The recent demise of Network World's print edition took with it my back-page column called 'Net Buzz, which I had filed weekly - biweekly in recent times - for the past 14 years. My very first contribution, published March 1, 1999, was about a problem that persists to this day. Here are the first few paragraphs:
Typos happen . . . ask any journalist. Or ask my childhood neighbor, Mr. Vigorito, whose clothing store once placed a newspaper ad for "knit shirts," only to have a typesetter drop that mission-critical "r" from "shirts." My 11-year-old friends couldn't stop giggling, although businessman Vigorito was not at all amused.
You can also presume they aren't laughing these days at E-Trade, Infoseek, Lycos, Amazon.com or virtually any other online concern that has made a big name on the Internet. Typos are taking a toll on the branding of these famous companies for two reasons: Some Web surfers couldn't spell URL if you spotted 'em the "u" and the "r," and the 'Net has no shortage of weasels willing to exploit that fact.
Which brings us to the so-called "typo Web site," a URL intentionally designed to divert the alphabetically challenged from their intended destination to someplace else. That someplace else is usually a porn site or fly-by-night way station with links to porn sites.
A few of the names have changed - gone away, to be more precise -- but the problem has not.
If you'd like to read the whole column, you can find it here ... and also get a load of what Network World online looked like in 1999. My intent is to dredge up more of these old items - including from the early years of Buzzblog - and present them here once a week or so.