Whether an Internet user is stumped for the meaning of a termor hung up on how many nibbles make up a bit, chances are online encyclopedia Webopedia has answers. One of several sites branded under the Internet.com technology portal and run by INT Media Group, Inc., Webopedia has never been a high-flying dot-com, but simply a stable reference source geared toward a general audience. Its award-winning material has been cited in a variety of mainstream and professional publications, and the site regularly appears in rankings of top Web references.
The Webopedia site sets out to define and elucidate practically every mainstream computer term and acronym that might be uttered in English. Beyond individual definitions, which can be retrieved using the site's search engine, it also classifies words into a hierarchy of categories, for example, by listing ADSL within an Internet access category, which is in turn part of a general networking category. Definitions often cite a variety of alternative and secondary meanings and contain ample cross-references to related words and categories. For many words, Webopedia also offers links to external sites with further information on the topic. The site also features such gratuities as a word of the day, special reference pages on popular themes, e-mail newsletters, and a form that allows users to suggest new words. For wireless users, Webopedia also offers a Wireless Application Protocol (WAP) version with features optimized for handheld devices at wap.webopedia.com.
While the 4,000-entry database includes foremost the whole litany of practical computer jargon and abbreviations that have entered the English lexicon over the last half-century or so, Webopedia occasionally delves into more esoteric matters through snippets on, among other things, the paperless office, computer literacy, Internet etiquette, foobar versus fubar, and geeks.
In addition to its main site, Webopedia also repackages portions of its content into sites for specialized audiences, including e-comm.webopedia.com for e-commerce information and applanet.webopedia.com for listings on application outsourcing. Webopedia content is likewise redistributed or linked by partners ranging from Lycos to Dell Computer.
Webopedia, based in Darien, Connecticut, was first offered in the mid-1990s by Mecklermedia Corporation and was affiliated from the start with Internet.com, an IT news portal. In 1998, Internet.com was spun off as a separate business and traded publicly, eventually adopting the name INT Media Group, Inc. In 2000 Webopedia's content was merged with that of ZD Webopedia, a nearly identical site produced by ZDNet, a technology portal that originated with Ziff Davis and was later reorganized as part of CNET Networks, Inc. The name Webopedia is thus a trademark of INT Media, although a handful of unrelated sites have used the name over time.
In addition to its Web content and electronic newsletters, INT Media Group operates trade shows for the IT professions and rents out opt-in e-mail lists of its subscribers to third-party marketers. The company also earns revenue from advertising on its sites and in its newsletters, as well as from various reports and subscription content it sells.
Connelly, James. "38 Sites That Can Simplify Your Life." Computerworld, August 2, 1999.
Crouch, Cameron. "Tech Reference." PC World, August 2001.
Gottesman, Ben Z. "Technology." PC Magazine, March 21, 2001.
INT Media Group, Inc. "Webopedia: Online Computer Dictionary for Internet Terms and Technical Support." Darien, CT: INT Media Group, Inc., 2001. Available from www.webopedia.com/.
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