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Say What? Internet Lingo

Mary Blackmon October 2006 issue of Skin Inc. magazine

I just took an amazing trip to France, but stammered and stumbled over my words when trying to communicate with people who were working really hard to understand me. I studied the language in high school and college, so I thought I’d be able to navigate my way through the cafés and streets of Cannes. Although I should get an “A” just for effort, as much as I thought I knew, I’m pretty sure I ended up saying things like “I love this chocolate machine and little blanket.”

Language barrier

The same thing frequently happens to most people when they try and communicate with techies who are working on their Web site, or even with online advertising salespeople or publishers who are trying to explain their site’s differences and statistics. True, most spas host Web sites, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that their owners know how to communicate effectively with others about them. The Internet really does have its own language, and people often operate under the assumption that they know what they’re talking about when they actually may not.

For example, how many times have you asked the question, “How many hits does your site get?” Well, that’s not really the right one to ask! It should be, “How many page displays does your site get?” There is a big difference between page displays—also commonly referred to as “page views”—and hits. Why? Because one page view can have a dozen or more hits. This fact allows someone to correctly claim that their site gets millions of hits, but it may not answer the question that you meant to ask.

A “hit” does not determine the size of someone’s site. It is a graphic image, such as a logo, picture or graphic button on the page. And any site can have millions of hits, depending on how many graphics it displays. It has nothing to do with a Web site’s size or popularity. Shocking, isn’t it?

There are many other terms that are important for you to understand, including the following.

Ad impression. Every time your ad is shown to someone.

Bounce. This occurs when an e-mail does not go through to an intended recipient.

Cache. This is when something is stored on your computer’s memory in order to speed up the downloading of pages. It’s helpful to delete cached items frequently in order to see the newest information.

Clicks. The number of times an ad is clicked on by a mouse.

Click-through. The process of being directed to another site after clicking on an ad or a notice. This can’t happen without a click.

DHTML. This is an acronym for dynamic hyper text markup language. It is a type of program used by the programmer of a Web site to make better interactivity on the site for visitors.

Domain name. The name of a Web site.

Hit. The recording of a graphic element on a page. A hit is not the measurement of a Web page and is not to be used for measuring the volume of a Web site’s activity. This is a common misconception. Page views or page displays measure the volume of activity.

Home page. The main page on your Web site.

HTML. This is an acronym for hyper text markup language. It is the type of programming language on which most Web pages are built.

Interactive advertising. Online advertising that involves interactivity.

JPEG. This is an acronym for joint photographic experts group. It is how a picture commonly is stored for use on the Internet. It compresses the file’s size.

Key word. A specific word that may trigger a response. This typically occurs via a search engine triggering an ad or a Web site.

Opt-in. The process of selecting something—typically an offer—by checking a box or button.

Opt-out. The process of refusing to select or accept something—typically an offer—by unchecking a box or button.

Page display. The full display of a page after it has completely loaded and is ready to be viewed.

Pay-per-click. The term used when you have paid to get a click on your ad. This is an advertising model.

Pixel. The single element of a dot on a computer screen. It also is the measurement term for the size of an ad, such as a 120-by-240 pixel ad.

Unique user. An individual who visits a Web site.

Unique visitor. Another name for a unique user.

User registration. The process of someone signing up to become a member of a Web site or company.

Viewer. Someone who looks at an ad or a Web site page.

Viral marketing. Marketing on the Internet that spreads from one person to another.

Visit. The process of coming to a Web site.

Visit duration. The length of time someone stays on a Web site.

Visitor. Someone who comes to a Web site, possibly repeatedly.

Webcasting. Showcasing something that happens over the Internet, whether it is live or prerecorded.

Translation, please

Remember, things can get confusing quickly if you don’t know the language. Take some time to familiarize yourself with techie terminology, and you will have a better online presence because of it.

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