Getting Your Material Online

Article excerpt

Find out how ordinary people created and maintain specialty Web sites

Getting Your Material Online net.people: The Personalities and Passions Behind the Websites

Thomas E. Bleier and Eric C. Steinert

Medford, NJ:

CyberAge Books, 2000

ISBN: 0-910965-374

328 pages

$19.95

Are you looking for a new challenge in your life? Building a Web site about a topic of special interest can be a rewarding project. For some people it can even evolve into a whole new career. If you're an avid collector of toy cap guns, you can share your knowledge with the world through a Web site and maybe even make a few bucks on the side. But what happens when your site's users start sending you dozens of e-mail messages every day? How do you keep the site upto-date with the latest news and information? How do you incorporate site searching, live chat, and other enhancements? net.people tells the stories of individuals who have grappled with these issues and won. They share how their Web sites have changed their careers and personal lives in some unexpected ways.

This is the first book by Thomas E. Bleier and Eric C. Steinert. They were working together as sales representatives at a software company when they first began using the Internet. They decided to write net.people after seeing how the Internet altered the lives of many around them. They contacted and interviewed the site creators using the "tools of cyberspace." In fact, in the introduction they let readers know that "during the entire writing process, we never met any of the book's participants face-to-face." The authors do seem to retain an enthusiasm for the Internet that many longtime users lose after the first few years.

net.people focuses on certain types of Web sites created by certain types of people. These sites are designed to be used by the layperson and don't require special knowledge or skills. Although the sites aren't usually selling a product as much as providing information, they may include advertising. They are generally run by one or two people, and most started as a labor of love for the site owner. Some have become commercially successful and others are moving in that direction. Many of the site owners have other jobs to support themselves.

Four separate sections cover 36 individual Web sites. The first section is titled "Getting Advice and Educating Yourself," which features sites that are devoted to helping their users. They include Lynn Harris' breakupgirl.com, which provides humorous romance advice; Oliver Mittermaier's careguide.com, a guide to day care for children and elders; and Carl and Kimberly White's waycoolweddings.com, a guide to wedding planning. The second section, "Visiting, Watching, and Playing Outside the Web World," includes several sports-related sites as well as travel and movie sites. Marty Baumann's B-movie site, bmonster.com, provides interviews with actors and lists of films. Cory Suppes' ballparks.com is devoted to the facilities where we watch sports, both amateur and professional. Frequentflier.com, by Tim Winship, offers all sorts of information on frequent-flyer programs. …