Archive for the ‘Random facts’ Category

Some interesting facts about Web design

Wednesday, November 14th, 2007

Tim Berners-LeeModern Web design was (sort-of) founded at M.I.T. In 1994, after founding the World Wide Web, Tim Berners-Lee (pictured here) founded the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Laboratory for Computer Science. The group was founded to help create Web standards, a need that arose after various vendors were offering different versions of HTML. One HTML standard was eventually agreed upon, after which, the W3C was formed, and Web design history was made.

Web design has become what is it largely because of the W3C. The W3C may not have put together the first HTML specification, but it has been behind many of the technologies that have advanced Web design beyond its original form. A few examples:

  • October 1996 – The first W3C recommendation is Portable Network Graphics (PNG) 1.0, a cross-platform alternative to the graphics formats most prevalent at the time.
  • December 1996 – Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) Level 1 is published.
  • February 1998 – Extensible Markup Language (XML) 1.0 is released, promoting interoperability and domain-specific markup, and later serving as the basis for dozens of standards.
  • August 2000 – Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG) 1.0, a language to describe 2D graphics in XML is released.
  • May 2005 – Mobile Web Initiative is launched with the mission of making Web access from a mobile device as simple as Web access from a desktop.

The first Web site design was created by…You guessed it, Tim Berners-Lee. I guess we don’t hear too much about this because if you could put on your resume “Created the World Wide Web,” you might leave out the part about creating the first Web design. This site was created using HTML, went online on August 6, 1991, and was educational, providing information about what the World Wide Web was, how someone could own a browser and how to set up a Web server. The first version of the site no longer exists (no one thought to take a screenshot of it, perhaps?) but you can see a version from 1992 here. We’ve come a long way.

FutureSplash Animator (aka Flash). Flash didn’t arrive on the Web design scene all at once, it was developed over time by a group of people (more here about the history of Flash). And it was news to me that Macromedia didn’t develop the first version of Flash, rather, in December 1996, it acquired the vector-based animation software from FutureWave. At the time the software was called FutureSplash Animator. In 1996, Macromedia released the software as Flash. (How much better is that name?!)

Google’s ground-breaking Web design.Lots has been said about Google’s minimalistic Web design and how it greatly enhances the search experience. But the early Google designs came about due to some serious luck, at least according to 16 Interesting Facts about Google. According to the article, the Google founders didn’t know HTML and they just wanted a quick interface – hence, the spare design. In early user tests, however, they found that people would just sit and look at the screen, not taking any action. When they probed as to why, the testers would claim that they were “waiting for the rest of the page.” To combat this perception, the Google copyright message was inserted to act as the end-of-page marker.

Some interesting facts about Internet advertising

Wednesday, October 10th, 2007

Going back to the beginning. It turns out that the first formal advertising on the Internet happened in October 1994 on Hotwired, when AT&T launched a banner campaign on the site. Actually, there were 14 clients of the first Internet advertising program offered by Hotwired – MCI, Sprint, Volvo and others joined AT&T in using the online platform for campaigns. This is reportedly the first banner ad that was run (by AT&T). It might be clumsy, but it did turn out to be accurate – people clicked.First Banner Ad from IBM

First commercial spam. The first commercial spam e-mail message was sent over the Internet in April 1994 by Laurence Canter and Martha Siegel Legal Services. The spam was advertising a Green Card lottery (the couple that ran the firm were immigration lawyers) and was titled “Green Card Lottery- Final One?

Google is the Internet advertising powerhouse. This week, Google’s stock price topped $600 per share for the first time and it appears that the company now controls more than 40% of online advertising. Not bad for a week’s work. Here’s a look back at when Google’s most important Internet advertising initiatives launched, according to Google’s rendition of its corporate history.

    • 1995-1997:
      Early days of Google, when it was still called “BackRub”
    • 1998:
      Renamed Google
    • September 21, 1999:
      Google comes out of Beta
    • August 16, 2000:
      Launched a targeted keyword ad program
    • October 23, 2000:
      AdWords self-service advertising program is launched
    • February 2002:
      AdWords gets an overhaul, including CPC pricing model
    • 2003:
      Google AdSense program is born

Spending on Internet advertising continues to rise but slowed once in its history. The amount of money that has been spent on Internet advertising continues to rise and has since its inception in 1994, with the exception of a downturn from 2000 to 2002 after the Internet bubble burst.

~ Coming Noon ~ 

Some interesting facts about online fundraising

Thursday, October 4th, 2007

·         Political fundraising relies heavily on online donations. News today is that Ron Paul, the long-shot obstetrician presidential candidate from Texas, raised $5 million in the third quarter, and according to those close to the campaign “as much as 80% of the campaign’s donations are received online.” From the reports I’ve read, 80% sounds like a higher percentage than most candidates are receiving online, but all the presidential hopefuls – particularly the democrats– are raising significant money online. ActBlue an online fundraising tool that supports democratic candidates in their efforts to raise money online reports that “for the first six months of 2007, ActBlue has channeled $6.5 million in online funds to Democratic candidates from nearly 62,000 donors with an average contribution size of $108.”

·         The percentage of money that is raised online continues to increase. According to a January 26, 2005, article about the money raised for Tsunami relief, the American Red Cross reported collecting $236.2 million total, $84 million online for 36% of its contributions via online giving. Just a few months later, reports from Katrina fundraising show a marked increase in online giving. By September 2005, the American Red Cross had raised 53% of its money for Katrina relief via online donations. “Of the $503 million raised to date for Hurricane Katrina, $265.1 million has been raised through online donations.”

·         Where is the money going? These statistics aren’t for online-only, but I thought it was interesting to see where charitable gifts are going. According to a report from The Association of Fundraising Professionals, the charitable giving in the United States for 2006 shapes up this way:

§  Religious organizations: $96.82 billion (32.8% of total giving)

§  Educational organizations: $40.98 billion (13.9% of total giving)

§  Human service organizations: $29.56 billion (10% of total giving)

§  Foundations: $29.50 billion (10% of total giving)

§  Public-society benefit organizations: $21.41 billion (7.3% of total giving)

§  Health organizations: $20.22 billion (6.9% of total giving)

§  Arts, culture and humanities organizations: $12.51 billion (4.2% of total giving)

§  International affairs $11.34 billion (3.8% of total giving

§  Environment and animal organizations: $6.60 billion (2.2% of total giving)

·         And the winner is….The 2007 International ePhilanthropy Awards were given out in September in New York City and featured the following winners based on their online non-profit activities:

§  Best Community Building/Volunteerism or Activism Campaign: Peace x Peace, whose mission is to connect individuals and Circles of women everywhere in the world, through the Internet, for spirited conversation and mutual support. They also have a (often disturbing) blog at Week X Week.

§  Best Integrated Online and Offline Campaign:  The American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) won this award with their Friends for Peace campaign, which encourages you to upload your “peace” sign, or make your own at their Web site.

For Peace

§  Best Special Event Registration and/or Membership Campaign: Gulu Walk, which is focused on supporting the abandoned children of northern Uganda, coordinated 30,000 people to walk in 2006. The organization’s 2007 walk is coming up on October 20th.

§  Best Online Donations/Fundraising Campaign: Mama Cash, a Netherlands-based organization with a women’s fund that finances projects conceived by women, won the award for Campaign 88 Days, an effort to convert young, affluent women into donors and advocates for women’s rights. During the 88 days, the campaign raised more than $200,000.

~Today’s view:

Global news gives a global perspective

Saturday, September 29th, 2007

I had dinner with my friend Cara tonight, and she mentioned that she occasionally visits the Yahoo international page and looks at the news sections from around the world to see what the top stories are in other countries compared to the top story in the U.S.  She does it, she says, because it is interesting to see what other countries do and don’t care about vs. what we read about in the United States.

babelfishIt seemed like it would be an interesting thing to look at, plus, since many of the sites are in foreign languages, it was also a good way to use the Babelfish translation service (I’ve been curious to see how good a job it does). So here are the top news stories in 10 countries (plus the U.S.). All translations were done using Babelfish.

U.S.: Troops take back control in Myanmar  

U.K. & Ireland: U.N. envoy heads into Myanmar maelstrom  

Australia: Crowds taunt soldiers in Burma’s Rangoon  

Brazil: Gripe aviária pode ser transmitida de mãe para filho  
Translation: “Aviária grippe can be transmitted of mother for son”
Melissa’s translation: Mothers can pass bird flu to their children

Italy:  Iraq, cominciato il ritiro dei primi soldati Usa
Translation: “Iraq, begun the withdrawal of the first USA soldiers”

China: ??????????????
Translation: “China official gazette commercial bribe leading case”

Netherlands: Rij groener!
Translation: “File Greener!”
Melissa’s Translation: I have absolutely no idea what this means, but there was a picture of a car with the heading “Green Center” next to this headline if that helps at all.

France: Huit ans de prison dans le procès du bus incendié à Marseille
Translation: “Eight years of prison in the lawsuit of the bus set fire to in Marseilles”

Korea: ??? ????? ?? “6??? ??? ???? ???
Translation: “Song the pure Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade minister “6 person conversation written agreements which it pushes oneself who is possible $$ln”

Melissa’s Translation: Again, I have no idea what this means except possibly that Babelfish doesn’t do such a good job with translations of Korean to English?

Spain: Las potencias demoran hasta noviembre nuevas sanciones a Irán
Translation: “The powers delay until November new sanctions to Iran”

Russia: ????? ?? ????? ???????????
Translation: “Pressure in Burma is strengthened”

When I originally copied and pasted into the system that publishes my blog (WordPress) the Chinese, Korean and Russian characters displayed properly. But when I tried to save, they changed to question marks…I left it that way here on purpose to illustrate just how far we still need to go with international compatibility.

~Today’s view: 

Some interesting facts about globalization

Thursday, September 27th, 2007
  • In 2006, the fastest growing Internet audience was in…India, where the growth rate was 33%. India’s growth was followed by the Russian Federation (21%), China (20%), Mexico (18%), Brazil (16%), Italy (13%) and Canada (11%), according to a report from comScore. The growth rate in the U.S. was a mere 2%.

  • The largest Internet population in the world is still in the United States. The same comScore report showed that even though the United States’ growth rate is slower than many other countries, it still leads the world in number of Internet users over the age of 15. China, Japan, Germany, U.K., South Korea, France, India, Canada and Italy round out the top ten countries, ranked by number of unique Internet users. 

  • Brazil, Russia, India and China (BRIC) could have a larger GDP than the G6 (U.S., U.K., Italy, France, Germany and Japan) by 2040. This fact is part of a 25-page white paper from Goldman Sachs, “Dreaming with BRICs: The Path to 2050.” As the paper is fond of pointing out, if this indeed happens, “it will be a dramatically different world.”  In the report, India is shown to have the greatest growth potential of the BRICs, followed by Brazil, China and Russia.

  • More than 50% of the traffic to the Web site is from international visitors. 54%, to be exact. This is a trend that many companies are discovering – that a large majority of their site visitors are coming from other countries. As John Yunker, author of Beyond Borders: Web Globalization Strategies, sums up in his Going Global blog, “This trend [of sites getting more than half of their traffic from outside the U.S.] is a major reason why multinationals have been investing heavily in Web localization. That’s where all the growth is.”

  • A ranking of the most popular sites by country often shows the localized version of Google at the top of the list. Alexa has the rankings of the most popular sites by country, and the results are fascinating. In many instances, the localized version of Google is at the top of the list, giving some credence to the idea that preparing a localized version of your company’s Web site is a good way to start to penetrate that country’s market. In some countries, however, the number one site wouldn’t sound so familiar to the average consumer. China’s #1 site is . Russia’s #1 is

  • The number 1 site that is published in the SeznamCzech language is Sounds kind of like “shezam.”  Anyway, along with finding out the top site in Czech, there is a list of the top sites in 20 other languages, including Turkish, Hebrew and Finnish (Google, Google and Google), on Alexa.

~ Today’s view:

Million dollar domain names

Friday, September 21st, 2007

Million Dollar BillI compiled this list from a variety of sources. I tried to double-check them all, but I want to throw out a disclaimer that some may not be reliable. The information that’s available about domain name sales can be sketchy because many times the people who are doing the buying and selling don’t want to reveal information about their transactions because it can hurt them in future bargaining. So to the best of my knowledge, this is the most up-to-date list of domain names that have sold for millions of dollars. – $20+ million – (I can’t find a reliable source for this – the domain was for sale by at a silent auction in Amsterdam in May, but I can’t find a confirmation of who bought the domain or how much it went for. Rumors are more than $20 million)  - $12 million – $9.5 million – $7.5 million – $7.5 million – $7 million – $5.5 million – $5 million – $5.1 million – $5 million – $3.5 million -  $3.3 million – $3 million – $3 million – $3 million – $2.9 million – $2.75 million – $2.2 million$1.8 million – $1.5 million – $1.5 million  - $1.5 million – $1.4 million – $1.18 million – $1.12 million – $1 million – $1 million – $1 million – $957,937 – (This was the most expensive domain that I came across, so I thought I would include it)

Do you know of any others?


UPDATE: – $2.2 million$1 million$1.015 million – $2.6 million

~ Today’s view:

I used the following sources in compiling this blog post: Internet Marketing

Royal Pingdom

Unhandled Perception


Some interesting facts about domain names

Wednesday, September 19th, 2007

·         Every two- and three-character .com domain has been registered – There are more than 50,000 possible combinations of 2- and 3-letter .com domains if you include the alphabet, numbers and symbols. And every single one of them has already been registered. You could buy a three-letter domain at auction – but prepare to pay top dollar. With luck, maybe you’ll find your company’s acronym. Bid on three-letter .com domains at, where they remind you, “Minimum offers of $x,xxx please.” 

·         Every domain with all a’s from to 63 a’s .com has been registered – This fact comes from Edwin Hayward from the Internet Goldrush domain name guide, who says, “I have no idea who would want them, but every .com domain from 1 to 63 characters long, consisting entirely of the letter ‘a,’ has been registered.” Edwin, I agree. By the way, this interesting fact means that is no longer available. Sorry.

·         The oldest .com domains are probably not what you would have guessed they would be – A full list of the 100 oldest .com domains reveals some surprises. For instance, I would not have expected (no. 30), (no. 42), (no. 50), (no. 68) or (no. 84) to break 100. did not make the list. The first domain was registered on March 15, 1985. And it took 2 years, 8 months and 15 days for the first 100 domain names to be registered. The first 10 registered domains are listed here:

1. March 15, 1985 – SYMBOLICS.COM
2. April 24, 1985 – BBN.COM
May 24, 1985 – THINK.COM
July 11, 1985 – MCC.COM
5. September 30, 1985 – DEC.COM
6. November 7, 1985 – NORTHROP.COM
7. January 9, 1986 – XEROX.COM
8. January 17, 1986 – SRI.COM
9. March 3, 1986 – HP.COM
10. March 5, 1986 – BELLCORE.COM

·         The most common letter to begin a domain name is “s” – The letter “s” is far and away the most popular starting letter for a domain name. Relatively few domains start with Q, X, Y or Z. Dennis Forbes includes a number of other interesting statistics on domain names in his Interesting Facts About Domain Name article, including information on the length of domain names and suffixed domain names. 

·         The longest domain name is… (at least that’s what they claim!) 63-characters is the maximum length for domain names (not including http://www or the top-level domain .com .net, etc.) – so there are others that tie the domain name listed here for longest domain. You can have longer domain names if you count the top-level domain – for example, (This word is not nonsense, but supposedly the name of an actual village in the Isle of Anglesey, North Wales.)  

·         The shortest domain name is…  It’s a tie. The shortest domain names are three letters long, and are available only for the shortest top-level domains – so .com domains, for example, wouldn’t qualify. This leaves only top-level domains that have country codes that are 2 letters. Dirk Loss provides a helpful analysis of the shortest domain names – a list of his favorites are included, some of which are,,, and  

·         Most frequently misspelled domain names – I didn’t actually find this fact. But I did come across Yahoo’s list of the most commonly misspelled search terms.  

~ Today’s view: