An Amazon Christmas - WebReference Update - 011213 | WebReference

An Amazon Christmas - WebReference Update - 011213

((((((((((((((((( WEBREFERENCE UPDATE NEWSLETTER ))))))))))))))))) December 13, 2001

This week we look at holiday shopping online, and offer some caveats. In other news next month's Web Techniques is out. One article explores the advantages of self-organized sites, like Slashdot and StoryMania.com. Google has announced they've practically doubled the number of "documents" they index, including USENET archives from the beginning, 1981. Google's pushing the freshness factor too, bubbling up news stories on relevant search terms with new freshness dates. Happy shopping.

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New this week on WebReference.com and the Web:

1. FEATURE: An Amazon Christmas 2. OTHER VOICES: * Self-Organizing Sites * Creating Search Engine Friendly Web Sites * Using CSS2 to display XML documents * Better living through XML schemas 3. NET NEWS: * Google Fires New Salvo in Search Engine Size Wars * Ulead PhotoImpact 7

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~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ 1. FEATURE: An Amazon Christmas

Is it possible to avoid the holiday crowds and buy all your presents online? Yes, but you've got to plan ahead. Being the Web guy that I am I decided this year to try and do all my holiday shopping online. What follows is a summary of my experience.

After poring over the (extensive) wish lists from my relatives, and after some research into this year's goodies I fired up the modem. Credit card in hand, and one-click buying buttons hovering under my mouse I was ready to shop.

Avid Update readers will recall my fascination with LED flashlights. My first stop was at ARC Flashlight, where I placed orders for a bunch of AAA LED Keychain lights, one for each relative. These arrived on time, but a couple had some glitches. With the manufacturer's 10 year guarantee I had no worries, and defective items were promptly replaced. Score one for great customer service.

http://www.arcflashlight.com

Amazon was my next stop, having a number of books and such to buy. All of the new books that I ordered arrived on time and in good order. They've got a tracking/notification system that lets me know via email and the Web the where and when of my orders. Score two for superb customer service. However...

Amazon has another feature I thought I'd try out for myself, used books. Bring up a new book page, and you'll often see a button for used versions of the book. Amazon now lets users sell their used books at discount prices. A good way to save money I'm thinking. It is, when it actually works.

My first experience was a positive one. Saved over 60% and got the book on time in great condition. The second time I tried it I found the seller had sent the book to someone else. Amazon had apparently got the notification emails mixed up. I'm not a happy camper. I don't blame the seller, she got caught in the middle.

Could the disconnect between far-flung sellers and Amazon's back- end be the problem? I'm not sure, but it needs some fine-tuning. Luckily Amazon has what they call the "A-to-z Guarantee" where non-delivered or sub-par orders are guaranteed up to $2500, including shipping. Only problem is, now I've got to wait 30 days to get my money back, and more importantly I don't have the book.

I ended up going to the mall anyway, just to experience that holiday rush and the atmosphere. After elbowing my way through a few stores I'd had my fill of holiday cheer. My advice, read the reviews of the seller, and be nice to your UPS person. They are pretty busy this time of year.

http://www.amazon.com

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~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ 2. OTHER VOICES: Self-Organizing Sites, Creating Search Engine Friendly Web Sites, Using CSS2 to display XML documents, Better living through XML schemas

* Self-Organizing Sites

Self-organizing sites help tame the info deluge and reduce the cost of running a site. Web Techniques explores the issues involved in sites like Slashdot and StoryMania.com. http://www.webtechniques.com/archives/2002/01/alam/ Web Techniques, Jan. 2002

* Creating Search Engine Friendly Web Sites

Tips, techniques and new strategies for creating web sites search engines love, from two internationally regarded search engine optimization and site architecture experts. http://www.searchenginewatch.com/searchday/01/sd1212-sa.html Search Engine Watch, Dec. 12, 2001

* Using CSS2 to display XML documents

A lightweight approach for viewing XML is to attach a cascading style sheet to XML documents and then use a recent Web browser to view them. http://www-106.ibm.com/developerworks/xml/library/x-tipcss2/index.html IBM Developerworks, Dec. 2001

* Better living through XML schemas

Easier to use and more informative than the old SGML-based DTD, XML schemas define and validate your XML data structures. http://builder.cnet.com/webbuilding/0-3882-8-8090622-1.html Builder.com, Dec. 6, 2001

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~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ 3. NET NEWS: Google Fires New Salvo in Search Engine Size Wars, Ulead PhotoImpact 7

* Google Fires New Salvo in Search Engine Size Wars

Google announced today that its web index has grown to more than 3 billion documents, including a complete Usenet archive dating back to 1981. Now with freshness dating. http://www.searchenginewatch.com/searchday/01/sd1211-google.html Search Engine Watch, Dec. 11, 2001

* Ulead PhotoImpact 7

WDVL reviews Ulead's new PhotoImpact 7. http://wdvl.internet.com/Reviews/Graphics/Ulead/ WDVL.com, Dec. 12, 2001

That's it for this week, see you next time.

Andrew King Newsletter Editor, WebReference.com aking@internet.com

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