The Guardian is offering a £1,000 prize for the best British "blog". Short for "weblog", these are diary-style sites on which authors link to other pages that they find interesting. Over the past couple of years blogs have become a self-publishing phenomenon. The Guardian prize is open to any UK blog. "Blogging has become one of the most exciting media phenomena of the past few years and any traditional media owner who wants to be part of the online world has to engage with it," says Simon Waldman, director of digital publishing at The Guardian. See http://www.guardian.co.uk/weblog. Meanwhile, why does The Guardian have to run those irritating adverts that fill part of the screen while you’re trying to read? A Saab advert currently pops up on pages and even if you try to close it, it reappears. Do users have to be bombarded with pop-ups and other adverts? A lesson for other websites.
If you are still thinking about getting a handheld organiser you might want to wait a little longer because prices are set to drop further as manufacturers battle it out. In the US, Sony has launched a new Clie, costing about £100. It’s due to be launched in the UK and features just about everything you could need to organise your life electronically. Other manufacturers, including Handspring and Palm, are expected to drop prices too.
A little-known web publisher emerged as the buyer of Sports.com content, which included the MegaStar.co.uk site. Footymad (www.footymad.net) acquired the businesses after Sports.com was put up for sale. MegaStar was originally part of United Newspapers before being sold to Sports.com. The move could see Footymad becoming increasingly well known for its publishing activities and it will be interesting to see how it fares against the big operators such as Rivals.net and UKBetting.
Websites never really die. The defunct Excite was eventually sold in the US, excluding the UK joint venture. Now ISP Tiscali has emerged as the buyer of the excite.co.uk domain and has just sent it live again. In the US, excite.com, now operated by InfoSpace, is slick and neatly designed. It is hard to see what the UK offering will be like. The Directory is just a version of the free Open Directory, which anyone can run on their site – the licence is free. Of course it’s early days, but one would hope that excite.co.uk might be more than just a run-of-the-mill site – maybe they should follow the path of excite.com, which is shaping up well.