One year in perspective!

Let us take a quick look at some of
the issues covered in this column
during the last one year and see what is the situation today.

In the very first article I told you about the many
entrepreneurs and executives who were very sure that they didn’t need a web
site! The reasons varied from person to person, but generally the logic (or
rather, the absence of logic) behind this was the same. “We don’t sell
anything in the international markets, so what’s the point in spending money
on a web site?”

The situation has turned a full circle and come back to where
it was via a different route! The year saw the rise and rise of the dotcom hype
and with that came many entrepreneurs and executives who wanted a web site
immediately. “How soon can you do it?” – they asked. “Three
months will be too late, we have other designers who can do it in three
weeks!” and they went ahead full steam with their quick fix web sites.

At the end of the year, there is sudden panic setting in.
“The dotcom bubble is going to burst any time!” — industry pundits
are saying now. But if you don’t go up with the hype and you don’t go down
with the panic, there is still a great untapped potential on the Internet for
your business.

Disappearing domain names

Availability of good domain names for web sites is
diminishing very fast. Act early to try and get the desired name for your
website. I had alerted you in one of the later articles. The situation is now
worse. Every one is registering domain names; some of them are registering them
by the dozen. One Indian businessman has registered as many as 1300 domain names
and he says none of them are for sale! I have read this in the newspapers, so
don’t ask me for a proof. I can’t afford to crosscheck all these 1300 domain
names in the Network Solutions Whois records.

Another article had discussed how the search engines on the
Internet are not standardized and don’t work according to a fixed set of
rules. They all work according to their own rules and logic. The worst part of
it is that the rules and logic keep changing every day. So, you can’t afford
to tailor your web site for one particular search engine to get top ranking on
their index.

Every other search engine will apply different rules to rank

Every other search engine will apply different rules to rank
your site in their index. The situation is now really getting out of hand with
so many web sites being launched and being listed on the search engines. You can
no longer depend only on your search engine placement. Promoting your web site
through other channels is becoming more and more important. Newspapers and
magazines who were worried about losing advertising revenues due to the Internet
are now getting crores of rupees – more from the advertising campaigns of new
portals being launched everyday.

30-second rule

In one of the articles I had given you "The 30 seconds
rule!" to check out how fast your web site loads. Considering the low
speeds of Internet connections I had given you a grace period of another 10
seconds to check if the home page loaded completely on the browser screen. Today
if I give you a grace period of another 40 seconds, your homepage may still not
be there on the screen!

If you track the loading time of your homepage through a 24
hours period – you will get some interesting results. The test may show you that
your homepage takes 40 seconds to four minutes to load at various times of the
day. That is why finally I had to suggest the possibility of giving a "Text
only" option on your web site.

Do you remember the real life story of a web site owner who
wanted to get into e-commerce without spending much on e-commerce enabling his
web site, without doing the necessary homework and totally ignorant about the
risk he was taking? I still find people like him, thinking of getting into
e-commerce without spending much money. Even a large private sector bank got its
site hacked due to careless approach to security needs. If you are thinking of
B2B or B2C like every other person in business, be prepared to do your homework
on the security issues.

I have been frequently bringing up the issue of the bandwidth
our ISPs provide. The situation is worsening every day. Over the period of last
one year, the average speed I get from my Internet connection has reduced to
almost 20 percent of what it was. Even though the ISP charges have reduced to
almost half over the one-year period, I am effectively paying much more for the
same volume of work I do on the Net today.

I have an ordinary dial-up connection, but a client who has
an ISDN connection tells me that his story is not much different. The only hope,
as I said in the beginning, is at the end of the bottleneck! Like God said at
the beginning of this world – "Let there be Light!" and there was
light, I hope the God once again says – "Let there be Bandwidth!" and
there will be a lot of bandwidth for the beginning of a New World.

Want to try your luck? Send an e-mail to

Don’t be surprised when you find out that the domain name has also been taken up by some humans!


Ashok Dongre is an advertising and marketing professional, specializing in
website design.

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