VOLUME 16 JUNE 1999 NUMBER 6
A.R.C.'s Web Site ExpansionBY JOHN V. TERREY, EDITOR
Target Date -- July 1, 1999
Hurrah! Yes, finally, at last, we can announce that A.R.C. will have its expanded web site up and operational on July 1, 1999. A.R.C. will be the web link to the world of the radio collecting.
The decision-making process has been multifold. First, we had to decide whether or not to do anything. If yes, numerous questions arose. What additional content, ads, articles, etc., should we add to our Web site? How do we balance the needs of both Web users and non-users? Should some of the information be restricted to subscribers only? Financially, how much should be budgeted for this project and where do we expect to recover these costs? Practically, does our own staff do the Web programming or do we hire outside consultants? These are only a few of the many issues we considered.
As we have discussed in these pages for months, expansion of the A.R.C. Web site is a necessity. However, at this time, we do not plan to put all of A.R.C. on the Web. As in the past, Web surfers will continue to see the cover, the Editor's page, one or more feature articles, radio club news and events pages, Radio Miscellanea, and links to related Web sites. New features will be searchable past auction prices and an improved searchable A.R.C. store. But, the most significant addition is the searchable classified ads, which will be accessible to subscribers only. For access, they will use their subscription number and a password.
Searching on the A.R.C. Web site through the classifieds, the auction listings and the books, videos, etc. for sale, has a key feature -- you will be able to fine-tune your search by listing several words and include "AND" and "OR." The complexity of implementing this feature is a key reason why we have hesitated in taking this step to expand the Web site, and have chosen to utilize an outside consultant for the process.
For many of you collectors, a significant aspect of the expanded Web site will be the searchable listing of past auction prices. Although the popular price guides list thousands of sets, collectors still run across one that is not listed in any guide. Also, horns, tubes, etc., are hard to find in price guides. It is useful to see what a set sold for if it appeared in a recent auction.
The shopping features on the current Web site will be improved also. In order to purchase a book now, you must type in the book title. On the new site, you simply click the title to place it in your "shopping cart." And, for the final purchase, the credit card information will be transmitted using a secure method.
Although I hesitate to talk about the future additions to the site, our plans include classified photo ads, display ads, a searchable Photo Review, and a searchable index to the entire 15 years of A.R.C.
Of course, since all of A.R.C. will not be on the Web, the printed copy will still be desirable. And, I hope that as more web surfers see our expanded Web site, they will "want it all," and subscribe. In addition, I hope that surfers and subscribers alike will buy their radio-collecting books, etc., from A.R.C. -- after all, we stock all of our items and usually ship the same day! This is where the payoff is for A.R.C.
We will keep you up-to-date on our progress via the printed A.R.C. But, also, start checking out the Web site mid-June to find out the latest target date and the details on how to access the subscriber-only area -- namely, the classified ads. By the way, keep your mailing label this month, as it includes your initial log-on password.
(John Terrey, c/o A.R.C., P.O. Box 2, Carlisle, MA 01741)