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Alan Herrell - The Head Lemur

10th of July 2000

     Alan Herrell, the head lemur, is campaigning for election to the ICANN Board of Directors. Later this year, five Directors of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) will be selected by ICANN's At Large Members in a worldwide online election. As the first step of the election process, ICANN has chartered a Nominating Committee to select a set of candidates for consideration by the At Large Members.

     As a member in good standing of Evolt.org, Domain Issues.org, and the Web Standards Project, plus a frequent contributor to AListApart, his lemurness has an extensive background in issues that will be front and center for ICANN now and in the future. Internet Brothers endorses his candidacy and encourages you to do the same. Visit Campaign 2000 to learn how you can participate in the process. Following is an open letter to the E-commerce Times authored by Mr. Herrell outlining some of his Internet privacy concerns:

An Open Letter to the E-Commerce Times

I have read the E-Commerce Times as part of my morning ritual for over a year to see what is happening on the web. I enjoy the reporting, and the layout and navigation. I have recommended it to visitors to my site. I feel it is a valuable contribution to the web. I have used it for background material for my own writings.

I had even installed the E-Commerce Times News ticker on the news section of my site. I had put it up as something that I felt would be of value to my visitors.

This has changed.
This morning I discovered that it was attempting to set cookies. I have removed it. I do not believe in the gratuitous use of cookies. On e-commerce sites they are necessary and valid to enable shopping carts. For login on community and discussion sites they are valid.

I believe if you build a friendly site with compelling content, visitors will come to you. I have written a number of opinions on this issue.

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I build websites for a living. It is my day job. It is not a hobby, nor a placeholder on a resume until something better comes along.

If you build a friendly site with compelling content, visitors will come to you.
I treat visitors as adults with the power to make their own decisions. I do not electronically rape them, by pushing cookies on them.

You already have an arrangement with DoubleClick to serve ads on your site. That is a business decision on your part. You may say without this advertising revenue you could not publish what you do. I have heard this argument time and time again from sites that serve banner ads.

This is an old argument.
This is what is directly responsible for the poor quality of network television, major magazines and newspapers.

It is not a valid argument for the Internet.
The majority of websites are their own advertisements. They offer information, viewpoints, commentary, products and services without any help from banner advertisers.

I would offer a counter proposal.
The Internet is already the largest source of granular, focused, and target rich destinations for finding information, discovering new resources, and targeting select audiences for just about anything the human race can learn, is thinking about or wants to buy.

Advertisers should be bidding for the opportunity to place ads on your site, not calling the shots by tying your hands, your hearts and your editorial freedom with their thirty pieces of silver.

When the advertising revenues and placements take precedence over the content of whatever medium you publish, you have a problem.

The Internet was conceived as a collaboration tool for the exchange of information. It is developing into a plaid-suited hucksters bazaar of such commercialism that the Federal Trade Commission is issuing regulations as fast as they can write them.

Let's Recap

If you build a friendly site with compelling content, visitors will come to you.

If you build a friendly site with compelling content, visitors will recommend you to their friends.

If you build a friendly site with compelling content, advertisers will come to you.

The final question is:

Whose site is it anyway? Yours, DoubleClicks, or some other advertising agency? It's your call, but it's not your Internet.

alan herrell — the head lemur
Help a Site http://www.evolt.org/
Keep a Site http://domain-issues.org/
Standards for Sites http://www.webstandards.org/
Buy a Site http://www.lemurzone.com/


     Again, to learn more of Alan Herrell's campaign for election to the ICANN Board of Directors and how you can participate in the process, please visit Campaign 2000.

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