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14th April 1997
Advertorial or not?
This month's NZ PC Magazine is worth buying for Vikki Bland's column alone. In her column she really lays into PC Direct and PC World over their seemingly "cosy" relationship and an alleged advertorial bias.

Advertorialism is a pretty touchy subject in many areas of NZ's print media industry - mainly because it's often a fact of life and a necessary, albeit undesirable component of trying to spin a profit in such a small market.

I'm not about to contribute my weight to either side of the PC World/PC Magazine debate but I think this situation highlights the value that Web-based publications can bring to readers.

The costs associated with creating, editing, publishing and selling advertising on a print-media periodical are orders of magnitude higher than those associated with a Web-based EZine and this gives EZine publishers the luxury of telling it like it is.

It will be very interesting to see if IDG-PC World or PC Direct respond to Bland's comments, I suspect they'll prefer to keep their heads down and hope nobody notices.

It's hard to make a buck out there
Have you ever thought that it's about time advertisers paid you to read their material? Think about it - with 18 minutes of ads each hour, just one night's TV watching could get you that new car you've been looking at!

Well about 9 months ago, a US site set up just such a system that offered to pay Net users for reading and responding to advertisements sent by email to a special "GoldMail" mailbox.

Sounds too good to be true doesn't it? Well I'm afraid it turns out that it really was, and GoldMail has announced that it's pulling the plug on the idea.

A shame really, it might have siphoned off some of the unsolicited commercial email that currently plagues so many of us and directed it to those who were willing, keen and able to read all those wonderful "unbelievable deals" we're becoming accustomed to having rammed down our throats.

Although the GoldMail site remains active, the management say they're in the process of taking it down - but they may re-establish the operation at some time in the future.

get paid for reading ads!
Oh the pain.. it's lovely!
ISOCNZ still in the firing line
What kind of masochist would want to be an officer of ISOCNZ?

It seems that every time they turn around, another arrow with their name on it is fired by someone. If it's not criticisms over the way the DNS is managed, it's something else - and of course the latest barrage of complaint is associated with the "Internet Governance" conference being held next month. (Aardvark Daily Story).

Trust me, I know what I'm doing!
After spending two days messing around trying to install some Plug and Play hardware and drivers on a couple of Windows '95 PC systems, I can now see why the Net isn't more popular.

How is the average "Joe" supposed to get this stuff going?

I'm no neophyte and I think it's fair to say that I know a hell of a lot more than the average first-time Net user but I felt pretty demoralised after my weekend battling with Windows desire to install multiple copies of the same drivers and get horribly confused in the process. Sometimes Windows 95 just tries to be too smart for its own good!

A wonderfully "smart" Network card didn't help either - its jumperless feature refusing to allow me to set the correct interrupt even though it was otherwise unused on the system in question. In the end I had to put it in a different PC to set the "jumperless" settings and then re-install it in the original box.

My point however is that I pity the poor non-computer-nerd who gets a CDROM from Xtra or somewhere and finds it cripples their system in some way.

Don't be too quick to blame Xtra for having a malicious intent - it seems that Windows 95 has a propensity to screw itself up into a little ball and get hideously confused. I suspect that the Xtra CD could have been made a lot better - but I certainly wouldn't want to be given the job of creating a "foolproof" Internet installation disk under the Windows '95 environment.

And then of course - once we got the modem working, Win'95 (even with the service pack) decided it didn't want to remember the user's dial-up password any more. So.. we fix the symptoms (well documented by many others who have encountered it) - only to find it gets all amnesic again within the hour.

Is anyone else worried that the people who brought you Windows 95 are trying to become the major (only?) providers of Net software and also seeking a position of dominance in the Web TV market?

Sleep well, if you can...

Be afraid, be very afraid!

I Can't Believe It's True!
Remember that TeleGuide Web site that spammed Net users and got into trouble with TVNZ and others for the unauthorised use of intellectual property? Well they're back and although they're a lot tamer, I wonder if TVNZ have given permission for them to use the TV1 and TV2 logos? Perhaps the spirit of cooperation and free-enterprise is alive and well in NZ as it appears NBR has given permission for TeleGuide to republish content from the NBR site. I also hope that in republishing the article at the bottom of this page they really did have permission from Reuters.

The big question would have to be though - what good is a site which seems only to carry last week's programme listings?

What was on TV last week!

All in all, a nice site, but everyone's got to be very careful about using other people's property these days.

Right Of Reply

Dave Blyth of Web Design on the "A voice for Net users?" article in last week's Aardvark Weekly

Dave says...

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