Britefire Glossary - Internet and E-marketing Terms

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A/B Split:

Refers to a test situation in which two randomized groups of users are sent different content to test performance of specific campaign elements. The A/B split method can only be used to test one variable at a time.


When a visitor leaves a page or shopping cart. The abandonment rate is the number of users who abandon divided by the total number of unique visitors for a given period.

Above the Fold:

The part of an e-mail message or web page that is visible without scrolling. Material in this area is considered more valuable because the reader sees it first.

Acquisition Cost:

In e-mail marketing, the cost to generate one lead, newsletter subscriber or customer in an individual e-mail campaign; typically, the total campaign expense divided by the number of leads, subscribers or customers it produced.

Acquisition List:

A rented list of prospects to which e-mail can be sent. Prospects on a legitimate acquisition list are supposed to have opted-in to the list, and possess a certain set of characteristics, example: dog owners who shop online.


Acrobat is a program from Adobe Systems that captures a richly formatted document and allows people to view it in its original appearance, either as a shared file or on the web. Acrobat files uses portable document format (PDF) with the file extension .pdf. To view an Acrobat document you need the freely downloadable Acrobat reader, used as a standalone reader or as a browser plug-in. See also plug-in

Active Server Page:


Address Book Whitelisting:

When a consumer adds a company’s e-mail address or domain name to their e-mail address book. This prevents inadvertent “false positive” filtering out of content that the consumer wants to receive.

Address Verification Service:

A retailer resource that provides affirmation that a given billing address agrees with the address kept on file by the credit card companies.

Addressable Calls:

A description of phone inquiries that can result in an action or sale. A key metric in Pay per call search.


A marketing partner that promotes your products or services under a payment-on-results agreement. The affiliate relationship ranges from simply carrying a button on a web page to full blown e-mail campaigns by the affiliate.

Affiliate Marketing:

Affiliate marketing is the selling on one website of products provided by other websites., for example, has thousands of affiliates, sites that capture business for Amazon in return for a percentage of the sale.


Shorthand for Asynchronous JavaScript and XML, is a web development technique for creating interactive web applications. It is the most common technique used in web 2.0 sites. The intent is to make web pages feel more responsive by exchanging small amounts of data with the server behind the scenes, so that the entire web page does not have to be reloaded each time the user requests a change. This is meant to increase the web page's interactivity, speed, and usability. Ajax is not a technology in itself, but a term that refers to the use of a group of technologies.


E-mail message that notifies subscribers of an event or special price.

Analog or analogue:

Analogue signals are typically represented as sine-wave audio signals, and imply a continuously changing process measured in amplitudes and frequencies, while digital implies a process that is on or off, measured in ones and zeros. See also digital


An anonymizer is a service that acts as an intermediary between a computer user and the sites visited, making it possible to surf the web relatively anonymously. The service prevents a website from identifying a computer’s IP address and blocks cookies. It does not obscure users’ activities from their Internet Service Providers (ISP) because the anonymizer service falls between the ISP and the websites visited.


Abbreviation for America Online. One of the largest online service providers in the US. AOL pioneered internet access for the “home” user in the US , providing easy-to-use interfaces and e-mail, and a huge palette of proprietary online content. It also pioneered online chat for the nontechnical user. See also chat, ISP


A small program written in Java and embedded in an HTML page, and able to connect over the internet only to the computer from which it originated. Applets cannot access any data on your own computer, making them attractive from a security standpoint. See also HTML, Java


An application is a use of a particular technology or software. Online learning is an internet application—the internet applied to education. An application is also a computer program. Microsoft Word is a word-processing application, a piece of software that is applied in word processing. See also killer application

Application Service Provider:


ARPANET (Advanced Research Projects Agency Network):

The US Department of Defense network designed to survive a nuclear attack. This packet-switched, fault-tolerant network was the forerunner of the internet. See also Internet, packet switching


Abbreviation for American Standard Code for Information Interchange. ASCII is a protocol that assigns a seven-digit binary number (a string of seven 0s or 1s) to every letter, number, and character on a keyboard to allow transmission of basic text. For example, the letter “m” is represented as 109 in ASCII. ASCII is commonly referred to as "plain text" and is the most common format for text files in computers and on the internet. ASCII is used to code text in all UNIX and DOS operating systems, except Windows NT, which uses a more recent code called Unicode. See also DOS, protocol, UNIX, Windows NT


Abbreviation for either (1) application service provider or (2) active server page. An application service provider is a company that provides access to applications and services over the internet, relieving its customers of the burden of carrying the infrastructure or expertise required to keep those applications or services in-house. Active server pages are web pages whose content is called from a database, making the pages dynamically configurable to the needs or interests of individual users. See also application


Literally, asynchronous means “not at the same time,” and it applies usually to communication among people on the internet. E-mail is asynchronous, chat is synchronous. See also synchronous, chat


A text, video, graphic, PDF or sound file that accompanies an e-mail message but is not included in the message itself. Attachments are not a good way to send e-mail newsletters because many ISPs, e-mail clients and individual e-mail recipients do not allow attachments since hackers use them to deliver viruses and other malicious code.


An automated process that verifies an e-mail sender’s identity.


Automated e-mail message-sending capability, such as a welcome message sent to all new subscribers the minute they join a list. They can be triggered by users joining, unsubscribing, or by e-mail arriving at a particular mailbox. Autoresponders may be used for more than a single message – can be a series of date or event-triggered e-mails.


B2B or b2b:

Abbreviation for business-to-business. Usually used to describe the nature of a company's business model or transactions, as distinct, for example, from business-to-consumer (b2c). Example: A company that sells data-storage space to other companies is b2b; a website designed for individuals to purchase toys is b2c. See also b2c

B2C or b2c:

Abbreviation for business-to-consumer. Usually used to describe the nature of a company's business model or transactions, as distinct, for example, from business-to-business (b2b). Example: A company that sells data-storage space to other companies is b2b; a website designed for individuals to purchase toys is b2c. See also b2b


A line or series of pathways that forms the major high-speed route through a network. In the context of the internet, it refers to one of several major data arteries on the commercial or scientific networks around the globe. Each of the major telephone companies has a backbone, as do different government agencies. See also network, network access point


Backup describes copies of files or databases that are made as a precaution against the loss of the originals in the event of mechanical failure, corruption, accident, theft, or other disaster. To back up files is the process of making backups.


Bandwidth describes the transmission capacity of a connection, and refers to the rate at which you can move data through it. Low bandwidth means a slow connection. Think of bandwidth as a pipe—a big-diameter pipe can pump lots of data, a small pipe will just trickle. Bandwidth is usually measured in bits per second. A modem may transmit 56,000 bits in a second, or about 3.5 pages of text.


Banners are advertising images that appear on websites. Originally static billboards about an inch and a half high and about four inches long, banners now come in a range of standard shapes and sizes, and are frequently animated. Typically, a banner is also a link—click on the banner and you are taken to the page it is promoting. See also linking

Bastion Host:

A bastion host is very secure server, acting as the single point of contact between the internet and an intranet, with a filtering router on both the internet side and the intranet side of the bastion. A bastion host is usually located not on the intranet itself, but on an outer perimeter network, adding another layer of security. See also firewall, proxy server, intranet, router

Batch Time:

In the days of mainframe computing, most of the work done by commercial computers was done in batch processing, usually once a month. All transactions were stored up until the scheduled time to process them, then the batch of transactions was run. In many businesses today, processes still run in batch time (at defined intervals and in chunks) rather than in real time (as they are incurred). See also real time

Batched Records:

When multiple records or files are delivered en masse, instead of in real time.

Bayesian Filter:

An anti-spam program that evaluates header and content of incoming e-mail messages to determine the probability that it is spam. Bayesian filters assign point values to items that appear frequently in spam, such as the words “money-back guarantee” or “free.” A message that accumulated too many points is either rejected as probable spam or delivered to a junk-mail folder.


Abbreviation for binary digit. A bit is the smallest unit of computing data, either a one or a zero. There are eight bits in a byte. Bandwidth is usually measured in bits per second, or kilobits per second (Kbps), though many people mistakenly think it is in bytes per second. See also bandwidth, bps, byte, kilobit, kilobyte


A list developed by anyone receiving e-mail – or processing e-mail on its way to the recipient, or interested third parties – that includes domains or IP addresses of any e-mailers suspected of sending spam. Many companies use blacklists to filter inbound e-mail, either at the server level or before it reaches the recipient’s inbox.

Block: A refusal by an ISP or mail server to forward your e-mail message to the recipient. Many ISPs block e-mail from IP addresses or domains that have been reported to send spam or viruses or have content that violates e-mail policy or spam filters.


A blog is a journal, usually authored by an individual, published on the web. A blog (short for web log) typically includes thoughts, opinions, and commentary on a particular topic, often with a collection of links to related items on the web. Blogs are usually written in diary style with dated entries. They are increasingly used by journalists and business professionals as a way to publish their thoughts directly, without the intervention of an editor.


An abbreviation for robot, a bot is an automated program that explores the internet, gathering information. If you want to find out the price charged for a particular digital camera, instead of visiting a hundred shopping sites yourself, a shopping bot can do it for you and let you know the cheapest place to go.


A message that doesn’t get delivered promptly is said to have bounced. E-mails can bounce for many reasons: the e-mail address is incorrect or has been closed; the recipient’s mailbox is full, the mail server is down, or the system detects spam or offensive content. See also Hard Bounce and Soft Bounce.

Bounce Rate (also Return Rate):

Number of hard/soft bounces divided by the number of e-mails sent. This is an inexact number because some systems do not report back to the sender clearly or accurately.


Abbreviation for bits per second. bps measures the speed that data moves, also known as bandwidth. A 28.8 Kbps modem moves data at the rate of 28,800 bits per second. See also bandwidth, bit, Kbps


A term coined by the media to describe companies that exist and do business in some physical form, be it in offices, warehouses, retail stores, campuses, or other premises. See also clicks-and-bricks, click-and-mortar.


A bridge links different local area networks to each other. Bridges keep LAN traffic inside the LAN, and redirect data headed to other interconnected LANs. A bridge decides whether a message from you is going to someone else within your LAN, or to a computer on a neighbouring LAN. In bridging networks, computer or hub identities are not locatable addresses. A bridge will broadcast each message to every identity on the network, and only the intended destination computer will accept it. Bridges learn which addresses are on which LAN and so become more efficient at directing messages. Broadcasting every message to all possible destinations would completely overload a large network like the internet, which is why router-based networks (like the internet) use addresses rather than identities. In a router network a message can be forwarded only in one general direction rather than broadcast in all directions. See also LAN, hub, router, gateway


The process of sending the same e-mail message to multiple recipients.


There is a technical definition and a common-usage meaning for broadband. In common usage, it has come to mean internet access connections faster than 1Mbps (typically 40Mbps in USA and Asia) like cable modems, aDSL, T1, or T3 lines. Technically, broadband describes a data transmission where a medium like a cable carries several channels at once, as it does for cable TV. See also cable modem, DSL, T1 and T3


A client software program that accesses and displays resources on the internet, particularly web pages. See also client, web page, Internet Explorer, Netscape, Mosaic


Catch-all term for talk or excitement about a given issue. In the online marketing world, buzz has become a common term in of Word of Mouth marketing.


A number of bits that together represent a single character. Usually there are 8 bits in a byte. See also bit


Cable Modem:

A cable modem allows a home computer to connect to the internet using television cables, at speeds nearly 30 times faster than analogue modems. Originally most cable operators were connected to the internet by T1 lines, which limit data transfer rates to around 1.5 Mbps, though modern cables are capable of much higher bandwidth, typically anywhere up to 85Mbps. See also analogue, modem, T1, bandwidth


A cache (pronounced cash) is a temporary storage area. Web browsers automatically cache the contents of web pages on your hard drive so that if you return to the page there is no download time—you do not have to use your bandwidth unnecessarily. The browser simply checks to see if the page has changed since the last visit, and downloads only the changed components. See also bandwidth

Call to Action:

In an e-mail message, web ad, etc. the link or body copy that tells the recipient what action to take.

Case Number:

In customer service, the attribution of a specific code or number to a customer request.


A segment of your list that receives different treatment specifically to see how it responds versus the control (normal treatment).


Abbreviation for common gateway interface. CGI is a standard way for you to interact with an application through a web server. The server receives your request and passes it to the application, then gets the response from the application and passes it to you, all using a common gateway interface. When, for example, you register on a website by filling in a form, the form has to be processed by an application on the server, probably a database application. The web server passes the information in your form to the database and sends you the response using CGI. See also application, web server

Channel Conflict:

Channel conflict arises when a company adds online business transactions capability and in effect starts to compete with its other sales channels, such as its own sales force or distribution partners.


Chat refers to text-based discussion among two or more people who are on the internet at the same time—chat is synchronous—reading and reacting to each other’s comments. Chat usually takes place in a chat room, a virtual space manifested as a window on each user’s screen.


How many subscribers leave a mailing list (or how many e-mail addresses go bad) over a certain length of time, usually expressed as a percentage of the whole list.


In web advertising, a click is an instance where a visitor clicks on an advertisement and is taken to the target web page. The proportion of clicks to impressions measures how successful the ad has been at stimulating interest in those that see it. See also impressions


A term coined by the media to describe a company that does business in a physical location such as a retail store (mortar), as well as doing business online (click). See also clicks-and-bricks


A term coined by the media to describe a company that does business in a physical location such as a retail store (bricks), as well as doing business online (clicks). See also click-and-mortar

Clickfraud or Click Fraud:

In search marketing, any incident of human or automated fraud related to erroneous clicks on paid search ads.

Clickthrough & Clickthrough Tracking:

When a hotlink is included in an e-mail, search ad or online ad, a clickthrough occurs when a recipient clicks on the link. Clickthrough tracking refers to the data collected about each clickthrough link, such as how many people clicked it or how many clicks resulted in desired actions such as sales, forwards or subscriptions.

Clickthrough Rate:

Total number of clicks on e-mail link(s), search ads, etc. divided by the number of e-mails sent, page views, etc. The clickthrough rate is the percentage of ad views that resulted in clickthroughs – how many people who saw an ad actually clicked it. It is an indication of the effectiveness of an ad. In general, click rates for banners that are repeated regularly vary from 0.15 to 1%. Some ads can produce click rates of 8% or more, though this rate is rare, and is not usually sustainable.


In client-server computing a client is a software program on one computer is used to contact and obtain data from the server software program on another computer, usually over a network. A client is designed to work with one or more types of server. A web browser, such as Netscape or Internet Explorer, is a type of client design to access web servers. See also browser, server

Comparison Shopping Sites:

Similar to search engines, Comparison Shopping sites or engines allow users to compare products from a variety of sources (websites). Merchants feed product data to the comparison sites and pay for leads or sales generated.

Compressed File:

A compressed file is one that has been reduced in size by one of many compression programs using a proprietary algorithm. A compressed file must be decompressed by the same program that compressed it before it can be read. Some popular compression programs are WinZip, Stuffit, and Unixcompress. See also WinZip, zipped files

Confirmed Opt-in:

Inexact term that may refer to double-opt-in subscription processes or may refer to e-mail addresses which do not hard bounce back a welcome message.

Consumer Generated Media:

Any of the many kinds of online content which are generated at the user level. Personal web pages, such as those found on MySpace are rudimentary examples; blogs and podcasts are more evolved ones.


All the material in an e-mail message except for the codes showing the delivery route and return-path information. Includes all words, images and links.

Content Based Filters:

A type of filtration that sorts messages based on strings or keywords located within the message. Filtering can take place based upon a score assigned to some words or phrases, or based on binary if/then statements, example: Block if “free” in subject field.


Arrangement in which companies collecting registration information from users (e-mail sign-up forms, shopping checkout process, etc.) include a separate box for users to check if they would also like to be added to a specific third party list. Publishers will purchase these names outright, or trade in-kind names.


A conversion, in internet marketing, is a click that becomes a purchase. If someone clicks on a banner ad, is taken to the target page, and actually purchases something, that is a conversion. The conversion rate (number of conversions as a proportion of clicks) is a measure of the success of the advertising tactic used. See also click, banner


A cookie is a small, nonexecutable data file that a web server saves on your hard drive to “remind” it about your identity, preferences, or behaviour on your future visits to the site. You can view the cookies that websites have placed on your hard disk: Netscape accumulates all the cookies in one file called cookies.txt; Internet Explorer keeps each cookie in a Windows subdirectory called cookies. You can delete cookies, although this may cause things that happened automatically in the past (your password was remembered for you, your site settings were customized, your purchaser data was automatically entered, etc.) not to happen any more. You can also set your browser to intercept cookies. The way some websites use and share cookie data has been the subject of controversy and privacy concerns. See also browser, Netscape, Firefox, Internet Explorer

Cookie Crusher:

A cookie crusher is any software that helps a computer user to block or delete cookies.


Copyright describes the legal right of an owner of an intellectual property (such as a document, image, or software program) to be protected from having that intellectual property abused, within the limits of the relevant national or international law. In most countries, copyright law gives the owner of a property the exclusive right to print, distribute, and copy the work, and denies anyone else the right to do so without express permission of the owner. A copyright applies to the expression of an idea, whether published or not, and once an original work is created and fixed, copyright exists automatically.

Copyright Infringement:

Copyright infringement is the unauthorized copying of copyrighted intellectual property.

CPA (Cost per Action or Cost per Acquisition):

A method of paying for advertising in which payment is based on the number of times users complete a given action, such as purchasing a product or signing up for a newsletter.

CPC (Cost per Click):

Different from CPA because all you pay for is the click, regardless of what that click does when it gets to your site or landing page.


CPM is "cost per thousand" ad impressions, an industry standard measure for selling ads on websites. (The "M" is from Mil which means one thousand, or possibly from the Roman numeral for "thousand.")


A hacker with criminal intent. See also hacker


An e-mail message’s copy and any graphics.

Cross-Campaign Profiling:

A method used to understand how e-mail respondents behave over multiple campaigns.

Customer Lifetime Value:

A measure of the total amount the customer is going to spend with a merchant during their tenure. Usually calculated by their spending per year multiplied by the average number of years they are likely to be a customer.


De-duplication (also Deduping):

The process of removing identical entries from two or more data sets such as mailing lists. Also called merge/purge.

Deferred Conversions or Latent Conversions:

Sales that take place following a website session that may result from it. With many online marketing tactics, it’s not always possible to discern whether a sale took place as the result of some past interaction.

Denial of Service (DoS):

A Denial of Service attack is an event in which a targeted computer or network is bombarded with traffic so intensely that it simply overloads and shuts down. The motivation behind a DoS attack can be political, military, or commercial.


The act of sending the e-mail campaign after testing.


The technology on which “floating” online ads are built. DHTML can be made to sit on top of the page, incorporating movement and sound. DHTML is not typically blocked by pop-up/pop-under blocking software.


A shortened version of an e-mail newsletter which replaces full-length articles with clickable links to the full article at a website, often with a brief summary of the contents.


Digital refers to any technology that uses data that is either “on” or “off,” represented by 1 and 0 respectively. Data transmitted digitally is manifested as a series of ones and zeros. One and zero are each a binary digit, also called a bit. See also analogue, bit

Digital Certificate:

A digital certificate is an electronic "identity document" that confirms your identity when transacting on the internet. Digital certificates are issued by a certification authority (CA) like VeriSign OR Thawte. The certificate contains your name, a serial number, expiration dates, a copy of your public key (to let others send you encrypted messages), and your digital signature, as well as the digital signature of the CA so that a recipient’s browser can verify the validity of your certificate. See also public-key cryptography, digital signature, encryption

Digital Signature:

A form of encryption that authenticates sender and message using public-key cryptography, a digital signature consists of data appended to a digital message. Your digital signature changes with every message you send. A one-way "hash function" generates a code from your message, which is then encrypted with your private key to become the digital signature for that message. The receiver recomputes two versions of the code, from the message and from your signature, with the help of your public key. If the codes are the same, the receiver knows that the message has not been tampered with and did indeed come from you.


On the internet, a directory is a structured, index-like, hierarchical subject guide that uses hypertext to provide rich layers of subtopics. Directories help users find relevant web pages on the internet. The biggest internet directory is Yahoo!. See also hypertext, search engine


Abbreviation for Disk Operating System. DOS was the most widely used operating system in personal computers until the advent of Windows.

Domain Name:

A domain name is the unique name that identifies an internet site. The internet is divided into different "domains" which describe the type of site or its geographic location. The letters at the end of an internet address are the domain of that address, and they tell you what the sites in that domain do (in most cases, .com is a commercial company; .edu is an educational institution; .gov is a government site; .org is a not-for-profit site) or where they are (.ca is a Canadian site; .uk is a UK site; .za is in South Africa). A domain name consists of a name followed by a domain. Each name is unique within its domain. Because the use of the internet has exploded, and the number of sensible names still available is limited, a number of new domains, including .biz, will be released in 2001 and 2002. See also IP number

Domain Name System:

How computer networks locate internet domain names and translate them into IP addresses. The domain name is the actual name for an IP address or range of IP addresses, e.g.,,

Double Opt-in (also Verified Opt-in):

A process that requires new list joiners to take an action (such as clicking on an e-mailed link to a personal confirmation page) in order to confirm that they do want to be on the list.


Downtime refers to the amount of time that a system is nonoperational. If you shut a website down for maintenance, you are incurring downtime. See also uptime


Abbreviation for digital subscriber line. DSL is a technology for using normal telephone lines for high-bandwidth data transmission. Unlike normal dialup modems, which send data wherever the phone system wants them to go, a DSL circuit is set up like a dedicated line to connect two fixed locations, usually a home and the nearest central office of the phone company. DSL allows for bandwidth far greater than conventional modems. It is normally configured for downloads from server to client at speeds of at least 1.544 megabits per second, and uploads in the other direction at 128 kilobits per second. This configuration is called an asymmetric digital subscriber line (ADSL). While ADSL may be advertised as providing 4Mbps or greater, actual data transfer speeds are usually considerably lower, and drop off the further the user is from the nearest phone central. A symmetrical DSL (SDSL) line allows equal data speeds in either direction. See also bandwidth, modem, bit, bps

Dumpster Diving:

Dumpster diving is the act of looking for value in someone else's garbage, an activity which is actually quite legal. In the contexts of computer security and personal privacy, dumpster diving is any technique used to retrieve discarded information that could be helpful in getting into a personal computer or network, or which could be used to steal an identity.

Dynamic Content:

E-mail-newsletter content that changes from one recipient to the next according to a set of predetermined rules or variables, usually according to preferences the user sets when opting in to messages from a sender. Dynamic content can reflect past purchases, current interests or where the recipient lives.

Dynamic IP address:

See IP address



E-mail (also email) is electronic mail-messages sent from one person to another through a network. E-mail is the single biggest user of bandwidth on the internet. E-mail may be only a text message, though it is common to send files (such as images, spreadsheets, or documents) as attachments to messages. E-mail can often be configured to be plain or formatted text, or HTML. See also HTML

E-mail Appending:

Service that matches e-mail addresses to a database of personal names and postal addresses. Appending may require an “OK to add my name” reply from the subscriber

before you can add the name to the list.

E-mail Client:

The software recipients use to read e-mail, such as Outlook Express or Lotus Notes.

E-mail Friendly Name (also Display Name, From Name):

The portion of the e-mail address that is displayed in most, though not all, e-mail readers in place of, or in addition to, the e-mail address.

E-mail Newsletter:

Content distributed to subscribers by e-mail on a regular schedule. Content is seen as valued editorial in and of itself rather than primarily a commercial message with a sales offer.

E-mail Prefix:

The portion of the e-mail address to the left of the @ sign.

E-mail Vendor (also E-mail Service Provider – ESP):

Another name for an e-mail broadcast service provider, a company that sends bulk (volume) e-mail on behalf of its clients.


Encryption is the conversion of data into a scrambled form that cannot be read by people who do not have the decryption key to unscramble the data. Simple digital encryption is done by applying a mathematical algorithm to the digital message to be kept secret. See also public-key cryptography, digital certificate, digital signature

Enhanced Whitelist:

A super whitelist maintained by AOL for bulk e-mailers who meet strict delivery standards, including less than 1 spam complaint for every 1,000 e-mail messages.

E-mailers on the enhanced whitelist can bypass AOL 9.0’s automatic suppression of images and links.

Event-Triggered E-mail:

Pre-programmed messages sent automatically based on an event such as a date or anniversary.

Ezine (also E-zine):

Another name for e-mail newsletter, adapted from electronic ’zine or electronic magazine.


An extranet is a secured private-content internet made up of parts of the intranets of two or more enterprises. An extranet is usually built to facilitate communication and collaboration among suppliers, customers, or partners. It usually uses internet infrastructures rather than private lines, and uses TCP/IP and other internet protocols. Because of this, an extranet usually requires the use of security systems such as firewalls, encryption, and digital signatures. See also intranet, internet


False Positive:

A legitimate message mistakenly rejected or filtered as spam, either by an ISP or a recipient’s anti-spam program. The more stringent an anti-spam program, the higher the false-positive rate.


Frequently Asked Questions.

File Extension:

A file extension is the identifier that comes after the dot in a file name, for example .exe, .vbs, .doc, or .jpg.

File Sharing:

File sharing is the practice of giving a file to another person, or allowing them to copy it from your computer.


Filtering is the real-time analysis of a user web page request in order to determine which ad or ads to return in the requested page. A web page request from the user’s browser can tell a website or its ad server whether it fits a certain characteristic, such as that the user is using a particular browser or is in a particular geographic location. The web ad server can then place an appropriate ad.


A web browser developed by Mozilla as part of an open source initiative. Firefox is Internet Explorer's greatest competitor, and is growing in popularity among web-savvy users as Internet Explorer moves further away from web standards. Firefox currently has around 15 percent of the global browser market.


A firewall is a specially configured computer that contains a set of security programs, usually at a gateway server, that allows company employees to access the internet but keeps unauthorized people out of the corporate intranet. See also gateway, server, intranet, network, LAN


Flaming: Flaming is publicly reprimanding or remonstrating with someone online, when other parties to the online discussion can witness the “dressing down”. Flaming is considered to be poor online etiquette (or netiquette), and is a breach of the unwritten laws of online behaviour. Wireless web: The use of the World Wide Web through a wireless device, such as a mobile phone or personal digital assistant (PDA).


Above the fold, a term originating in print media, refers to an ad that is viewable as soon as the web page displays, without the user having to scroll to see it.


An area at the end of an e-mail message or newsletter that contains information that doesn’t change from one edition to the next, such as contact information, the company’s postal address or the e-mail address the recipient used to subscribe to mailings. Some software programs can be set to place this information automatically.

Forward (also Forward to a Friend):

The process in which e-mail recipients send your message to people they know, either because they think their friends will be interested in your message or because you offer incentives to forward messages. Forwarding can be done through the recipient’s own e-mail client or by giving the recipient a link to click, which brings up a registration page at your site, in which you ask the forward to give his/her name and e-mail address, the name/e-mail address of the person they want to send to and (optionally) a brief e-mail message explaining the reason for the forward. You can supply the wording or allow the forward to write his/her own message.


In website design terms, a frame is analogous to a window. This course uses frames. The screen is divided into different sections (frames) providing different information. The contents of each frame are different HTML files, pulled into the master frame. Links on one frame can request content to appear on another frame, so that when you select a module name from the contents list, that module appears in the main frame. See also HTML


Abbreviation for file transfer protocol. FTP is the most common protocol used for transferring files on the internet. The FTP protocol lets your computer talk to another computer to download or upload files directly. See also protocol



A gateway is where one network meets another, or a point in one network that serves as an entrance to another network. It is like a bridge, except that where a bridge simply passes data, a gateway will translate data if it is moving to a different kind of network. The computer that controls traffic at an ISP is a gateway. In a corporate LAN, a gateway is frequently also a proxy server and a firewall. A gateway is usually linked to a router, which redirects the messages that arrive at the gateway. See also bridge, ISP, LAN, firewall, proxy server


Abbreviation for 1 billion bits per second, or Gigabits per second. That’s a U.S. billion—one thousand million.


Abbreviation for graphic interchange format. This is an image file format that is common on the internet. It is especially suitable for images containing large areas of the same colour, such as logos, icons, or diagrams. The GIF format makes image files smaller than they would be in other image formats such as JPEG, but GIF files are not suitable for complex images such as photographs. See also JPEG

Gigabit or Gb:

One thousand million bits, which is one-eighth the size of a Gigabyte (GB) which is one billion bytes. There are eight bits in a byte.

Goodbye Message:

An e-mail message sent automatically to a list member who unsubscribes, acknowledging the request. Always include an option to re-subscribe in case the unsubscribe was requested accidentally.


Before graphically rich browsers came along, Gopher was the first widely used client-server program for finding and accessing text-based menus of files available on the internet. It is still used today. To use it, you must have the Gopher client software installed on your computer, and you have to access Gopher servers. The client software is freely available. See also browser, client, server

Graphical User Interface (GUI):

A GUI (pronounced gooey) is a means to interact with a computer system that uses images, icons, and graphics instead of purely text and code. Originally all interfaces were text, and you needed to know commands and syntax to achieve anything (anyone remember DOS?). On the internet, Gopher changed that, although it was still text based—a point-and-click menu-based interface. Today, all enduser computing uses GUIs, and the design, imagery, and navigation systems of the particular program define what is called the “look and feel” of the program. See also DOS, Gopher



In common usage, a hacker is any unauthorized person who tries to use a computer system or program by penetrating its security system. Once a term of praise for a programming expert, hacker has now acquired the same negative meaning as “cracker,” a criminal hacker. See also cracker

Hard Bounce:

Message sent to an invalid, closed or nonexistent e-mail account.


Routing and program data at the start of an e-mail message, including the sender’s name and e-mail address, originating e-mail server IP address, recipient IP address, and any transfers in the process.

Heat Map:

An image that shows, for a given web page, where users’ eyes go and how long they stay there.

Heuristic Filters:

Heuristic filters attempt to identify UCE using reiterative guesswork and past experience, to establish filtering rules. The longer a heuristic filter system is in place and its experience grows, the more accurate it becomes.


Number of hits—contacts with a site—is the most common website equivalent of magazine circulation. It is often a fundamental determinant of advertising rates. As a measure of the volume of visitors to a site, the number of hits is frequently misleading. Hits are counted by a statistical package on a site’s server, and the way that program is set up can vary the results dramatically. If a visitor’s browser requests a page that has multiple graphics, each graphic may register as a hit if it comes from a separate server. If a visitor returns to the page, it registers as a new hit. If your site has 100 pages and one visitor goes to each of them, that may be 100 hits. If each page has ten images, that's a thousand hits -- but only one visitor! If an ISP or internet service like AOL caches web pages for its subscribers, the first subscriber to your page is a hit, but subsequent subscribers may not get counted because they are instead hitting AOL’s cached pages. Before comparing hit counts from different sites, it is wise to make sure that you are comparing apples with apples. A hit is also a term for a match in a search, as in, “That search resulted in 11 hits.” See also browser, ISP, AOL, cache


A homepage is the first page on a website. If a site is a collection of pages like a book, the homepage is the cover of the book. It is usually the page that appears when you enter the site address. A homepage is also the default page that your browser goes to when you start it up. See also browser


A host is any computer on a network that contains resources that are available to other computers on the network. See also network


Abbreviation for hypertext markup language. HTML is the programming language used to create and format hypertext documents for use on the World Wide Web. In HTML you can specify that a block of text, or an image, is linked to another address on the internet. HTML files must be viewed using a web client such as Firefox or Internet Explorer. See also client, World Wide Web

HTML Sniffer:

Technology embedded in e-mail software that determines if users’ e-mail clients can receive HTML content.


Abbreviation for hypertext transfer protocol. HTTP is the protocol for moving hypertext files from one computer to another over the internet. It requires a HTTP client program on one end, and an HTTP server program on the other end. It is the single most important protocol used in the World Wide Web.

House List:

The list of e-mail addresses an organization develops on its own. Your own list as

a marketer.


A hub is like a central switchboard on a local area network. It simply links computers to each other so that they can communicate. The term can describe a configuration of several devices that receives data from different directions and forwards it in one or more other directions. Think of a hub as the centre of a wagon wheel. The computers in a LAN sit at the end of each spoke. To communicate with each other they do so through the hub. To communicate with computers on another LAN, say the other wheel on the axel, the hub directs their messages through the axel (a bridge) to the other wheel’s hub.

Hybrid Malware:

Hybrid malware is any software that combines the characteristics of several types of malicious code, such as viruses and worms.


Hypertext is any text that contains links to other text, other images, or other documents. Hypertext links are addresses embedded in that text or those images which, when you click on them, will cause another document (or document section) to be retrieved and displayed. See also HTTP


Identity Theft:

Identity theft is a crime in which someone impersonates someone else, using the personal information of a victim as credentials. In “true name” identity theft, the criminal opens new accounts (such as credit card or phone accounts) using the assumed identity, or uses it as a criminal alias. In “account takeover” identity theft the criminal gains access to the victim’s existing accounts, usually changing the mailing address so it takes some time for the victim to notice the fraud.


See Instant Messaging

Instant Messaging:

Instant Messaging, or IM, is the ability to easily see whether a chosen individual is online and, if they are, to exchange messages with them. Unlike e-mail, instant messaging is immediate and facilitates real-time written dialog. Most IM is text-only, though some services allow attachments such as images, or even video.


The most-used measure of the potential value of a web page to advertisers, impressions is a measure of traffic to a page. Also known as “eyeballs” or “opportunities to see,” the number of impressions that a particular web page offers advertisers describes the number of visitors that might see their banner or link. It does not take into account unique visitors, so one visitor hitting the page 100 times is counted as 100 impressions. See also hits


When a list member or registered user has been inactive for some period of time. There are no industry standards, as inactivity depends on the nature of the relationship, and frequency of communication. For example, a list member who is mailed quarterly wouldn’t be considered inactive as quickly as one who is mailed weekly.

Intellectual Property:

Intellectual property is any property which is the product of creativity or invention (such as a document, an image, a song, or a computer program) that does not exist in a tangible form. The ideas and expression of those ideas that a book contains are intellectual property, but not the book itself. A CD is not intellectual property, but the songs it contains are.


An internet is simply any two or more networks connected together.


The Internet (nowadays typically spelled without the capital I) is a loose collection of interconnected networks, evolved from the ARPANET, that all use the TCP/IP protocol. See also ARPANET, TCP/IP


A very high-speed backbone that moves data at 2.4 Gigabits per second. See also backbone

Internet Explorer (IE):

IE is Microsoft Corporation’s web browser. See also browser, Firefox, Netscape

Internet Fraud:

Internet fraud is any fraud that is committed using the internet. This includes identity theft, e-mail scams, online auction frauds, or the fraudulent sale or purchase of merchandise or services over the web.

Internet Service Provider (ISP):

An ISP is a company that provides individuals and companies access to the internet. It may also provide other web-related services such as site hosting. Some of the larger ISPs are AT&T WorldNet, MCI, Netcom, and UUNet. Internet services like AOL or CompuServe also act as ISPs in that they allow their subscribers to access the internet from their proprietary online environments.

Internet Time:

Internet time essentially means "very quickly." The expression implies that any business or technology involved with the internet moves and evolves much faster than any business or technology not involved with the internet.


See splash page


An intranet is a private network contained within an organization such as a company or a university. Its usual purpose is to allow communication and sharing of resources within a defined community of users. An intranet usually consists of interconnected local area networks (LANs) or wide area networks (WANs), which are LANs connected over distances requiring dedicated lines. An intranet is usually connected to the internet (or other proprietary network) through a gateway, and is protected from unauthorized use by one or more firewalls.

Invasion of Privacy:

An invasion of privacy is any act that intrudes on the individual’s right to privacy, which is essentially the right to be left alone by other people. Privacy invasions include intrusion of personal space, public disclosure of private information, publicity that unjustly defames a person, and the theft or abuse of a person’s identity. Just as an individual’s legal right to privacy varies from country to country and state to state, so do legal definitions of invasion of privacy.

IP address, IP number; dynamic, static:

An internet protocol number, or IP number, is a unique numerical address given to each computer on the internet. (Most computers also have one or more domain names, which are easier for humans to remember.)

Anyone who dials your telephone number will always get to your phone because it is static or unchanging. Like a phone number, a static IP number is a fixed address on the internet—it belongs to a specific computer. Most internet servers and commercial websites have static IP numbers. If the address of a computer hosting a website changed every time it disconnected from the network, nobody would ever be able to find the site—imagine a business whose telephone number changed every couple of days.

But many computers connecting to the internet do not have their own unchanging IP number but rather a dynamic one. To save costs, many companies get a pool or block of IP numbers that are shared as needed. As each user connects to the internet, a system dynamically allocates an IP number from the pool to the individual's computer. As that user disconnects, that IP number goes back into the pool, becoming available to the next user. This is the basis on which most Internet Service Providers (ISPs) work, too. Every time you connect to AOL, for example, the AOL server allocates your computer an available AOL IP number for that online session. Your IP number will probably be different every time you connect to AOL. You are using a dynamic IP number. (Some DSL providers will guarantee subscribers a fixed IP number.)


Abbreviation for Integrated Services Digital Network. ISDN is a set of standards for transmitting digital data over ordinary telephone lines. It was the original "high-speed" commercial connection system. ISDN lines, which have a transmission rate of only 128 Kbps (twice the speed of a 56K modem) are still widely used by small businesses, although they are slow and expensive compared with T1 and DSL lines. But like all internet-age technologies, ISDN is evolving rapidly. A broadband version will soon be available called BISDN, which will allow transmission rates of 2 Mbps and higher. See also Kbps, DSL


Abbreviation for internet service provider. An ISP is an organization that provides access to the internet. Most computers are not connected directly to the internet-they connect to an ISP, which is (usually) connected directly. Individuals may dial in to their ISP (for example, MSN, AOL), and companies may have dedicated lines linking their computers directly to their ISP (for example, UUNet, MCI).



Developed by Sun Microsystems, Java is a relatively simple object-oriented programming language designed for the internet. It can be used to build sophisticated applications that run as distributed process on several computers, but typically it is used to build applets (very small programs) that download safely from web pages and allow users to interact with them.


JavaScript is a programming language used in web pages to make them more interactive. JavaScript (from Netscape) and Java (from Sun) are two different programming languages.


Abbreviation for joint photographic experts group. JPEG is a format for image files that are used on web pages, better suited for photographic images than is the GIF format. See also GIF



Abbreviation for kilobits per second. Kbps is the standard way in which the transmitting speed, or bandwidth, of a modem is described. A 56 Kbps modem transmits data at 56 thousand bits (not bytes) per second. That means a file 56 kilobyte big will take 8 seconds to download. See also bit, byte


Keywords are words that represent or categorize the content of a particular web page. When you search for a web page using a search engine or directory, the words you tell the engine to search for are keywords. Many web pages imbed keywords invisibly in the headers of their pages to help search engines categorize them. See also search engine, directory

Killer Application:

A killer application or “killer app” is an application for a technology that become wildly popular and makes that technology ubiquitous. E-mail was the killer app for the internet. Which brings us to a much-circulated year-2000 quote from John Chambers, CEO of Cisco Systems: “The next big killer application for the internet is going to be education. Education over the internet is going to make e-mail look like a rounding error.”


One thousand bits.


Usually thought of as one thousand bytes, a kilobyte is technically 1024 bytes.


Landing Page:

A web page viewed after clicking on a link within an e-mail. Also may be called a microsite, splash page, bounce page, or click page.


Abbreviation for local area network. A LAN is a computer network in a limited geographical area such as an office, building, or campus.


Linking is the process of connecting one section of a document to another using hypertext. A link is a selectable connection that jumps you to a new destination if you click it. The link may be an icon, a banner, or a word or phrase. Typically a link is a word, identifiable as a link because it is underlined. Linking also refers to connecting one hardware device to another, forming a network.


Term describing the process of links going bad over time, either because a website has shut down or a site has stopped supporting a unique landing page provided in an e-mail promotion.


Linux is an operating system derived from UNIX that is free open-system software.


The list of e-mail addresses to which you send your message. Can be either your house list or a third-party list that sends your message on your behalf.

List Fatigue:

A condition producing diminishing returns from a mailing list whose members are sent too many offers, or too many of the same offers, in too short a period of time.

List Hygiene:

The act of maintaining a list so that hard bounces and unsubscribed names are removed from mailings. Some list owners also use an e-mail change-of-address service to update old or abandoned e-mail addresses (hopefully with a permission step baked in) as part of this process.

List Management:

How a mailing list is set up, administered and maintained. The list manager has daily responsibility over list operation, including processing subscribes and unsubscribes, bounce management, list hygiene, etc. The list manager can be the same as the database manager but is not always the same person as the list owner.

List Owner:

The organization or individual who has gathered a list of e-mail addresses. Ownership does not necessarily imply “with permission.”

List Rental:

The process in which a publisher or advertiser pays a list owner to send its messages to that list. Usually involves the list owner sending the messages on the advertiser’s behalf.


A logfile is any file that tracks and records (logs) activity, typically on a website or server.



Malware ("malicious software") is a generic term for programs or files such viruses, Trojan horses, and worms that are designed to do harm, directly or indirectly.


Abbreviation for 1 million bits per second, or Megabits.

Megabit or Mb:

One million bits, which is one-eighth the size of a Megabyte (MB), which is 1 million bytes. There are eight bits in a byte. In telecommunications, which uses decimal notation, a million is a million. In computer processing a million is 2-to-the-20th-power, or 1,048,576 in decimal notation.


Usually thought of as one million bytes, a megabyte is technically 1024 kilobytes.

Merchant Account:

An account held by a vendor with a bank and/or with a credit card company. A credit card vendor account entitles the vendor to accept payments made by customers who use credit cards from the issuing company. A bank merchant account allows the vendor to receive payment into a bank account. Frequently, credit cards (e.g. Visa and MasterCard) are issued by banks rather than directly by card companies (e.g. American Express). A bank merchant account may not be with the vendor’s usual bank, since the scale of operation or perceived risk of the vendor’s business may cause their own banks to refuse to be helpful.


A metasearch is a search using more than one search engine, or using a sophisticated methodology that goes beyond simple keywords. Metasearch engines, like, automate the process of simultaneously using multiple search engines. See also search engine, keyword


Abbreviation for multipurpose internet mail extensions. MIME is an extension of the original internet e-mail protocol SMTP (simple mail transport protocol), which allowed only the exchange of ASCII files. MIME lets people use SMTP to exchange audio, video, images, application programs, and other files on the internet.


Abbreviation for modulator-demodulator. A modem is a physical device between a computer and a communications line (telephone or cable), that allows the computer to talk to other computers. Analogue modems connect to phone lines, cable modems connect to cables, digital modems connect to DSL lines.


Mosaic was the first widely available browser for the World Wide Web that allowed users to access graphics, text, and sound from web servers. Mosaic provided a graphical point-and-click interface that was easy to use. Released by Mark Andreesen at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA), Mosaic played a pivotal role in the explosion in web use. Andreesen went on to found Netscape and to become a billionaire at the age of 24.


MP3 is a standard technology for compressing a digital audio file to about one-twelfth the size of the original, while still producing a reasonably high-quality sound when played back in its compressed form—though it is not CD quality. Files compressed with the MP3 system have the .mp3 file extension. The MP3 algorithm was developed through the Motion Picture Experts Group (MPEG), and its name is an abbreviation for the “MPEG-1 Audio Layer-3” project that produced it. MP3 is probably the most frequently used system for compressing whole music tracks for transmission over the internet or for playback on portable digital music players. Anyone can create MP3 files from their CD collection using a free program called a ripper to get a CD track onto their hard disk, then applying another free program called an encoder to convert the track to an MP3 file. Because it is illegal to copy music from a CD and redistribute it, the mainstream record industry is largely opposed to the MP3 phenomenon—particularly since sites like Napster have made large-scale music distribution popular. See also MPEG


Abbreviation for the Motion Picture Experts Group, a body operating under the International Organization for Standardization, which develops standards for digital video and digital audio compression. MPEG video files have a file extension of .mpg and tend to be large. To view them you need a freely downloadable MPEG client or a viewer that plays MPEG movies. See also MP3


A differentiator of merchants that employ multiple sales channels, as opposed to being strictly one (brick and mortar) or the other (web-only or “pureplay”).

Multi-variate Testing:

Using a statistical model to allow the simultaneous testing of multiple variables. Contrast with A/B testing which can only effectively examine one variable at a

time. Also known as the Taguchi Method.



See network access point


Navigator is Netscape Communications Corporations’ web browser, part of a bigger suite of internet communications applications called Netscape Communicator. Netscape evolved from Mosaic and became one of several browsers on the market. The other is Microsoft's browser, Internet Explorer. While Netscape dominated the market for years, Internet Explorer is now the most-used browser on the web, with Firefox running second.


A network is simply any two or more computers connected together to share resources or exchange information. Two or more networks connected together form an internet.

Network Access Point (NAP):

A network access point (NAP) is a major connection point on the internet for long-distance transmissions, particularly on very high-speed backbones. All the major providers of internet access tend to be connected through NAPs.


Think of nodes as the knots in a fishnet, or the places where paths cross or terminate. There is always a device such as a computer, a bridge, a gateway, or a server at a node. The computer you are using is a node when connected to a network, as is the server sending you this page.

Nth Name:

The act of segmenting a list for a test in which names are pulled from the main list for the test cell by number – such as every 5th name on the list. See also A/B Split.



Offline describes any activity that takes place when not connected to a network. The opposite of online. The real world of bricks-and-mortar.


Online describes any activity or resource on the internet, or while connected to a network.

Open Rate:

The number of HTML message recipients who opened your e-mail, usually as a percentage of the total number of e-mails sent. The open rate is considered a key metric for judging an e-mail campaign’s success, but it has several problems. The rate indicates only the number of e-mails opened from the total number sent, not just those that were actually delivered. Opens also can’t be calculated on text e-mails. Also, some e-mail clients allow users to scan message content without actually opening the message, which is falsely calculated as an open.

Open Relay:

An SMTP e-mail server that allows outsiders to relay e-mail messages that are neither for nor from local users. Often exploited by spammers and hackers.


To opt in is to give permission for a company to use personal information for marketing purposes. In many sites, such as Yahoo, opting in is the default, and users have to explicitly opt out of having their personal information shared with marketing partners.


To opt out is to instruct a company not to use personal information for marketing purposes.


Packet Sniffing:

Packet sniffing is the act of intercepting and reading data packets that are in transmission over the internet or an intranet, using software or hardware “sniffers”. Whatever you send or receive on the internet is broken into small “packets” that travel across the Net, to be reassembled at their destination. Those packets are vulnerable while in transit if not encrypted. Packet sniffing is a term for inspecting packets of data in transit to see if they contain anything valuable, then checking the address of the sender and recipient. Think of it as a sophisticated form of wire tapping, or the virtual equivalent of shoulder surfing. The FBI’s “Carnivore” system, installed in most US ISP’s, is allegedly a type of packet sniffer.

Packet Switching:

Packet switching is the technology used to move data around on the internet. In packet switching, the data from the sending computer is broken down into packets. Each packet is addressed with its destination and its origin. Each packet is passed from computer to computer on the internet until it reaches its destination. When all the packets arrive, they are reassembled to form the original data. Packets from different sources share the same lines, and are sorted and redirected along the way.

Pass-along (also Viral):

An e-mail recipient who got your message via forwarding from a subscriber. (Some e-mails offer “forward to a friend” in the creative, but the vast majority of pass-alongs happen using e-mail clients). Pass-alongs can affect the formatting of the e-mail, often stripping off HTML.

Payment Gateway:

A service that acts as an electronic intermediary between a vendor and a credit card authorising site. The gateway gets authorisation for the card used by a purchaser, and secures payment from the card issuer, then passes the payment on to the vendor’s merchant account, deducting a percentage of the transaction as a fee.


Emerging search tactic in which merchants (often local retailers) pay search properties for offline phone calls that are generated from their pages.


In pay-per-click advertising, the advertiser pays a certain amount for each click through to the advertiser's website. The amount paid per click varies considerably.


See Acrobat

Peer-to-peer or P2P:

Peer-to-peer, in web culture terms, describes applications such as Napster, Gnutella, Kazaa, Skype, Azureus, or Limewire which allow users to exchange files over the internet with each other directly or through a server. Effectively, a P2P application creates a temporary network that allows users to connect with each other and directly access files from each other’s computers.

Permission Marketing:

Leveraging the concept that consumers allow marketers to join their lives, rather than marketers imposing into the lives of consumers.

Persona-Based Design:

Personas are virtual customers; useful templates based on common customer types that can guide site design, offer testing, etc.

Personal Firewall:

A personal firewall is any software that prevents other users or hacking systems on the internet from gaining unauthorized access to a personal computer. Not as robust as corporate firewalls, personal firewalls typically do not have a hardware component, though if a home network is in place the router may act as a hardware firewall.


A targeting method in which an e-mail message appears to have been created only for a single recipient. Personalization techniques include adding the recipient’s name in the subject line or message body, or the message offer reflects a purchasing, link clicking, or transaction history.

PGP (Pretty Good Privacy):

Software used to encrypt and protect e-mail as it moves from one computer to another. Can be used to verify a sender’s identity.


A form of identity theft in which a scammer uses an authentic looking e-mail to trick recipients into giving out sensitive personal information, such as credit card or bank account numbers, ID numbers, and other data.

Plain Text:

Text in an e-mail message that includes no formatting code. See HTML.


Where web browsers are concerned, a plug-in is software—often free of charge and downloadable from the internet—designed to enhance or extend the functionality of the browser. RealPlayer, for example, offers popular plugins for adding audio and video capabilities.


A podcast (abbreviation for broadcast to an iPod), is an audio file made available for download from a website or blog. Typically in MP3 format, these files are not exclusively for playing on iPods (any media player will do), nor are they intended exclusively for mobile use – you can listen to them at your desktop. Podcasting makes use of RSS technology so that an individual can set up a feed-reader to automatically grab new audio content and load it into a mobile media player.

POP (Post Office Protocol):

Used by e-mail clients to send to or receive messages from an e-mail server. Not to be confused with Point of Presence, an access point for the internet.


A pop-up is a small box (sometimes not so small) that appears (pops up) over the content of a web page to deliver information or more often to display an ad. A pop-under is similar, except the ad appears below the page content, only becoming visible when the visitor closes the page.


A portal is a site that is intended to be a major launching point for users when they connect to the web. A portal is analogous to a mall, and may be general or specific, consumer-oriented or business-oriented, content-rich or a simple directory. Examples of consumer portals are (general) and (specific). Business portals tend to be specific to markets or industries. (international trade) is an example of a business portal. Portals that offer rich content within their field (updated news, advice, white papers, search functionality, promotional services, intraportal commerce functionality) are referred to as vertical markets or vertical portals. See also directory, vertical market

Port Probe:

A port probe (or port scan) is an attempt to gain access to a computer through a port (a virtual communications address or logical connection place) in the computer system. A port scanner may send a message to each of the more than 65,000 ports on a computer, to identify if the port is used, and if so, can be probed for any security weakness. Typically port scans are the tools of unsophisticated hackers using automated hacking scripts to bombard millions of computers at random in the hope of finding an open door. More sophisticated hackers and malware deliberately target known port weaknesses.


Abbreviation for point to point protocol. PPP is used to link a computer through an analogue modem via a phone line to a dialup ISP or another computer. PPP sends all its data packets on the same line, and requests retransmission of any packets that do not arrive or arrive corrupted. An earlier less-robust version of PPP was known as SLIP – Serial Line Internet Protocol.

Preference Centre:

In e-mail or website registration, the practice of asking the registrant questions that tell the marketer more about them. Typical preference centres will ask about interests, and preferences for HTML vs. text e-mails. They can, however, be more sophisticated and guide frequency and segmentation.

Preview Pane:

The window in an e-mail client that allows the user to scan message content without actually clicking on the message.

Print to Web Catalogue:

The practice of putting digital versions of print catalogues online. They are generally identical to the catalogue, with “Turn the page” buttons and an emphasis on calling an 800 number, although often web purchasing is enabled via link.

Privacy Policy:

A privacy policy is a statement to users of a website that describes what information is collected by the site and what it will do with the information collected.


In e-commerce marketing, profiling is the process of collecting data about online customers so the marketers can better anticipate and respond to the customers’ needs. The data collected and the way it is used may result in profiling that is a benefit to the customer or a threat to their privacy. Privacy advocates are particularly concerned when different organizations pool the information that they have about individual customers.


A protocol is a standard set of rules and procedures used by two devices that allow them to communicate with each other. See also TCP/IP

Proxy Server:

A proxy server is a common firewall solution, acting as a secure post office—requests for access to a server pass through the proxy, and the files requested pass back through the proxy. This conduit is easier to secure than hundreds of individual machines. See also firewall

Public-Key Cryptography:

Public-key cryptography is a set of standard protocols, developed by RSA, for securing internet message traffic. Public-key cryptography is used in what is called the public key infrastructure (PKI). Browsers handle all the security as background processes. A vendor provides a public key to make a one-way encryption of the message, it travels garbled, and the vendor decrypts it using its matching private key.


In e-business, pureplay is a term describing a company that does business exclusively online, without any corresponding physical establishment. is a pureplay—there is no neighbourhood Amazon bookstore to walk into. is not a pureplay—it has a physical business presence.



A question that defines a subset of your database. If your database contains sports enthusiasts, then a query might specify, “males aged 18 or older who play soccer.”


Where an e-mail message goes after you send it but before the list owner approves it or before the list server gets around to sending it. Some list software allows you to queue a message and then set a time to send it automatically, either during a quiet period on the server or at a time when human approval isn’t available.


QuickTime is a technology from Apple that allows for the development and playback of multimedia files that combine sound and video with text and animation. The QuickTime player is a standard plug-in to web browsers that is freely downloadable from Apple’s site. QuickTime files have .qt, .mov, and .moov. file extensions. See also plug-in, browser


Real Time:

Things that happen in real time happen instantly. There are no processing delays, bottlenecks, or artificial barriers to progress.


A measure of how recently information was produced. Usually refers to the age of contacts on a rented or third-party list.


A file in a marketer’s database. It may contain anything from an anonymous code with preferred site characteristics to an extensive profile of a customer or prospect.

Recreational Shoppers:

The segment of the population that reports that it “likes to shop” and considers shopping a hobby or fun activity.


The process where someone not only opts in to your e-mail program, website membership program, etc. but provides some additional information, such as name, address, demographic data or other relevant information, usually by using a web form.

Relationship E-mail: An e-mail message that refers to a commercial action – a purchase, complaint or customer-support request – based on a business relationship between the sender and recipient.


Repeaters are like amplifiers—they keep a signal strong as it travels along a network. Repeaters simply amplify a signal at stages along the journey. There are different types of repeaters, depending on whether the signal is travelling on cable or fibre-optic lines. But unlike an amplifier, which boosts analogue signals and the noise associated with them, repeaters boost digital signals, and so are able to clean them at the same time.

Return Rate:

The percentage of total sales (by item, category or all sales) that are ultimately returned by customers.

Rich Media:

Rich media is advertising that is more elaborate than the usual banner ad, including animations, movies, or interactions that go beyond the norm.


Routers are located at gateways, where one network meets another. They are the devices throughout the internet that redirect data packets to their destination. Routers assess how busy the lines are, and send each data packet to a router closer to its destination, using the route with least congestion.


An abbreviation of Rich Site Summary or, more commonly, Really Simple Syndication, RSS is an XML format for syndicating web content. A website or blog uses RSS to feed its changing content to RSS-equipped sites that have subscribed to that content. RSS is typically used by blogs and news feeds, but is more and more frequently being used in business to broadcast corporate PR information, or specific data such as updates to project plans. RSS allows computers to automatically communicate data without having to be prompted by people.



A fraudulent scheme, or to attempt to defraud someone.

Search Engine:

A search engine is a program that is used to find and recommend relevant web pages in response to a search phrase or keywords entered by a user. Typically, a search engine uses a spider that crawls around the web collecting information about all the pages it finds. The spider returns that information to the search engine, which compiles a gigantic, dynamic catalogue of available internet pages. This catalogue is what is referenced when a user enters a search. See also spider

Second-Tier Search Engines:

A fluid term that is sometimes used to refer to any search engine beyond Google, Yahoo!, MSN or AOL. Also used to refer to the countless low-priced search engines and networks, as distinct from name-brand search properties which would include many more than the list above, such as Ask, Dogpile, etc.

Secure Site:

A secure site is one that guarantees that messages between the visitor’s browser and the server travel encrypted. You can recognize a secure site by an https:// instead of just http:// in the browser address window, and by one of two icons in the lower browser screen—a padlock or a key. When the key is unbroken or the lock is closed, you are on a secure page.

Seed E-mails or Seed Addresses:

E-mail addresses placed on a list (sometimes secretly) to determine what messages are sent to the list and/or to track delivery rate and/or visible appearance of delivered messages. Seeds may also be placed on websites and elsewhere on the internet to track spammers’ harvesting activities.

Semantic Web:

Currently the way we search for and interact with data on the web, sophisticated as the background technology is, is primitive. The semantic web is both a vision and a major project that aims to build a universal medium for information exchange, by giving a deeper meaning to the content of the web, in a form that machines will be able to understand, interpret, and act upon. web 3.0 will probably be largely based on the semantic web.

Search Engine Marketing or SEM:

All of the tactics and tools used to market a site through search engines.

Sender ID:

The informal name for a new anti-spam program combining two existing protocols: Sender Policy Framework and Caller ID. Sender ID authenticates e-mail senders and blocks e-mail forgeries and faked addresses.

Sender Policy Framework (also SPF):

A protocol used to eliminate e-mail forgeries. A line of code called an SPF record is placed in a sender’s Domain Name Server information. The incoming server can verify a sender by SPF record before allowing a message through.

Search-engine optimization or SEO:

The practice of designing and writing web pages to be attractive to the search engines. SEO attempts to place pages highly within the “natural” listings on search engines, as opposed to paid ads.


A server is a computer, or a software package, that "serves" data to client software running on other computers. The term can refer to a particular piece of software, such as a web server, or to the machine on which the software is running.

Share of Wallet:

A measure of how much business in a given category is owned by a merchant. Of everything that someone might be expected to spend on product X this year, how much are they spending with merchant Y?

Shoulder Surfing:

Shoulder surfing is the process of getting information by stealthy direct observation, such as looking over a person’s shoulder or eavesdropping on a conversation. Shoulder surfing is a common and effective technique to acquire personal information.

Single Screen Checkout:

An emerging technology that puts the shopping cart functions of a site onto the shopping page itself. Usually built in Flash or AJAX, these carts vary in look and

feel. Are anticipated to lower the rate of shopping cart abandonment.

SKU or Stock Keeping Unit:

Any product, part or accessory that is numbered. Often used to refer to the number of products sold by a merchant.

SMTP (Simple Mail Transfer Protocol):

The most common protocol for sending e-mail messages between e-mail servers.

Soft Bounce:

E-mail sent to an active (live) e-mail address but which is turned away before being delivered. Often, the problem is temporary – the server is down or the recipient’s mailbox is over quota. The e-mail might be held at the recipient’s server and delivered later, or the sender’s e-mail program may attempt to deliver it again. Soft-bounce reports are not always accurate because they don’t report all soft bounces or the actual reason for the bounce.

Social Engineering:

Social engineering describes an intrusion that uses human rather than technical interaction, and often involves fooling someone into breaking normal security procedures.

Social Media Optimisation:

The process of tweaking your use of social media (including blogs, web 2.0 sites, communities, word of mouth) to maximise buzz, site traffic and conversions.

Solo Mailing:

A one-time broadcast to an e-mail list, separate from regular newsletters or promotions, and often including a message from an outside advertiser or a special promotion from the list owner.

Social Search:

Typically web 2.0 tools that allow users to recommend or refer sites, articles, videos or other media to fellow users of similar interests. Examples include shared bookmarking (e.g., collaborative directories (e.g. zimbio), taggregators (e.g. Technorati), personalised verticals (e.g. Rollyo), social Q&A (e.g. Yahoo Answers), collaborative harvesters (e.g. Reddit).


The popular name for unsolicited commercial e-mail. However, some e-mail recipients define spam as any e-mail they no longer want to receive, even if it comes from a mailing list they joined voluntarily.

Sponsorship Swap:

An agreement between e-mail list owners, publishers or advertisers to sponsor each other’s mailings or newsletters for free.

Software Piracy:

Software piracy is the unauthorized copying or use of digital content.


A spider is a program in a search engines that constantly “crawls” around the internet gathering and updating information about the websites and pages that it finds. The spiders feed that information back to the search engine’s database.

Splash Page:

Frequently gratuitous and annoying to visitors, a splash page (or interstitial) is a preliminary page that precedes the regular home page of a website and usually promotes a particular site feature or provides advertising.


In the context of internet privacy and security, spyware is any program installed on a person’s computer that secretly collects information about the user and transmits it to another party. The information collected can be as simple as application programs used, or as detailed as passwords, e-mails sent and received, or even the user’s every keystroke. Usually, those receiving the information are advertisers, but they can be hackers, employers, or even government agencies. The FBI’s “Magic Lantern” is allegedly a spyware system.

Static IP Address:

See IP address


Stickiness refers to a site’s ability to retain a visitor and to that visitor coming back.


Streaming is the technology of sending compressed media (video, sound, or both) over the internet and displaying the decompressed version in a viewer as the images or sounds arrive. Streaming allows you to see and hear the content while it is arriving, rather than downloading a whole file, decompressing it, then playing it. You need a player, client, or plug-in to receive and instantly decompress the streaming signal. As with most web media, the client software is freely downloadable. Two major providers of streaming technology are RealNetworks and Microsoft.

Strong Password:

A strong password always uses combinations of uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, and special characters such as # or %, and is six or more characters long.

Subject Line:

Copy that identifies what an e-mail message is about, often designed to entice the recipient into opening the message. The subject line appears first in the recipient’s inbox, often next to the sender’s name or e-mail address. It is repeated in the e-mail message’s header information inside the message.


The process of joining a mailing list, either through an e-mail command, by filling out a web form, or offline by filling out a form or requesting to be added verbally. (If you accept verbal subscriptions, you should safeguard yourself by recording it and storing recordings along with time and date, in a retrievable format).


The person who has specifically requested to join a mailing list.

Suppression File:

A list of e-mail addresses you have removed from your regular mailing lists, either because they have opted out of your lists or because they have notified other mailers that they do not want to receive mailings from your company.


Literally, synchronous means “at the same time,” and it usually refers to communication among people online. Chat is synchronous, e-mail is asynchronous. See also chat, asynchronous


T1, T3:

A T1 is the most commonly used digital line in the United States , Canada , and Japan . A T1 uses copper wire to carry data at a rate of 1.544 million bits per second (Mbps); a T3 line, also copper, provides a rate of 44.736 Mbps. Most ISPs connect to the internet through a T1 or a T3.


Abbreviation for transmission control protocol/internet protocol. TCP/IP is the protocol (or group of protocols) that allows computers to connect to and interact on the internet. It is the common language in which computers on the internet communicate. See also Internet


A necessary step before sending an e-mail campaign or newsletter. Many e-mail clients permit you to send a test e-mail before sending a regular e-mail newsletter or solo mailing, in which you would send one copy of the message to an in-house e-mail address and then review it for formatting or copy errors or improperly formatted links. E-mail marketers should also send a test campaign to a list of e-mail addresses not in the deployment database to determine likely response rates and how well different elements in the message perform.

Text Newsletter:

Plain newsletter with words only, no colours, graphics, fonts or pictures; can be received by anyone who has e-mail.

Thank-you Page:

web page that appears after user has submitted an order or a form online.

Trojan Horse:

If a malicious program does not replicate, it is not a virus. A well-camouflaged program, imbedded inside, say, a Word document macro, can do damage to the computer on which it is executed. Such programs are known as Trojan Horses.



UNIX is an operating system, competing with systems like Windows. It was the first operating system written to evolve as a free, open system that could be accessed and modified at will. It was widely adopted by academic institutions, and became the basic operating system of many web servers in the early days of the internet. It is still a hugely successful operating system.


Uptime refers to the amount of time that a system is operational.

UCE (Unsolicited Commercial E-mail):

Also called spam or junk mail.

Unique Reference Number:

A unique number assigned to a list member, usually by the e-mail broadcast software, and used to track member behaviour (clicks, subscribes, unsubscribes) or to identify the member to track e-mail delivery.


To remove oneself from an e-mail list, either via an e-mailed command to the list server or by filling in a web form.


The study of how people interact with their environment. In online marketing, a specialized form that focuses on web page design.


Abbreviation for uniform resource locator. A URL is the standard format for addressing any resource on the internet that is part of the World Wide Web. An example of a URL is:


Uuencode is a utility for encoding and decoding files exchanged on a network. Originally designed for use on UNIX systems, it is now used on all operating systems, usually for exchanging e-mail attachments where the recipient does not have a MIME-compliant system.


Vertical Market, Vertical Portal:

Portals that offer rich content within their field (updated news, advice, white papers, search functionality, promotional services, intraportal commerce functionality) are referred to as vertical markets or vertical portals.

Virtual Private Network, VPN:

A virtual private network (VPN) is a private network that uses the public internet infrastructure, but augments standard security systems by using a "tunnelling" protocol. A wide area network (WAN) can be expensive to build and maintain because it uses dedicated private lines. A VPN is a low-cost internet-based version of a WAN. A VPN gives an enterprise the ability to securely share data on public lines. VPNs use encryption, but instead of simply encrypting the message, their tunnelling protocol also encrypts the IP number of the sender and receiver.


A virus is a malicious program that invades computers and replicates itself, inflicting some kind of temporary or permanent damage to files, computers, or whole networks. A virus is always attached to a legitimate program or data file, and usually requires a user to take some action (like executing the host file) before it can do its work. Viruses can be hidden in documents or other applications, or may be disguised as innocent executable files. They may be transmitted by unknowing users exchanging files by e-mail, FTP, diskette, or CD.

Virus Scanner:

A virus scanner, also known as antivirus software, is a program that regularly checks a computer’s drives or incoming files for any known viruses, alerts users to potential problems, and often tries to repair damage done by viruses.

Visual Basic:

Visual Basic is a Microsoft environment in which programmers use a graphical user interface to put together programs by selecting and modifying pieces of already-written BASIC code.


Abbreviation for Virtual Reality Modelling Language. VRML (pronounced vermal) is a language for creating three-dimensional images and experiences on the internet. Typically, VRML would create a room or a building that appears to be three-dimensional, and a user could “walk” through it using keyboard commands or a mouse or joystick.



Abbreviation for wide area network. A WAN is usually an intranet spread out over such distances that the local area networks (LANs) that comprise it are connected by dedicated lines.


A .wav or WAV file is a common type of audio file in Windows environments.

Weak Password:

A weak password is one that includes your name, any word that can be found in a dictionary, is less than six characters long, and does not mix upper- and lower-case letters, special characters, and numbers.

Web or web:

See World Wide Web

Web 2.0:

The term used to describe the evolution of the web from a series of more or less centralised silos of information to the web as a high-speed platform for distributed services, especially social networking and collaboration. User generated content is a key characteristic of web 2.0, which is also known as the read-write web.

Web bug:

A web bug is a small graphic on a web page or in an HTML e-mail message that is coded to monitor who is reading the web page or e-mail message. A web bug is typically a colourless (therefore invisible) one pixel by one pixel graphic. It can collect the IP address of the computer on which it is viewed and other data useful to marketers. web bugs are also known as clear gifs, tracker gifs, 1X1 gifs, invisible gifs, or web beacons.


Abbreviated from web-based seminar, a webinar is a conference or training session which geographically remote participants attend by logging on over the internet. Usually in a webinar, the leader shows presentations or software applications on the screens of participants by “sharing” the contents of his/her own computer screen. Often the leader will remotely take control of a participant’s computer to actually accomplish some task while the participant watches. Webinars use various communication tools for interaction, including chat, instant messaging, audio, and video.


Any of several web-based e-mail clients where clients have to go to a website to access or download e-mail instead of using a desktop application. Some examples are Gmail, Yahoo! Mail and Hotmail.

Welcome Message:

Message sent automatically to new list members as soon as their e-mail addresses are added successfully.

Web page:

See Website

Web speed:

Web speed essentially means "much faster than in normal business." It implies transactions that take place in real time, and business and technology that evolve in internet time.

Website or web site:

A website is a document or collection of linked documents on the World Wide Web. Each document consists of web pages formatted in HTML. Each web page may contain text, images, or multimedia components such as animation, video, or sound. The first web page on a website is usually called the homepage.


Advance-authorized list of e-mail addresses, held by an ISP, subscriber or other e-mail service provider, which allows e-mail messages to be delivered regardless of spam filters.

Windows NT:

Windows NT is Microsoft’s operating system that has more robust capability than Windows. While Windows is a PC operating system, NT is designed for servers and workstations.


A popular file compression program for Windows systems, WinZip saves compressed files with a .zip file extension. See also compressed file, zipped file

Wish Lists:

A merchandising technique that allows registered website users to store a list of products they would like. Like a digital version of a wedding registry.

Word of Mouth or WOM:

An emerging area in marketing that attempts to measure and/or harness the power of personal recommendations. With the explosion of blog readership, WOM has become a hot topic in virtually every industry.

World Wide Web:

The World Wide Web is that part of the internet in which data and multimedia are made available on web servers formatted in HTML. It refers to both the network of web servers and the content of those servers. "World-Wide Web" was the name of the first software toolset for building web servers and websites. Nowadays “the web” is typically spelled without the capital “W”.


A worm is a like a virus, but it does not need a disguising host program to travel from one computer to another, nor does it require any action from a human being to do its work. It travels on its own, exploiting chinks in the armour of security systems, operating systems, virus scanners, and firewalls. It penetrates computers to replicate and do damage. Worms are designed to disrupt networks rather than individual computers.



Abbreviation for extensible markup language. XML is a language that allows users to share data and interactive applications on the internet. XML is similar to HTML, but where HTML describes how a document should look, XML describes the nature of the content of the document and how it should function. XML is widely accepted as the language that will enable sophisticated e-commerce to work on the internet.





zipped file:

A file that has been compressed by the WinZip compression program.

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