June 17, 1996
By Bob O'Donnell
Now it's official. As of today, InfoWorld Electric is officially launched. Or, to
borrow an analogy from the software world, we've gone gold.
Of course, those of you who've been visiting the site on a regular or even semi-regular
basis since its introduction on Nov. 14 of last year are probably wondering what I'm
talking about. While you've undoubtedly noticed a few changes we've made to the site,
there's nothing tremendously dramatic about what happened over the weekend. We didn't
redesign the look of the site or change its focus; we simply continued to refine its
appearance, its content, and its operation. Based on reader feedback, that's all we needed
To continue the analogy, think of the original site as a 0.9 beta. Introduced without
much fanfare, it was very close in look and concept to the finished product, but still in
need of a few features and some fairly extensive refinements. After its release, we took
feedback from our users, drafted a plan for enhancements, set a "release" date
schedule, and implemented the changes we felt were essential to offer a 1.0 version of the
product. The result is the InfoWorld Electric site that you see today.
So what did we do? Quite a bit, actually. First, we upgraded our registration process
and the system behind it. We purchased a third Silicon Graphics workstation to run a
dedicated Oracle7 database, programmed a new database, and created an entirely new
registration form. The new system offers numerous improvements over its predecessor;
specifically, it automatically confirms your registration with an e-mail message that
includes your name and password, it permits immediate entrance into restricted areas of
the site (i.e., Forums, and, soon, This Week in Print), it allows you to enter
international addresses, and it lets you change your password on your own. If you somehow
manage to lose our confirmation message, we've also developed a simple new method for
retrieving your username or password. We will offer a form on our site (off the Reader
Services page) where you can fill in your username and the system will automatically send
you an e-mail with your password.
That's the good news. The bad news is that we are requiring everyone who's registered
for Electric via our old system to re-register with the new one. In addition, all InfoWorld
print subscribers must fill out the complete form. To ease the process, we are allowing
existing usernames and passwords to work with our Forums section until July 15. After that
date, however, the old names and passwords will not work. New usernames and passwords will
also be required to enter the This Week in Print and Back Issues sections as of July 15.
As with print subscriptions, InfoWorld Electric registrations are good for one year from
the date you register.
The decision to require re-registration was not an easy one because many thousands of
you have already registered. Unfortunately, because of problems and limitations with the
original system, the data we captured with it is of very limited value. The only way we
could guarantee an accurate and complete database was to start again from scratch.
Needless to say, we apologize for this inconvenience.
The other major changes we've made involve the business side of Electric. First of all,
you've probably noticed the new, larger ad size. Our initial advertising partners let us
know that they needed a larger canvas on which they could paint their various messages,
and the new size reflects that need. To compensate for the larger dimensions, we've
reduced the number of ads per page. In addition, we've also introduced a new Advertising
Services page for those companies interested in gathering more information about doing
business with InfoWorld and InfoWorld Electric. Of particular note is the new
Lion's Den section, put together by InfoWorld's marketing department, which is a
complete online resource for all of InfoWorld and InfoWorld Electric's marketing
and sales data.
In addition to these major changes, we've continued to improve and refine our
navigational system, enhanced the look of our Search pages, and made numerous other small
Of course, as with software development, the release of version 1.0 is not an ending
point, but merely a demarcation line in the sand. We will continue to make important
additions and improvements to InfoWorld Electric, based on your feedback and our own
ideas, so that it retains its position as the Web's best resource for IS managers. In the
meantime, let us know what you think.
© Copyright 1996, by InfoWorld Publishing Corp., a
subsidiary of IDG Communications, Inc. Reprinted from InfoWorld,
155 Bovet Road, San Mateo, CA 94402. Further reproduction is prohibited.