The new Webmonkey
Webmonkey got a facelift. Too bad it's only skin deep. I like the organization of the site which really hasn't changed from the old front page. I don't like the new ad space-- it takes up roughly 1/4th of the page!
I truly sympathize with web sites trying to make a profit these days-- how do you make money with a web site? Banner ads are not the answer. People are great content filters. When I browse a web site these days I hardly even see the ads now-- I've been trained to ignore them in all shapes and sizes. Visit today's Builder.com front page. I count 8 areas on the page that I consider advertisements (for example, I count "Free e-mail" link as an ad since the free e-mail service is mainly there to show you more ads). But I had to really look to see the ads that my brain had already looked right over.
Maybe it's time for the Internet to return to its roots. Web sites used to be created and maintained by individuals (yes I know-- many still are too). I used to run a web site for Delphi, a programming language that I love. I stopped maintaining it for a while, but I plan to start it up again-- not because it every made me wealthy (it didn't) and not because I expect it ever will (it won't), but mainly because I want to. I like Delphi and I want others to like it too. I program in Delphi and I want to help others who program in Delphi like me. It's more of a fan thing, or a community thing, but not a money thing. The only money I ever made from that site was through Amazon.com's associate program. For a while, I was making about $40 or $50 every 3 months. Now that more than pays for the domain name. If i were to host a few more similar sites on a dedicated server, those trickles would be able to pay for the web hosting too. Make those sites more community-driven (like /. or MeFi or Plastic) and you have a self-sustaining set of web sites that need very little maintenance. That's the way to run a web site.
I think the real future of the web is going to be made up of 3 camps: 1) corporations that have products and services for sale on AND offline and make a profit doing both; 2) corporations that have products and services for sale offline but maintain a web-prescense to advertise themselves; 3) individuals who host their own content via broadband connections or by a third party hosting company. The majority of web sites will be run by group 3 (as it is today I suspect) with group 2 following them and the minority being group 1. You don't need 500 sites that sell shoes (frankly, you don't need any because you should really try on a pair of shoes before you buy them but that's another matter). Which of these 3 groups do you think is going to be responsible for creating the content that people use the Internet for? Group #3 by a long shot.