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Cyber Begging-bowls 17 July 2001 Edition
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Million $ Ideas
At last, the contents of Aardvark's "million-dollar ideas" notebook are revealed for all to see!
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One could be forgiven for believing that the online publishing industry had hit rock bottom if you were to read this story from IDG.

I'm not knocking Scoop.co.nz, it's a great site with good content -- but I am concerned that they, and an increasing number of other sites, have been forced onto the streets of the information superhighway with their begging bowls in hand.

Indeed, the demand for administering these begging-bowl systems has become so high that earlier this year Amazon.com even started offering a service designed to collect donations made to such impoverished publishers.

Now I could understand this kind of thing being just the bee's knees for something like the Salvation Army's War Cry magazine -- but online news and the like?

Actually, if you hadn't realised it, I am being just a little tongue in cheek here.

I think it's actually not a stupid thing for online publications to openly solicit donations from readers -- especially if it allows them to continue providing quality content without having to resort to dorky gimmicks (like words that chase your mouse pointer or pop-under windows) just to squeeze a few dollars out of advertisers.

Of course donations (preferably in unmarked notes or gold bullion) would be most welcomed by Aardvark -- but then there's always the risk that accepting such "donations" might affect my objectivity.

What's next though I wonder -- cyber soup kitchens?

Readers Say
(updated hourly)
  • Mouse Chaser's... - Ian
  • It's not just NZHerald... - Chris
  • what the herald told me... - Robert
  • NZ Herald reply... - Stanford
  • Herald mouse games... - Nik
  • Have Your Say

    Too Smart?
    Just who is the idiot at the NZ Herald website who thought it would be clever to use some Javascript to annoy the stuffing out of visitors by having some inane message chase the mouse-pointer around the screen?

    Is this yet another case of "Forget the content -- just look at how clever we are"?

    While it was ever-so slightly tolerable yesterday, today it has become nothing but an annoyance that detracts from the site's otherwise useful functions. It's just like those God-awful watermarks that our TV broadcasters are inflicting upon us these days by plonking their station logos in the corner of the screen.

    And is it really worth adding 200 extra lines of Javascript code to a page just to do this?

    Unless the whole idea of this little piece of annoy-ware was to get a mention in Aardvark then I suspect it is not going to be doing a lot to endear visitors. I wonder how many people, on visiting the Herald website, wondered if they'd caught some terrible virus or been hit by an evil hacker.

    And the message -- "we like One number" -- is of course related to an ad being run for Telstra/Saturn -- or at least I guess that's what it's all about by looking at the Javascript code itself.

    Unfortunately the adserver at Focalink.com wasn't responding this morning so all I could see was this broken graphic where the ad should be.

    Please NZ Herald, just stick to banners, even if they're big ones -- and for goodness sake, don't succumbe to the temptation to start delivering those awful pop-under windows!

    Or maybe I'm just being grumpy again :-)

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