Up Front

SAN FRANCISCO (03/03/2000) - Here in San Francisco, we're blessed with a pugnacious weekly newspaper editor named Bruce Brugmann. Bruce, a burly fellow with a penchant for finger wagging, achieved some notoriety when he plastered his mug on billboards and newspaper boxes around town with the slogan "Read my paper. Dammit." Taking a cue from Bruce, I'm here to tell you: "Visit our Web site. Dammit."

If you do, you'll have plenty of company. In December, for example, nearly 1.7 million people stopped in at PCWorld.com, about comparable to traffic on Web sites hosted by the New York Times, the Washington Post, and CBS.

But if you're a typical PC World reader, you don't just go along with the crowd. You need a good reason to invest your valuable time, and there are plenty of reasons why PCWorld.com is worth it. Our readers get the early word on cutting-edge products and technologies they can use at work and at home.

You'll find expert tips on hardware and software; authoritative, independent reviews of the most interesting products available today; and a news section that is written with you--the savvy, business-minded technology user--in mind.

And all of that information is prepared with the same care, the same independence, and the same pro-consumer attitude that has made PC World the leading computer monthly in the world.

New Stuff Every Day

Maybe you visited our site a year or two ago and never came back. I can understand that. What we then called PC World Online was perceived as simply an electronic version of our print magazine--useful for people who didn't subscribe, but not nearly as valuable to the six million or so people who read PC World every month. You should come back for another visit, though, because today we are doing a lot more of the great things you expect from PC World.

We've invested (and will continue to invest) substantial resources in what we now call PCWorld.com. Our editorial staff has more than doubled in the last year, and we currently deliver at least 20 original stories, reviews, and tips every business day. That's 400 significant items every month that you won't find in the newsstand issue. And of course, we also publish the full content of the print magazine online.

As I write this column on a rainy February afternoon, our Review of the Day (soon to be Reviews of the Day) features MediaShow--a nifty bit of software that'll let you turn a routine slide show into a rich, multimedia presentation.

In News, we have a piece on Seagate's fastest new hard drives. The Tip of the Day told me how to solve a hairy problem in Outlook Express, and today's installment of our How It Works series reveals the inner secrets of MP3. Plus, four or five new shareware programs have been posted today--bringing our downloadable library to a total of about 4200 files.

Do I like everything I see on PCWorld.com today? Of course not. We can always make things better, and we are planning to. Let me share part of our lengthy to-do list. Item one: We will streamline our pages and make sure they load faster. Item two: We will diversify the look and feel of our individual pages.

Item three: We will include features that take full advantage of the larger, higher-resolution monitors and broader color palettes in the new systems many of you have purchased. This summer, we will be completing a top-to-bottom redesign of the site that will include simpler navigation, a revamped search engine, nimbler pages, and a clean new look.

But we won't wait until summer to unveil a bevy of new features. One to expect soon is a consumer page rich with columns, feature stories, and tools to help you protect your interests.

Before long, we'll be reviewing twice as many new products every month. We just revised our testing benchmark, and we're planning to expand the PC World Test Center to be sure those reviews are based on the best information we can provide.

Now, here's what we won't do. We will never sell you out. If we don't like a product, we'll be sure to let you know. And we will never unfairly favor a large company over a smaller competitor. We won't include coverage or links in an article because we have been paid to do so. And we won't cover up our mistakes. You have my word on that.

And if you ever think that we're not living up to these promises, I want you to let me know. If you see something on PCWorld.com that you don't like, or if you have any suggestions for making the site better, please send me an e-mail at heybill@pcworld.com. I welcome your ideas, and I'll do my damnedest to fix anything that needs fixing.

Bill Snyder is editor in chief of PCWorld.com.

PCWorld.com gives the early word on cutting-edge technologies. Visit our Web site. Dammit.

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