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The user is a rapidly evolving creature being defined by possibility.
opinions from the head lemur
[Posted] May 12, 2000

An Open Letter to the E-Commerce Times

I have read the E-Commerce Times as part of my morning ritual for over a year to see what is happening on the web. I enjoy the reporting, and the layout and navigation. I have recommended it to visitors to my site. I feel it is a valuable contribution to the web. I have used it for background material for my own writings.

I had even installed the E-Commerce Times News ticker on the news section of my site. http://www.lemurzone.com/news/index.htm

I had put it up as something that I felt would be of value to the visitors to my site.

This has changed.
This morning I discovered that it was attempting to set cookies.
I have removed it.
I do not believe in the use of gratuitous use of cookies.
On e-commerce sites they are necessary and valid to enable shopping carts. For login on community and discussion sites they are valid.

I Believe If you build a friendly site with compelling content, visitors will come to you. I have written a number of opinions on this issue.

these links will open in a new window

"Click-Thru is Evil II"
http://www.alistapart.zeldman.com/stories/clickthru/

"Time to Close the Web?"
http://www.alistapart.zeldman.com/stories/closingtime/index.html

"Cookies in the Back Door"
http://www.lemurzone.com/edit/converse21.htm

DoubleClick Opts Out
http://www.lemurzone.com/edit/converse20.htm

I build websites for a living. It is my day job. It is not a hobby, nor a placeholder on a resume until something better comes along.

If you build a friendly site with compelling content, visitors will come to you.
I treat visitors as adults with the power to make their own decisions.
I do not electronically Rape them, by pushing cookies on them.

You already have an arrangement with DoubleClick to serve ads on your site. That is a business decision on your part. You may say without this advertising revenue you could not publish what you do. I have heard this argument time and time again from sites that serve banner ads.

This is an old argument.
This is what is directly responsible for the poor quality of network television, major magazines and newspapers.

It is not a valid argument for the Internet.
The majority of websites are their own advertisements. They offer information, viewpoints, commentary, products and services without any help from banner advertisers.

I would offer a counter proposal.
The Internet is already the largest source of granular, focused, and target rich destinations for finding information, discovering new resources, and targeting select audiences for just about anything the human race can learn, is thinking about or wants to buy.

Advertisers should be bidding for the opportunity to place ads on you site, not calling the shots by tying your hands, your hearts and your editorial freedom with their thirty pieces of silver.

When the advertising revenues and placements take precedence over the content of whatever medium you publish, you have a problem.

The Internet was conceived as a collaboration tool for the exchange of information. It is developing into a plaid suited hucksters bazaar of such commercialism that the Federal Trade Commission is issuing regulations as fast as they can write them.

Let's Recap

If you build a friendly site with compelling content, visitors will come to you.

If you build a friendly site with compelling content, visitors will recommend you to their friends.

If you build a friendly site with compelling content, advertisers will come to you.

The final question is:

Whose site is it anyway?
Yours DoubleClicks, or some other advertising agency?
It's your call, but it's not your Internet.

alan herrell - the head lemur
Help a Site http://www.evolt.org
Standards for Sites http://www.webstandards.org
Buy a Site http://www.lemurzone.com

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