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Sep 08, 20042 mins
Enterprise Applications

* Guestbook management aid

Guestbooks are one of those facilities that can be useful on a Web site if they are managed properly. The problem is that they usually aren’t. Go to many sites and you’ll find that ne’er-do-wells and spammers fill them up with profanity, advertising and pornography unless someone is paying attention. And even when someone is paying attention, most guestbook programs don’t have much manageability anyway.

I just found a service that holds out the promise of providing a practical and manageable guestbook facility: is an application service provider that refrains from inserting advertising banners and allows you to: customize background color, background image, text, and link colors; filter profanity (asterisks appear in the message instead of the profanity); post IP addresses next to each guest’s name; ban up to 20 IP addresses to eliminate problem guests; filter HTML code from within messages; include your own images using external URLs within your guestbook; give guests the option of leaving messages that can be read only by the guestbook owner; add headers and/or footers; and customize your guestbook to look like your own Web site.

An important feature when guests want to post to your guestbook: they are challenged to copy a graphically rendered word into a text field to prevent robots from “stuffing” the guestbook. also provides information in its FAQ about how to include the service transparently on your Web site. service costs a very reasonable $9.95 per year – worth it to avoid the hassle of installing and maintaining a guestbook on your own server.


Mark Gibbs is an author, journalist, and man of mystery. His writing for Network World is widely considered to be vastly underpaid. For more than 30 years, Gibbs has consulted, lectured, and authored numerous articles and books about networking, information technology, and the social and political issues surrounding them. His complete bio can be found at

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