an online community for readers of the Gaming Industry News, a
monthly print newsletter for top executives of video game
companies. The newsletter, published by Ziff Davis Media, contains
articles about hot industry trends, upcoming releases, and insider
gossip - business information for decision makers.
is a pilot project to increase the value of the commentary, news,
and business analysis articles already produced by Ziff Davis staff
for the print newsletter. The central idea is to use these
articles as magnet content for an internet application rather than
simply mailing them out printed on a page. An internet application
is capable of many things a monthly paper newsletter is not,
- providing continuously updated news
- supporting regular dialogue between the publishers and readers
- fostering a community of users who can interactively share
their knowledge and experience, generating yet more valuable
insights and commentary.
Building an interactive community around these articles makes them
far more useful to newsletter subscribers, and hence more
financially valuable to Ziff Davis.
The site itself combines key aspects of a publication management
system--facilities for editorial approval and rejection,
versioning, and archival--with features encouraging community
involvement, e.g., user comments, forums, and profiles. The site
is tailored specifically to business executives with neither time
to waste nor patience for a cumbersome interface. The site's
unusually context-sensitive page flow and simple visual design help
decision makers get the information they need quickly, with minimum
From An Executive's Perspective
Here are some site features making life easier from the perspective of a
typical user, that is, a professional in the entertainment industry:
- Extremely simple, user-friendly interface, coupled with maximum
context-sensitivity, speeds up routine tasks like filling in forms,
responding to articles, and perusing user profiles.
- Threaded discussion forums on articles provide registered users a chance to
hear multiple perspectives on an issue and have their own say.
- Specialized Rumor Mill threaded discussion forum permitting both
anonymous and non-anonymous postings. Allowing anonymous postings to this
section of the site enables users to post provocative information without
fear of reprisal. Valuable inside information on the video game industry
is posted at this venue before it is reported anywhere else.
- Alternative modes of access, including an RSS feed of new articles and
email digests of the Rumor Mill, deliver site content to executives in the
form most convenient to them.
- Advanced full-text search of all content, including any-term,
all-term, and exact-phrase searches, provides instant answers.
- Sensitive information is protected via SSL-encrypted registration
- Browseable and fully-searchable user profiles facilitate social
networking between community members.
- Comprehensive user manual for visitors to the site.
From An Administrator's Perspective
The following are a few essential features and highlights from the
perspective of the site's publishers and technical administrators.
- Editing and submission of articles in standard HTML format; protection
from malicious markup. Articles can be edited and previewed right in the
browser, making it simpler to author new content, revise old content, and
migrate print articles to the website.
- Full content versioning, including the ability to revert back to
specified versions. This enables editors to more easily collaborate on
articles through the web interface until releasing a finished version.
- Synchronized site-wide updates of time-sensitive content. All published
articles can be given release dates and/or expiration dates, automating the
task of keeping site content fresh.
- Full control of who is allowed to view which content on the website.
Content designated 'subscriber only' is invisible to non-subscribers.
- Thorough site administration manual describing how to edit articles and
use the content management and versioning systems.
- Comprehensive documentation for each software module comprising the
- a description of the module's purpose
- a list of its limitations and any assumptions it relies upon
- summaries for all page scripts
- its fully-annotated SQL data model
- diagrams as needed
- Separation of presentation logic from business logic via the Smarty
templating engine. Graphic designers can change the look-and-feel of the
site without needing to understand or modify any PHP.
- Centralized site activity summary containing detailed information about
recent subscriptions, logins, popular articles and frequent search
- Hourly automatic emailing of any new server errors to a designated
mailing list of developers. Any technical problems are discovered quickly
and thus affect few users.
The Gaming Industry News Homepage
The Rumor Mill Threaded Discussion Forum
Gaming Industry News RSS Feed
Posting a Comment Directly from an Email Digest Message