The only place where wildlife and pizzas can be neighbours
The Web is increasingly a world of contrasts - well-executed against sloppy, frivolous versus important, shallow alongside well thought out. This is nowhere more noticeable than in the lists of sites launched every day of the year on the Web.
It is rare that among the sites announced each week in services such as Yahoo!'s Web launch page, one finds sites whose primary aims are overtly non-commercial.
Among the nine sites listed on Yahoo!'s Web launch page (http://www.yahoo. com/weblaunch.html) last week, only one was truly non-commercial in its orientation and aims.
The World Wide Fund for Nature's Global Network Web site (http://www. panda.org/home.htm) presents a wide range of articles, slide shows, quizes and information aimed at heightening awareness of the planet's natural environment.
The September slide show features a series of nature photographs which run by themselves on Netscape Web browsers.
This sits next to an article about the Indian Government's efforts to salvage the country's coastlines which have been ravaged by business and industrial exploitation, according to the WWF.
The site makes effective use of some of the latest multimedia and interactive Web technology.
It features video clips - 15 second teasers of the group's video news releases - audio files of nature sounds including birds, the ocean the jungle, and a multi-lingual environment that offers portions of the site in French and Spanish, a feature rarely seen on the supposedly global Web.
The WWF also seems set on adding new interactive features ranging from Java to Shockwave to slick Perl scripting.
The WWF is sponsoring a programming contest for their Web sites.
In addition to free WWF membership for the top three entries, any selected submissions will be featured on the site.
Now for the contrast: the same week that the WWF places itself on Yahoo!'s Web launch page, so does Domino's Pizza Worldwide Tour, nothing more than an overt, hard-hitting marketing effort with little in the way of valuable and enlightening information.
The site, at http://www. dominos.com/, offers a global list of Domino's outlets, an overview of how the pizzas are made and even a customer survey.
While visiting the WWF site I saw pictures of animals I rarely see and learned about the plight of India's coast. Without visiting the Domino's site I knew that the closest outlet to the South China Morning Post's offices is in North Point, that their pizzas are baked in ovens and that I like their garlic twists as a carbohydrate-filled addition to my pizza.