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Having seen the progress of www.hardwarezone.com from 1998 to 2000, the next year wasn't quite as big a leap as of our earlier years where layout and content is concerned. Nevertheless, there were still several key advancements that took place in 2001 concerning our services and offerings from the growing media publishing company (not to mention combating the dot-com bubble that burst and was rippling through cyberspace during this phase).
First and foremost, www.hardwarezone.com embraced a new logo to better associate itself with the growing community-centric services. With the community represented by the ring surrounding the circle of services of HardwareZone, this logo has since faithfully represented the online portal and its very essence.
Along with the new logo, the HardwareZone portal also saw some small layout changes where more services were lined up on the sides surrounding the various news highlights while the reviews section followed just underneath it. By this time, the portal was seeing traffic in the estimated range of 5 million pageviews a month and if you were to step back in time, here's how it would have looked like then:-
Other notable services that were incorporated in 2001 are as follows:-
- HardwareZone Mobile ver.1.0 (a 'Lite' version of HardwareZone, Pricelists, Classifieds and Reviews for surfing on the move using PDAs and Avantgo)
- HardwareZone Chat Service (a dedicated channel to cater to members wanting to engage in real-time discussions and reduce the reliance of the EDMW forum for such needs. However over time, members just found EDMW more convenient for this purpose even if the forums were never meant for real-time chats.)
- HardwareZone Auction service (an alternative bidding mode of used goods sale other than the Classified listing in the forums)
The Chat Service had an interesting history which unfortunately didn't last too long, so allow us to touch on its origin and creation. As HardwareZone and its community services grew ever more popular, most notably its forums as the gathering place for interaction, the EDMW forum in particular had grown in a way that attracted an almost IRC-like experience - meaning members literally used it for almost real-time chatting. The nature of the forum service was certainly not at all catered to instant chatting and it was best left to IRC-like clients and their virtual chat-rooms.
This is why the HardwareZone Chat service was created to offer a proper avenue for such instantaneous and spontaneous discussions. Its goal was met initially, but somehow folks still landed up in EDMW to continue using it like a chat room. The most probable reason is that folks from this level of the tech community aren't just interested in shallow talks, but rather want to intermingle and eventually get to be better friends, be it virtually or in reality and build a knowledgebase. This may not have been their goal, but it if you analyze it enough, these are the resultant reasons.
The forums are a great resource to track back on past topics, discussions and doesn't get erased (not until pruning time comes along) nor thrown into some log text file that's not searchable. Plus the forums are far more structured and promote a much larger user base to interact than a chat room could ever handle.
The popularity for this sort of forum based discussion has even hit our other forums in recent times and has spawned a dedicated chit-chat thread for members who constantly stick around in particular forums. After all, with nearly 100 forums and over 300,000 members, such preferences are bound to show up, but our moderators aren't overly hard-handed and have accommodated the members' needs while keeping all forums true to their intents.
Speaking of community, 2001 was the height of the bubble tea craze in Asia and what do you get when you mix that and a vibrant community like our HardwareZone forums? For those who've not been around as long as our site has been, the next page would be quite a shocker, but for those who have been, it's cool nostalgia and quite literally speaking too!
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