One of the country’s first daily internet news and information services celebrates its fifth birthday this week.
IDGNet, host site of Computerworld and sister titles PC World and Internet Magazine, was launched five years ago under the name @IDG. Its charter was to get local technology news online “in internet time”.
At that time in April 1996, Telecom’s Xtra ISP service was still a month away from being launched and Netscape was the darling of the internet.
The news side of IDGNet, led by news editor Russell Brown, was hatched out of Computerworld’s news team, with the brief of being first with the local internet and IT news. That has meant Computerworld in print has frequently been beaten to its own stories by the website.
“We’ve always taken the view that if we don’t beat ourselves to the story, someone else will, so we’ve made sure we get the news first in one form or another,” says IDG managing director Martin Taylor.
The site has gone through a couple of major design upgrades and will have another one in a few weeks’ time. Its original navigation system was built around the frame technology pioneered in Netscape’s version 2.0 browser and was subsequently dropped from the site as the popularity of frames waned. So, too, did the popularity of Netscape itself whose browser accounted for the vast majority of visits to IDGNet in its first year and now accounts for just 8%.
One piece of technology that’s been around from day one is Lotus Notes, which powers the site and also looks after behind-the-scenes document management tasks.
Over the course of a month, 72,000 people read one or more issues of Computerworld and a similar number access IDGNet, though the audience overlap today is less than 20%. And despite heading into its sixth year, IDGNet is still growing strongly, boosting both its audience and pages served by 300% in the past 12 months. Its unique monthly audience now stands at 90,000 and the site delivers more than three quarters of a million pages of news and information each month.
IDGNet is the hub of an expanding network of IDG sites. IT job site JobUniverse and New Zealand search engine SearchNOW take these statistics to well over 100,000 unique visitors and 1 million pages a month. And these sites will shortly be joined by UnlimitedNet (companion site to IDG’s Unlimited magazine), Reseller News Online, and IDG’s new e-market products TeachMe and Product Finder.