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Read My Lips: This is NOT a review... it's my personal rant about the current state of the submissions we get in the Web Design & Review reader reviews program

whither the web

...a sorry mess we've gotten ourselves into

Fred Showker, Editor
You know, there are several kinds of web sites, and several kinds of web site designers. Then there is a whole category I like to call web page crafters. Unfortunately there's a large population of what I'll call "Web Loser"
  • There are the high professional sites -- those that cost hundreds of thousands of dollars to build and maintain, and who are staffed by dozens of graphic artists, programmers, account reps, managers and so forth. They never really ever participate with those of us out in the trenches.
  • Then there are those intermediate sites. These are the ones that look like the high-pro sites, but in reality cost only thousands to tens of thousands, and may have a staff of one to ten who build it and keep it running. These make up a percentage of our readership.
  • Next are the bulk of web sites that are single proprietor sites. These may look like a high pro site, but are usually designed, built and maintained by only one "professional" designer. Do not confuse these with personal web sites. This is where you'll find most WDR readers positioned.
  • Then we have the personal web sites. These are the ones that honest people build to express various sundry information from the family snapshots, to societal rants, to freebie (volunteer) sites for others without the wherewith all to build their own site. I won't rant on these. They're doing an honest job -- the best they can -- and I'll help them all I can. These are the readers who really need our help.
  • Unfortunately, then, there are those who call themselves web designers but who have no business whatsoever touching html or an ftp program. These are the losers -- the ones who are only in it for the money, or some kind of personal gain. They really don't have anything to say, no benefit to add, no news, no content. They really don't care about the feelings of others, and they certainly don't have a moment to spend on the community. They just want to get out there and do it as hard as they can -- get as much as they can -- and step on whoever comes along in their way.
Why are we doing this?
Each month I pour through dozens and dozens of web sites looking for those to post to our reviews department. Each month I become a little more disappointed in what's going on out there on the web. That's what I'm talking about today -- the huge disappointment in where we are today.
      This month I had to look at nearly 400 web sites -- to find only 54 that were presentable enough to present to our readers.
Loser: False Identities
If I didn't know better, I'd think you were paranoid. And, you probably are. This month we got 127 entries with FALSE email addresses. I realize you don't want to get spammed or stalked. And, we guarantee you won't when you use any of our forms.
      If you're not honest enough to use a real address where you can be contacted, don't bother to post. The server automatically checks each email address and reports a bounce. By doing so, you're wasting everyone's time. I have to go in there each month and filter through the submissions an cull out the ones with the fake addresses.
      Fake address entries are deleted. Period.
Loser: Dead Web Sites
This one's a real horror story. After reading through all the month's submissions, I check out those that seem to honestly desire an earnest review. About a third the domains are dead. Then the bad part is, we set up our month's slate of posts, process them, code them and post them to the page -- only to find that some have gone dead between checking time and posting time. Or, we get email a week later to say this or that link is dead.
      Ladies and gentlemen, don't post a link if you don't plan to have the site up for at least six months. If it's only for a short period of time, then you really don't need anyone to look at it -- and you certainly don't need a review.
      If there's a legitimate reason for the broken link, tell us, or correct it -- no ill feelings. We realize there are those days when nothing seems to work.
Loser: Blatant Advertising
What? Did you think we would visit your site and buy something?
      Each month well over half the submissions are nothing but pure advertising for the sake of pulling us in to buy something, or hike your views/click-through counters. Sheesh. Did you think the WDR staffers would actually buy something? What makes it worse is they're not even serious. They're only moochers wanting a free ride. We contact them back to find either false email addresses, an automated "info" address, or no reply at all. They're not serious. They only want to grab as much as they can. And, we've never, ever had a single submitter show any interest in purchasing legitimate advertising or even a low cost FOLIO page.
      The form clearly states NO ADVERTISING. The form also says "Description" of the web site NOT the product. All posts that even look like advertising will be deleted.
Loser: Nothing to Say
Then there are those who go through the motions. They fill out the form and then write only a word or so as their description of the site.
      For instance: lia submitted (from a Yahoo address) with a site title of "general" and a description of: it's all about grapich designs. Then there is "Mishy" who sends in a site titled: "Mishy Mulberry" and a description: "to entertain people." What people? Entertain them how? Then we actually go there to find the link broken.
      The funniest one this month was titled: "Yahoo" with a description of "Yahoo" and an address to Sheesh... I think about a third of the population is not operating on a full brain.
NOTE TO INTERNATIONAL USERS: We fully understand that a percentage of our posters and readers are from non-english speaking countries. We exercise a great deal of flexibility with those and either correct the post, or run it as-is. I harbour no ill for those readers who's English is not up to snuff. However, if you plan to communicate in an English speaking medium (which the web is), then learn to read and write English.

      If you don't have something to say, don't say anything. Don't bother WDR readers who really want to learn something.
Loser: Porno, Hate, Evil Losers...
In today's society there's a huge latitude in what is regarded as "Freedom of Speech" and just plain filth. Everyone has their own opinion. In the past we've always posted sites that are sincere and honest even though they may display nudity, sexual subjects, anti-social issues, etc. These sorts of topics take an important role in the overall diversity of society. But don't press your luck.
      The registration form strictly says NO PORNO SITES, why is it that we get a dozen or so porno sites who fill out a registration form. They've been told they won't be included -- yet they waste my time, and their own by filling out the form.
      This month we got several blatant porno or hate sites. We also got one with a cleverly written description that made it sound like an "educational" site about sexuality. We left it in -- until I visited it and found a front page disguised as an education portal, but with links that lead to blatant porno, beastiality, and womenizer sites -- as well as blinking, rude, porno buttons. I squashed it immediately.
Commercial Sites
We typically get all kinds of "free" this and "free" that offers from big commercial sites. What the blink does "free" have to do with web design? This month we got three entries from major stock photography houses. Give me a break! The links take us ONLY to their front page, or ecommerce page. We left in the "Eagles" last month because of the way the description was written -- and this month it's pulled in a rather terse critique. Rightfully so, the submitter attempted to 'fool' us by writing a nice 'gallery' description when it lead to a blatant ecommerce page.
      We had three others this month, a FONT site, and the two stock photography sites. I left them in hoping someone would critique them for what they're worth.
Once upon a time...
We had good people, with honest questions and a sincere desire to get feedback on their sites. Today with more than 75% of the submissions from the likes of those above, it makes me stop and ask "Why the hell are we doing this?"
Ladies and gentlemen, the Web Design & Review web site is for those who wish to participate in a beneficial way -- those who want to learn from others -- those who have a sincere desire to communicate, contribute and benefit. Nothing makes me happier than to know someone has gotten benefit from our sites. Nothing. However, nothing makes me angrier than to be continually attacked by profiteering moochers, brainless idiots and filth purveyors. They have no real purpose on the web and tend only to waste our time and bandwidth, making the web less enjoyable for everyone.
Mr. Nice Guy
This is a nice rant. There's a lot more I could say, but didn't. I'm hoping the perpetrators of the above ills will read this -- and read it well.
      All you good folks out there (who don't need it) don't be worried. The Design Center and Web Design & Review welcome you with open arms. Please keep reading, keep sending your comments, and keep on being a good citizen on the web.
Thanks for reading



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