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Suggestion 4 Netscape and Webring.
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A suggestion for Netscape and Webring.

Background about Netscape and the Browser Wars.

Netscape had a great idea to keep itself alive in the Browser wars, or in real terms, their fight to survive Microsoft. They decided to give away the source code to their browser for free. See Mozilla.org. The idea is that many developers would love to see the source code to Navigator, and develop their own versions. Netscape will not charge any license fee to developers wanting to sell/distribute their customized version of Navigator. In exchange, Netscape requests the right to use that code in their own Navigator, integrating the best features the developer community has to offer, along with what Netscape's own paid developers have come up with. At the same time, they are increasing the integration of Navigator with their own home site, which they make money on.

So using a built in search capability of Navigator, you can do a search for "car", and instead of coming up with a list of Web Sites dealing with cars, you get Netscape's own site which sells cars. Netscape, of course, earns a percentage of these purchases.

Background on Webrings.

Well here's a partnership that could help Netscape gain yet more traffic to Netcenter. Some smart folks came up with a terrific idea called a "Webring". (The url is Webring.org.)

Many webmasters with great content have considerable difficulty generating traffic to their sites. Why not leverage the power of the web, by hooking up many sites with similar topics, forming a "ring", so that other sites with a similar topic to yours will be directed to your site through links, and vice versa. There are links to the "previous" and "next" sites in the ring, as well as a link to "join" the ring, or "list" all sites in a ring. Through the use of cookies, you can keep clicking the "next" or "random" button at each website, and navigate the entire ring without seeing the same site twice. Here's an example of one webring I belong to:

/glitter: a ring of girls/
/ back / next / stats /
/ list / join / random
/

Now anyone who reaches any website in your ring, has the potential to eventually reach your site. Webring has a directory of rings, similar to Yahoo, where you can search for a ring relevant to your keyword(s).

With solutions come problems.

As great an idea as webrings are, people have a way of abusing the system and messing it up for everyone. Many webrings are now close to useless because of a basic human characteristic: greed. While Webmasters would love to have other, often competing, sites direct traffic to them, they are not looking to divert their traffic to a "competitor". So they join a ring, put up the necessary links, and once they are officially in the ring, they remove the links. Presto, they "get" traffic, but don't "generate" traffic. The result is that it's very difficult to navigate many webrings, and those same webmasters don't see all that mcuh traffic from the webring they joined.

Webring is aware of the problem, and has code in place to allow a ringmaster to detect which sites have the code in place. But this requires too much work on the part of the ringmaster, and the result is many poor webrings. Even if most of the sites in the ring do have the code in place, a poor ringmaster might let in non-relevant sites into his ring, again rendering the concept and that ring, useless.

Netscape + Webring = Synergy and a solution.

If  Netscape and Webring formed a partnership, they could both derive great benefit to each other and themselves. My idea is that when a website joins a webring, there will be integrated controls built into the browser. There should be a drop-down listbox where the name of the current ring resides, and a "previous", "next", "random", "join", "stats" and "list" buttons integrated into the browser. So if a webmaster joins a ring, he will not have any code to place or remove, because this will all be done from the server once the ringmaster allows the site into the ring. Traffic gets generated to Netcenter by being part of the webring system. Netcenter, in turn, generates traffic for all sites in the ring. Webring will get a piece of the action (ie ad revenue) too. And the webmasters will just have to add a link into the webring. A lot less messy html coding to do, a lot less checking of bad links by ringmasters and webmasters. And if the webmaster pulls out the link, at least he/she won't kill the ring.

If you have comments, please Sign My Guestbook or email me at cosimabulow@hotmail.com.