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Comments and (Fwd) Forum One Report

From: Steven Clift <clift@freenet.msp.mn.us>
Date: Thu, 31 Jul 1997 23:40:06 +0000
Message-Id: <199708010440.EAA06154@freenet.msp.mn.us>
To: e-conf@chatsubo.com, COMMUNET@LIST.UVM.EDU, iacn@sheffield.ac.uk, mcowork@mtn.org, www-talk@w3.org, ietf@ietf.org

The Forum One report is excellent again (enclosed).  I encourage you 
to subscribe directly.  Some of the notes address some of the 
convergence/interface trends that I have been trying to follow.  I 
would argue that the killer ap for open community conferencing is 
when the distinctions between interfaces are compromised to the point 
that allows users to choose their preferred interface.  It is not 
that you won't have WWW-only, news-only, or e-mail-only conferencing 
- they will stay for the most part separate, but at the more local 
level where potential participant audiences are low (say in my 
neighborhood) but relevancy is high, I think you need some 
standardized ways of exchanging messages among interfaces.  This 
would work well for more global interactive spaces as well. 

The problem I see is that no one feels they can get rich off of such 
of scheme, because besides advertising, there isn't much to control 
in terms of a market.  It is sort of like WWW browsers - no one is 
making a lot of money on them directly because the general standards 
make it possible to undercut any price and users don't want to 
visit uncompatiable sites.  While MS and NS continually try to 
capture features, they also seem to continually give into the WWW as 
a standards based environment.  I see the same thing emerging in a 
online conference when a super news like system is replicated on 
distributed WWW systems and the host run banner ads to cover their 
costs.  I would guess that many e-mail gateways would be best placed 
at the ISP level and I suppose text ads could be inserted.  In the 
end I am most interested in the non-commercial topic space, but I 
don't feel that it can emerge on its own without some connection to 
global standards work in collaborative messaging.

So am I wrong?  Am I right?  What do people think?  Is this worth 
thinking about?  This has sort of been my crusade as of late, but I 
can't tell if I have hit a cord with many of you.

Steven Clift
Democracies Online

------- Forwarded Message Follows -------
Date:          Thu, 31 Jul 1997 17:03:09 -0700
To:            (Recipient list suppressed)
From:          Jim Cashel <cashel@ForumOne.com>
Subject:       Forum One Report

FORUM ONE REPORT: News from the Web Forum Sector
August 1, 1997

* ELECTRIC MINDS PURCHASED BY DURAND: Electric Minds, the hip, financially
struggling online community <http://www.minds.com> has been purchased by
Durand, a Santa Barbara communications firm.  Durand is the operator of
"CommunityWare" <http://www.communityware.com>, a forum software / hosting /
community site.  Although the financial terms of the deal were not made
public, Durand reportedly is buying the "minds" domain, intellectual
property, equipment, and will maintain Howard Rheingold as a consultant.  It
is not known whether the current Minds community will choose to move along
with the domain and equipment, but they will be cordially invited to take
residence in their new home.

* EXCITE OFFERS "SEARCH WEB FORUMS" FEATURE: Excite has become the first
major search engine offering "search web forums" capabilities.  In
partnership with Forum One Communications, Excite offers service on its
"People and Chat" Channel to search internal bulletin boards as well as
external web forums.  See <http://www.ForumOne.com/excite>.

makers of web forum software, has partnered with UUNET Technologies, the
major ISP, in providing wide access forum technology to UUNET subscribers.
This is the first major ISP that Forum One Communications is aware of
offering forum services of this nature (among the online service providers,
only Delphi offers web-based forum hosting).  For more information see

* FORUM HOSTING DROPS IN PRICE: Inside the Web <http://www.InsideTheWeb.com>
offers free forum hosting services to all web users.  This is the first
example of a strictly "ad based" forum hosting strategy that Forum One
Communication is aware of.  In a related event, Delphi
<http://www.customforum.com> has dropped the requirement of a Delphi
membership for access to forums, lowering the cost of participation.  

* COMMUNITY TECHNOLOGIES BEGIN TO OVERLAP: Different technologies supporting
communities on the Internet, including E-mail discussion groups (listserve),
Internet discussion groups (usenet), web forums, and chat, are beginning to
overlap and cross integrate.  Listserve and usenet, both of which predate
the web,  now have web interfaces; many web forums have integrated chat;
chat is building in web archive features; and the sharp distinctions between
technologies are becoming somewhat blurred.  The process of further
integration with web protocols will continue, yet the technologies remain
fundamentally distinct and a full merger of technologies is not on the horizon. 

overlap, the names used to describe the technologies are overlapping as
well.  The main search service for listserves (Liszt, http://www.liszt.com)
now refers to "E-mail discussion groups".  The main search service for
newsgroups (Deja News, http://www.dejanews.com) refers to "Internet
discussion groups".  The main search service for web forums (Forum One,
http://www.ForumOne.com) still uses the term "web forum", but also uses "web
discussion groups", "bulletin boards", and "message boards".

summary of community technologies:
E-mail discussion groups (formerly mailing lists, listserve)
Internet discussion groups (formerly newsgroups, usenet)
Web Forums (aka bulletin boards, message boards)
Chat (no change).

Got that??

Please write us if you have information which should be included in a future
Forum One Report!


FORUM ONE REPORT is a monthly publication prepared by Jim Cashel
<cashel@ForumOne.com> and Dave Witzel <dave@ForumOne.com> of Forum One
Communications Corporations.  If you would like to be included in or
excluded from this mailing list, please write report@ForumOne.com.  Comments
and information are welcome.

Republication of part or all of this report is allowed as long as Forum One
Communications Corporation is credited.

Forum One Communications maintains the Forum One Index
<http://www.ForumOne.com> tracking over 90,000 web discussion forums, and
also provides consulting services to organizations building or maintaining
online communities.

Forum One Communications Corporation
e-mail: info@ForumOne.com  web: http://www.ForumOne.com
San Francisco Office (business operations): 
Phone: 415 512 8856  Fax 415 512 9409
Arlington Virginia Office (technical operations):
Phone 703 237-8537  Fax 703 237-8274


     Steven L. Clift, Director, Democracies Online
     3454 Fremont Ave S, Minneapolis, MN 55408 USA   
     Tel: 612-824-3747  E: clift@freenet.msp.mn.us

  http://www.e-democracy.org/do/ - Democracies Online
  http://freenet.msp.mn.us/people/clift/ -  Home Page
Received on Friday, 1 August 1997 00:42:46 UTC

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