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The top kids Web sites of 1996: Six selections guaranteed to bring satisfaction

Greg Skinner (mina@inforamp.net) is a communications consultant for Mina Research and a marketing columnist who specializes in the kids market. He also admits to having an unhealthy obsession with the World Wide Web. KidScreen asked Greg to do some browsing on...
January 1, 1997

Greg Skinner (mina@inforamp.net) is a communications consultant for Mina Research and a marketing columnist who specializes in the kids market. He also admits to having an unhealthy obsession with the World Wide Web. KidScreen asked Greg to do some browsing on our behalf and report on some of the interesting kids sites raising a ruckus in cyberspace.

* * *

-Time Warner

(www.pathfinder.com)

Focus: The vast array of Time Warner progeny.

site content: Hotlinks to some of the best kids sites ever built, including DC Comics, Sports Illustrated for Kids, TIME for Kids, Elektra and Rhino Records.

Presentation: Looks nice, but unfortunately the youth emphasis is buried under the big-name adult titles.

Site dynamics: The kids sites are barely visible, but they are there-use the search tool for ultimate satisfaction.

Marketing support: The usual top-page ad placement, and you’ll find better support at the individual sites.

Innovation: None, except for being the proprietor of so many excellent links.

-Virtual Comics

(www.virtualcomics.com)

Focus: On-line comics.

site content: Comic books (The Skul, The Suit, The 6), limited-edition issues, hidden screens.

Presentation: Amazing use of color-the site’s strong point.

Site dynamics: Kind of flat because the images take so long to load; fortunately, this increases anticipation.

Marketing support: Strong support for itself (you can order the books on-line) and the typical ad placement at the top of the screen for marketers such as Mazda.

Innovation: Excellent idea limited by technological constraints; give it a year.

-SKATEBOARD.com

(www.skateboard.com/

tydu/skatbrd/skate.html)

Focus: Skateboarding and all related activities.

site content: Music, ramp construction, film clips, essays, instruction, the sport-outstanding in its detail.

Presentation: ACTION within a totally organized, concise structure.

Site dynamics: Excellent colors, nice easy links-a snap to get wherever you want to go.

Marketing support: The ultimate site for advertising support embedded in content.

Innovation: A list of skateparks worldwide, chat sessions and tour schedules are just some of the superlative content and demonstrate an intimate knowledge of the target market.

Honorable mention: Sports Illustrated for Kids (www.sikids.com).

-Yahooligans!

(www.yahooligans.com)

Focus: Web site exploration.

Site content: Pretty much every kids Web site out there.

Presentation: You’re too busy browsing to notice that it’s just a huge list with lots of color and a built-in search tool.

Site dynamics: Its ease of use is incredible and its organization spectacular.

Marketing support: Ads continually popping up at the top of the browser; loses impact on viewers after a while, but this surely is offset by high traffic to the site.

Innovation: Excellent idea that someone had to think of; one of the first search tools and still one of the best.

-National Basketball Association

(www.nba.com)

Focus: Pro basketball, through and through.

Site content: News, stats, interviews-every conceivable detail is in here; pure bliss for basketball junkies.

Presentation: Mimics the game-fast-paced, flashy, exciting, energetic.

Site dynamics: The site is soooo busy that you can’t help but be a part of the action.

Marketing support: The NBA marketing machine in full action, plus solid corporate support like AT&T.

Innovation: Downloadable videos by team, awesome archives, live chats with players-why would anyone leave?

-Tum Yeto Inc.

(www.tumyeto.com)

Focus: Skateboarding, surfing, snowboarding, music.

Site content: It puts every other site out there to shame with its organization, clarity and range of subject matter.

Presentation: Nothing could be more compelling than the opener ‘Warning! Warning! Warning! You have illegally infiltrated the Top Secret Command Headquarters.’

Site dynamics: Absolutely no glitches here-the smoothest cruising around.

Marketing support: The ultimate site for promotions, with cool company links in the main page-perfect.

Innovation: A seamless flow of outstanding content-THAT is innovation.

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