Browser Wars and How They Affect You

Browser WarsAt Hansen Web Design we monitor and test web sites in multiple browsers every day, so we need to keep track of what’s happening with the various browsers out there – how they handle basic HTML code, CSS, operating systems – anything that will affect the look and feel of your website.  It’s important that you keep track too – why?  Not just for the reasons we track them, but for another very important reason – speed.  We want your websites to load fast and design them that way to the best of our ability, but you can help things along by using the latest and “right” browser for your needs.

Tom’s Hardware has been tracking the latest round of the browser wars and has completed a superb review of the latest versions of Chrome, Internet Explorer, Opera, FireFox and Safari.  The results might surprise you!

A Curious Guide to Browsers and the Web

20 Things I Learned About Browsers and the WebTwenty years ago this month, Tim Berners-Lee published his proposal for the World Wide Web. Today, the web is an explosion of pages and apps teeming with videos, photos and interactive content. These powerful new web experiences—such as “The Wilderness Downtown,” our HTML5 collaboration with the band Arcade Fire—are possible thanks to cutting-edge web technologies that bring all this content to life in the modern browser.

But how do browsers and the web actually work? What is HTML5—or HTML, for that matter? What do terms like “cookies” or “cloud computing” even mean? More practically, how can we keep ourselves safe from security threats like viruses when we’re online?

To help answer these questions, we collaborated with the wonderful illustrator Christoph Niemann to publish an online guidebook called “20 Things I Learned about Browsers and the Web.” This handy guide is for those of us who’d like to better understand the technologies we use every day.

20 Things I Learned About Browsers and the Web

“20 Things” is written by the Chrome team, and continues our tradition of finding new ways to help explain complex but fascinating ideas about technology. Many of the examples used to illustrate the features of the browser refer back to Chrome.

We built “20 Things” in HTML5 so that we could incorporate features that hearken back to what we love about books—feeling the heft of a book’s cover, flipping a page or even reading under the covers with a flashlight. In fact, once you’ve loaded “20 Things” in the browser, you can disconnect your laptop and continue reading, since this guidebook works offline. As such, this illustrated guidebook is best experienced in Chrome or any up-to-date, HTML5-compliant modern browser.

For things you’ve always wanted to know about the web and browsers but may have been afraid to ask, read on at www.20thingsilearned.com (or, you can use the handy shortened URL at goo.gl/20things). If you find “20 Things” informative, don’t forget to share it with your friends and family!

Posted by Min Li Chan, Product Marketing Manager, Google Chrome

Planning Your Web Site – Preparing a Site Plan

Site Map for Site PlanWhether you’re setting up your first business website or redesigning an existing site, a site plan will help you create a website that meets your needs and the needs of your customers. By taking the time at the beginning to draft a site plan, you can avoid mistakes while at the same time making sure you have the content needed to get your site started properly.

What should a site plan include?

At a minimum:

  • Purpose
    What is the purpose of your website? How is it going to fulfill that purpose better than any other site on the Internet?
  • Goals
    Targeted goals can help you take a poor or mediocre site and make it great. Once you know and outline the goals of your site, you can plan around them.
  • Customers
    Who are you targeting with your website? Try to be as specific as you can regarding your target audience. Include details like: age, hobbies, income, job title(s), and so on. You might envision different people coming to different parts of your site, which is OK.  If your site is already live, you should include data on the audience that you currently have.
  • Content
    What will be on the site? Will the content be changed regularly? Will you focus on selling products with product pages or on providing information through articles? Is your content going to be mostly text or images or multimedia? Do you have the content already created or do you still need to obtain it and organize it?
  • Design
    What colors and layout will you use? Remember that different demographics have different preferences. As an example, if you’re planning a website for cutting edge designers, it will have a different look than one designed for stay-at-home moms. In addition to colors and layout, you need to consider things like graphic elements, fonts, and typography. The more you plan ahead of time, the easier the design phase will be.
  • Timeline
    Once you have the rest of the pieces of the plan together, you should decide on a schedule. Don’t forget to include time for testing, revision, and user feedback.

Write Down Your Plan

Always incorporate extra time – nothing ever goes exactly as planned!  Allow for brainstorming sessions, and allow extra time for user-feedback.  While feedback is important, remember too that too many cooks in the kitchen will quickly ruin a meal – in other words, be careful and selective about using feedback and stick to YOUR ideals and goals.

Once you have everything in place, you can seek out a web designer knowing that you have done your homework up front – the site coding will go much smoother for you and your designer from there!

Google AdWords – Improving Your Text Ads

Are your ads as compelling to your potential customers as they could be? Users choose to go to your website over your competitors’ based solely on what they see in your ads. If your ads do not distinguish you from your competitors, or really sell your message, then you could be missing out on valuable sales.

The good news is, by thinking about your ads from a customer’s perspective and testing the best practices contained in the video linked here, you can improve the performance of your AdWords advertising.

Have a look at the video below, and if you haven’t thought about your ad texts in a while, log into your AdWords account and check that your ads are working as hard as possible to win you customers!

More on Google AdWords – Training

Received this in our mail and thought we’d pass it along – this is excellent advertising information for business site owners!

Learn how to improve your AdWords performance with Google’s free tutorials in their AdWords Online Classroom. Over 96% of advertisers who watched them agreed… that the courses “will help them manage their AdWords accounts better,” so don’t miss out. Some of the tutorials you may be particularly interested in are:

Improve your ad performance with key tips

Get tips on how to structure your campaigns, manage your keywords, and write effective ad text with specific goals in mind

Use AdWords data to strategically improve your account

Learn how to identify top- and lower-performing keywords and ads, terms your customers are searching on, and suggestions to make your account perform better.

Why can’t I see my ad?

Find out quickly if your ad is showing, and the reasons why it may not be. We’ll provide information on how to get your ad back up and running.

For all tutorials please visit our AdWords Online Classroom site. All you’ll need to watch is your AdWords email address and 10-digit account number.

Google AdWords

Want additional visibility for your business? Try Google AdWords. You can set up your own budget and have your business appear in the “Sponsored Links” column in searches, where it will get a lot more visibility. With Google AdWords, you can create and run ads for your business, quickly and simply. Run your ads on Google and their advertising network — no matter what your budget, you’ll only pay when people click your ads. You can track your success by linking your AdWords campaigns to your Google Analytics account.