Why are sites still being coded with Internet Explorer 6 support?

July 10th, 2010

One of the best-known and most broken promises of most PC hardware and software vendors over the years has been the long ubiquitous term, “backwards compatibility”. Or as it is has been known since the early days of Windows 95 and the advent of early USB support, “Plug and Play”. (more accurately called “Plug and Pray”)

Just drop an old video or sound card into your system, run the installer and presto, it should work. Open a Word 97 file in Office 2010 and it should open and format correctly. Install Windows XP over an old Windows 98 install and it should upgrade smoothly, run properly and not give you GPF errors every time you move the mouse. (Maybe that is really, really stretching the saying to it’s limits)

Granted, we all know that there is much hype as there is hope when it comes to something as all-encompassing as phrase like that. However, this is rather forgivable in an environment where you have thousands of hardware vendors, with thousands of drivers trying to run on millions of PCs with an operating system that is always in flux and is always suffering from flaws of it’s own. As John Dvorak said years ago, it is amazing that anything works at all when you step back and take a look at it.

Which brings me to an issue that is not so near and dear to web designers the world over. That being the issue of coding for the red-headed stepchild of the browser world. Internet Explorer 6.

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Affiliate and Advertising Programs: The Good, the Bad and the Waste

July 7th, 2010

Like anyone else who owns, runs and maintains a site or ten or a hundred, one of the prime motivators of doing so in the first place is to make money. When it comes to finding a way to make a consistent, steady buck from a site, the formula for making the almighty dollar is still as elusive as the recipe for McDonald’s secret sauce.

Over the years, I have used several different types of advertising programs. From Pay-Per-Click (PPC) programs like AdSense and Infolinks to commission based programs like Linkshare, Commission Junction and Amazon to impression based programs like Value Click Media. As I own several personal sites and maintain many others for clients, all with a different message and niche, each program has met with varying degrees of success and failure.

With that in mind, I shall do a quick, thumbnail overview of these various ways of adveritising:

PPC (Pay Per Click) Advertising:

If there is one thing that had stood out over the years, it is that in spite of all of the choices you have for advertising, PPC is still the most consistent money-maker. The reasoning behind this is quite simple. It costs neither you or the site visitor a penny to display or click on the ads. Most PPC companies offer many types of ad sizes that will fit into just about space you have set aside for advertising on you site. And if the PPC program is a robust one that offers a wide range of products and services, it can generally fill those ad spaces with relevant ads, even for a highly niched site.

Everything has a downside, and the main one when it comes to PPC is that you have little to no control over what ads will be displayed on the site. Now programs like AdSense and Infolinks will allow you to select from what ad category/catgories you can display and just as importantly, not display. But you cannot select the actual ads that will be shown. Also, you need to keep an eye out in case a competitior’s ad or something non-relevant shown up out of nowhere. The other downside is that such PPC companies do not allow you to see the rates of the ads themselves.

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