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Domainz Head Rolls 4 September 2000 Edition
Previous Edition

Patrick O'Brien, the CEO of the trouble-plagued Domainz domain name registry has announced that he's packing his bags and will depart the company at month's end.

There can be no doubt the vacating of his office will cause riotous cheers amongst his detractors and pose the inevitable question "did he jump or was he pushed?"

During the past few months, Domainz, and O'Brien in particular, have come in for some stinging criticism for the seemingly unending list of bugs, design flaws and security problems associated with the roll-out of a new website.

The website was developed by Glazier Systems, which is now part of the 4 Advantage Group and a look at their website perhaps gives a good insight into why the whole thing turned to custard.

The Advantage Group's own website is an attrocious example of bad ergonomics and showcases some of the worst misapplication of today's Net technology I think I've ever seen.

A Flash-based menu that sometimes causes the intended selection to move away from your mouse pointer is just plain stupid! Needlessly including a Java applet does little except significantly slow down the page loading for users of Netscape browsers and the site's structure just plain sucks!

Mind you -- it's still better than their first attempt which, if your browser only had Flash 3 installed -- simply showed an animated logo and then stopped dead -- with no links or way of progressing to the rest of the site.

Here's an exercise for those with more than a few minutes of spare time on their hands and a masochistic bent...

Assume you're a prospective customer who wants a website designed -- try to locate where on the site you'll be able to find information on this service. Let's make it realistic by starting at the 4 Webmasters site (now a member of the Advantage Group).

Shouldn't this kind of information be clearly and unambiguously linked from the front page?

Would you hire this company to build you a website based on this sample of their work?

This must be all rather disappointing for Webmasters -- as their work has always been of a very high quality -- whereas the work of Glazier Systems has been the subject of criticism in this column on a number of occasions.

I note that the shambolic Domainz site isn't included in the proud list of references quoted by the Advantage Group -- I wonder why that is?

Is Telecom Sweating?
With its stock price falling, the spectre of possible legislation hanging over its head, and competition increasingly nipping at its heels, Telecom is showing signs of nervousness.

It seems that they have recently commissioned CM Reasearch to check out the market's opinion of some fairly dramatic changes to its product packages and tarrif options.

According to an Aardvark reader who was approached by CM Research, the research questions focused heavily on local-loop options, including media bundles with things such as Sky TV channels and Jetstream high-speed Net access. Look out Saturn?

Could it be that Telecom is preparing a comprehensive response to the inquiry in to telecommunications? Are they hoping that most Kiwis would be prepared to pay a per-call or per-minute fee for local calls if the monthly rental was dropped low enough? Such research would lend weight to the call for the Kiwi share to be dropped perhaps.

And then, of course, there's that 0867 issue to consider....

Another month passes...
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Have Your Say
My goodness -- Friday's casual comments that yet another month had rolled by with no attempt by government to remove the road-blocks hindering our path to a new economy provoked a huge amount of response -- far more than many of my previous commentaries on the subject.

Even some of those readers who, in the past, have been strongly supportive of the government's plans -- and equally critical of my comments, now appear to have finally had a guts-full and are also disillusioned with the rhetoric.

I must sincerely thank all those who have emailed me, especially the ex-pats with their glowing reports of life on distant shores, for keeping me up to date with the sentiments of workers and mangement within the IT and Internet industries.

The offer I made to the government on Friday has now been relayed to the relevant ministers as a formal communication (by email) and, while I have promised to keep the detail of it and any subsiquent discussions confidential, I can say that the ball is now squarely in their court. I'm willing to offer what I consider are a number of bloody good ideas to help if they're willing to accept my input.

As always, your feedback is welcomed.

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Copyright © 2000, Bruce Simpson, free republication rights available on request