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Welcome to the fall edition of the
TOP9.COM newsletter!

New On TOP9!
POP-UPS REVEALED!: Following the success of our "lock-in" sites announcement, we are happy to report that we have completed our list of the top sites which serve up those annoying "pop-up" windows. If a site is going to hit you with a pop-up, you'll notice a small toast graphic next to it.

To assist your surfing even more, we also list some strategies for avoiding and zapping the pop-ups.

We were quite surprised to find nearly 150 sites appearing on TOP9.com which use pop-ups. These include such prominent sites as aol.com, netscape.com and msnbc.com.
Unlocking the Lock-Ins
Since our listing a couple of months ago of sites which "lock in" surfers (by disabling browser "back" buttons via one method or another), we are delighted to report that several web sites have removed the offensive lock in coding.

Among the 'unlockers' are homedepot.com, britneyspears.com, x-men-the-movie.com, and fingerhut.com. Whlie we probably should not take sole credit for this, no doubt our bringing the issue into the open helped pursuade these sites to examine their practices. It's a win-win situation!

But be vigilant! If you find a site in our listings that locks you in or delivers a pop-up, let us know so we can list them!
Search Engines? Search me...
Ever wonder why the big search engines return quite puzzling results on occasion? We do too, and so to keep track of their results we now offer a weekly search engine report.

Each Wednesday afternoon, we will post the search results from a major search engine, using a TOP9.com category. We will list the first nine URLs returned by the search engines, side-by-side with the URLs listed by TOP9.com.

The point is to compare how closely the search engine ranking metholdology comes to matching actual consumer preference. Sometimes it's close, other times... Well, you be the judge!

If you really want to do your homework, review our Search Engine Report, which compares ten top search engines using five different travel-related categores. Results were scored and tabulated, with MSN and Snap tied for first.
What is That?
If you have ever wondered what we mean by a Multi-Merchant Mall, or pondered what the difference is between E-Greetings and Greeting Cards, you may have overlooked our Definition List.

The list shows a flow chart of our category breakdowns, and offers a description of each category. With the ever-changing nature of web sites we have a hard time keeping up ourselves. The definition list clarifies distinctions between similar categories and also helps with general navigation.

To find something quickly, our Alpha Category listing lays TOP9.com straight out from A-Z. Well, OK, from A to W!
New and Revised Categories
TOP9.com continues to expand and refine categories.

An Alternative Beliefs category has been added to our Health, Family & Culture section. In Internet and Freebies, we have listed E-Greetings on their own (these sites allow you to quickly send an existing HTML page to friends; but beware services that are out to capture your email address!)

Three additional new categories have been filtered out of our existing E-Commerce Resources category. These are E-Commerce Design and Hosts (sites who produce and host sites, as well as perform other aspects of e-commerce developments); E-Commerce Tools (various products to enhance your e-commerce presence); and E-Commerce Site Hosts (services to host your e-commerce sites). A new "Small Business Resources" category is under development.

In our Arts section, we have added Graphics Arts Resources, which is a mixture of graphics arts companies and studios, individuals, and related services. For techie types, we have refined our Software Companies category and added Internet/Multi-Media Software, and Specialized Software.

A couple of refinements include "Streaming Audio" becoming Streaming Audio/Media, and "MP3s & Audio Players" becoming MP3s & Media Players.

Coming soon: Publishing & Services, Voice Services, Small Business Resources, and refinements to other categories.
So What's A TOP99 Anyway?
Are you a TOP NINER? If your site appears in one of our TOP 9 or TOP 99 listings, you are invited to place an appropriate TOP9.com banner on your web site, free of charge.

Alternatively, you can place one of our general-purpose TOP9.com banners on your site as a resource link for your visitors. A page with all our public banners gives you plenty of choices. Whether you want to highlight your listing, or use us as a resource, one of our snappy little banners should do the trick!
What's Next on TOP9.com?
At long last we hope to offer a search engine which allows users to search for specific URLs. While TOP9.com remains primarily a 'point-and-click' format, enough of you have written to convince us that a URL search is needed. This should come online within the next several weeks.

We are also working on a new archive format, which will allow you to search back several months. Currently only the previous four months are available in our archives.

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