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Friday, September 13, 2002

Sympatico-Lycos now just Sympatico again

BCE Inc. has taken control of Canada's largest portal, Sympatico, buying out Lycos' 29 per cent stake. It was always a strange partnership anyway. Those of us who watch this portal business closely would love to see the telecommunications giant make something out of the opportunity - Sympatico is a great household name and also the top ISP in the country - but we aren't holding our breath. Lycos probably got the best deal out of this buyout... disengagement from a meaningless partnership, and some extra cash (or BCE shares) to shore up its balance sheet.

Posted by Andrew
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Thursday, September 12, 2002

Internet Explorerer?

We face a constant assault these days by viruses, worms, spyware and the like. You would think yourself safe by installing virus-protection software, ditching spyware like Gator, and refraining from downloading questionable software. But no!

For months now, pop-up windows keep appearing on my desktop despite the fact that I run Pop-Up Stopper, a free and powerful pop-up ad blocker. I know of no logical explanation for how this keeps happening. And I know for a fact that the pop-ups are not being caused by specific sites, because the ads sometimes appear on my own sites. And I sure as hell ain't putting gambling pop-ups on my sites!

The only clue I have is the name of the browser window that appears. The title in the blue bar at the top of the window says "Internet Explorerer." Even you non-English majors know that this is a misspelling of Microsoft's IE browser. I've searched far and wide on the Web, but can't find any explanation for it. So, I'm turning to Traffick readers for help.

If you know what is causing this insidious intrusion on my browser, please tell me!

Posted by Cory
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September 11

It's impossible, if you're compelled to write, blog, etc., to let the first anniversary of 9/11 go by without some kind of reflection. A year ago, I had made a decision to focus more directly on the consulting side of things. In fact, the "relaunch" of my consulting web site, really the first official opening of the doors, didn't happen until September 1, 2001. I suppose this was lousy timing. But the overall feeling during that slow period was one of thankfulness to live in a society with opportunity and some measure of justice, and a resolve to articulate those values more clearly to those who would have us muddy the waters.

Carolyn, my significant other, had issues of her own to deal with. As co-ordinator (and one of only a couple of paid employees) of an umbrella peace group called the Canadian Peace Alliance, she was thrust into the spotlight. Peace was cool! Peace was hip! Peace was the enemy! No one save for those bizarre, headstrong individuals who place angry calls to call-in radio shows, was quite sure how to deal with the concept. If I had one wish, the media wouldn't so often make issues into mudslinging matches designed to show that there are "two sides" which "hate each other."

I suppose the good thing about being needed in a time of crisis is that you don't have time to get depressed about it. Fortunately for me, business picked up in January, so I had less time to ponder.

The year has been a long journey for us, and for many of you. Coupled with a down economy, the tragedy caused many to look inwards, buying homes, getting hitched, having children, taking time out to build a birdhouse, read a few books, or help a neighbour. From the ashes, much new growth emerged for many people.

We probably not only need to look inwards, but farther forward, and deeper into the issues. Canada's Prime Minister, Jean Chretien, yesterday had a rare moment of lucidity, pointing out that the "Western world is seen to be greedy, always wanting more when so many elsewhere have nothing, arrogant, without limits." Already some have interpreted this as an anti-US statement, but it wasn't. Canada remembers 9/11 as a day when our values and our institutions were attacked, and we know it could very well happen here in Toronto someday. Indeed something like 60% of Toronto citizens (in a recent poll) now believe that we "will be the target of a major terrorist attack." There was much respect and much solidarity with our neighbours to the south yesterday, as with one year ago.

Back to business, though.

It must be so very interesting to work for a major search engine, and to have access to the real time data showing the ebb and flow of certain search phrases. I've had a glimpse of that myself just looking at some activity on client Google AdWords Select ad campaigns. Over the past three days, searches on terms related to "risk management" have shot way up.

Prime Minister Chretien's uncharacteristically clear thoughts about the global situation stand in stark contrast to the tightly-boxed concepts that are supposed to help people become better managers. In one sense, you can always hedge risk if that risk is tied to currencies, commodities, or market uncertainty. In a larger sense, you cannot manage risk, as last year's tragic events proved. Each day is a risk. It's worth it. Take one tomorrow, and the day after that.

Posted by Andrew
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Monday, September 09, 2002

LookSmart Submission Tip: "Avoid Them Like the Plague"

I was perusing Robert Woodhead's exemplary selfpromotion.com resource today, and noticed his little blurb on LookSmart, who he expects will "curl up and die" soon. Come on Robert, tell us what you really think!

Unfortunately, several formerly vital avenues for web site submission look to be on the brink of entering that bankruptcy-induced fetal position, leaving us in a conundrum as to what to do for clients who need somewhere to plop their fall web site promotion budgets. When you consider that the only other major non-Yahoo directory left is dmoz.org, and many editors there have gone on permanent hiatus, it's a strange state of limbo that we can only hope won't continue indefinitely. The world needs good Internet directories, especially in light of the weight Google continues to put on dmoz.org as an authoritative categorizer of web content. But the enthusiasm for creating them seems to have waned.

Posted by Andrew
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