The Internet Standards Assessment Report updated by the Web Marketing Association for 2008

The Web Marketing Association, today released its Internet Standards Assessment Report (ISAR), which provides industry-specific benchmarking data for web development. The ISAR Index reversed a downward trend and the overall standard of excellence in Web development rose across 96 industries.

The ISAR index is an average of all scores in the Web Marketing Association’s WebAward competition sine 1997. Index rose from 50.7 in 2005 to 51.8 in 2007, an increase of 2%.

“The ISAR Index is the benchmark that many organizations use to compare their Web development efforts to’, said William Rice, President of the Web Marketing Association. “Web standards move as the technology and consumer trends push companies to upgrade their Web efforts and are reflected in the judges scores. Web sites that can create a total user experience that both informs and entertains the visitors who reach their sites will be most successful.”

The ISAR report includes the following just-released information:
1 Detailed Industry findings as compared to historical trends
2 Best and Worst Industries in Web Development
3 Best and Worst Industries as they compare to the 7 criteria for a successful Website
4 Award-wining sites for each industry
5 Commentary for each industry as compared to the overall competition in 2007

Information within the report is derived form the Web Marketing Association’s annual WebAward competition (www.webaward.org) which judges websites in 96 industries based on the seven criteria that combined help create award-winning websites.

The WebAward’s seven criteria for a successful Website include:
1 Design
2 Innovation
3 Content
4 Technology
5 Interactivity
6 Copywriting
7 Ease of Use

The ISAR report also includes an index with a running benchmark of web development to which each industry can draw comparisons. Drawing off information found in the ISAR report, web developers and others within organizations responsible for web design, can leverage statistical data to make more informed decisions in an effort to create more effect websites.

“The most successful award-winning websites develop the correct balance of design, innovation and technology to create a total user experience,” said Rice. “Once the total user experience is attained, the site becomes a sales tool itself because it has captured the visitor and the winners of the WebAward do this especially well.”

According to the ISAR report, the five best industries for Website development in 2007 were:
1. Toy & Hobby Web sites
2. Television Web sites
3. Airline Web sites
4. Arts Websites
5. Broadcasting Web sites

The worst overall industry websites included those such as Regional, Consulting and Investment websites.

To request your copy of the 2008 WebAward ISAR report, please visit the WebAward Website.

Web Developers anxious to see how their site compares with the ISAR Index can enter the 2008 WebAward competition in April and receive valuable feedback regarding their web development efforts. Learn more at www.webaward.org

About WebAwards

Now in its 12th year, the annual international WebAwards competition sets the standard of excellence in 96 industry categories by evaluating Web sites and defining benchmarks based on the seven essential criteria of successful Web site development. The goal of the Web Marketing Association, sponsor of the WebAwards, is to provide a forum to recognize the people and organizations responsible for developing some of the most effective Web sites on the Internet today. Entrants benefit from a Web site assessment by a professional judging panel and the marketing opportunities presented to an award-winning Web site. For more information, visit www.webaward.org.

Adweek Covers Internet Standards Assessment Report

AdWeek Magazine ran a story on its site today entitled Site Development Lags Expectations. In it, Brian Morrissey writes that Despite increased attention by many companies to their digital presence, a wide-ranging study has found that found Web site development is not keeping pace with consumer expectations.

The article is based on the findings of the Internet Standard Assessment Report generated from the 2006 WebAward Competition.

You can read the entire article at http://www.adweek.com/aw/iq_interactive/article_display.jsp?vnu_content_id=1003554524

New Web Marketing Association Report Details Trends in Award Winning Websites Derived from a Decade of Hosting Internet Award Competition, WebAwards

The Web Marketing Association, today released its Internet Standards Assessment Report (ISAR), which provides industry-specific benchmarking data for web development. For the second year in a row, the ISAR Index, has shown a decline in the overall standard of excellence in Web development across 96 industries.

The ISAR index is an average of all scores in the Web Marketing Association’s WebAward competition sine 1997. Index fell from 52.2 in 2005 to 50.7 in 2006, a reduction of 3%.

“The ISAR Index is the benchmark that many organizations use to compare their Web development efforts to’, said William Rice, President of the Web Marketing Association. “Web standards are not falling, we believe that consumer expectations, as reflected in the judges scores, indicate that Web sites have to work harder at creating a total user experience that both informs and entertains the visitors who reach their sites.”

The ISAR report includes the following just-released information:
• Detailed Industry findings as compared to historical trends
• Best and Worst Industries in Web Development
• Best and Worst Industries as they compare to the 7 criteria for a successful Website
• Award-wining sites for each industry
• Commentary for each industry as compared to the overall competition in 2006

Information within the report is derived form the Web Marketing Association’s annual WebAward competition (www.webaward.org) which judges websites in 96 industries based on the seven criteria that combined help create award-winning websites.

The WebAward’s seven criteria for a successful Website include:
• Design
• Innovation
• Content
• Technology
• Interactivity
• Copywriting
• Ease of Use

The ISAR report also includes an index with a running benchmark of web development to which each industry can draw comparisons. Drawing off information found in the ISAR report, web developers and others within organizations responsible for web design, can leverage statistical data to make more informed decisions in an effort to create more effect websites.

“The most successful award-winning websites develop the correct balance of design, innovation and technology to create a total user experience,” said Rice. “Once the total user experience is attained, the site becomes a sales tool itself because it has captured the visitor and the winners of the WebAward do this especially well.”

According to the ISAR report, the five best industries for Website development in 2006 were:
1. Airline Websites
2. Computer Retailer Websites
3. Game Site Websites
4. Toy & Hobby Websites
5. Food Websites

The worst overall industry websites included those such as Brokerages, Credit Unions and ISP websites.

To request your copy of the 2007 WebAward ISAR report, please visit: http://www.webaward.org/isar_report.asp

Media coverage of ISAR Study

The Web Marketing Association’s Internet Standards Asessment Report continues to draw the intererst of the media.

Here are a few examples of recent media coverage of the report:

Yahoo News:Education Web Sites Benchmarked in New Internet Study

WebProNewsKing Content Takes Queen Interactivity

Web Site Services MagazineISAR Report


Independent Agent Magazine
Insurance Industry Lacks Dynamic Web
Presence

Insurance Journal Insurance Web Sites Benchmarked in New Study

The Bivings Report What Industries Have the Best/Worst Websites?

LexBlogLaw firm websites below average : Internet Standards Assessment Report

WebProNewsGaming Sites, Great; PR Sites, No

About the Internet Standards Assessment Report

Recently the Web Marketing Association released a study
based on nearly ten thousand Web site evaluations in more than eighty
industries since 1997. The Internet Standards Assessment Report
(ISAR) is the results of nearly a decade of independent evaluations of Web site
development based on seven criteria critical to a successful Web site: design,
innovation, content, technology, interactivity, copywriting and ease of use from the annual WebAward Competition for Web site development.

To receive a copy of The Internet
Standards Assessment Report
or to learn more about the Web Marketing
Association’s WebAward program please visit: www.webaward.org.

Marketing with Honors puts WebAwards “In the Spotlight”

Marcus +
Company, a Boston-based boutique marketing consulting firm specializing in
helping companies win of noteworthy award programs, has highlighted the 2006
WebAwards and the Internet Standards Assessment Report in the recent Marketing
with Honors
newsletter. 

PRWeb Podcast of ISAR Study

PRWeb, a sponsor of the 2006 WebAwards, has created a podcast interview of William Rice, President of the Web Marketing Association, discussing the major finding of the recently released Internet Standards Assessment Report (ISAR).

Entitled "Breakthrough Internet Study Sets Benchmarks for Web Site Development " the podcast is currently live and is listed on the main page under "Most Recent Podcasts" and in the "Most Recent Podcasts" RSS feed.
(http://prwebpodcast.com/feed/recent.xml). 

It can also be found under the approriate iTunes category feeds on this page (http://prwebpodcast.com/podlist.php).

You can find the podcast in various formats on this page: http://prwebpodcast.com/releases/pod137.htm)

Media coverage of Web Marketing Association’s ISAR Study

Last week, the Web Marketing Association released the Internet Standards Assessment Report, a landmark study of web development benchmarks across 81 industries. We are pleased to report that many leading publications have already picked up on the report, including:

AdRants – Gaming Sites On Top, PR Sites On Bottom of Website
Effectiveness Study

http://www.adrants.com/2006/03/gaming-sites-on-top-pr-sites-on-bottom-of.php

MarketingVox – 10-Year Study Establishes Website Development
Benchmarks

http://www.marketingvox.com/archives/2006/03/16/10year_study_establishes_website_development_benchmarks/

Adotas – Study Dissects Web Trends Across 80 Industries

http://www.adotas.com/2006/03/study-dissects-web-trends-across-80-industries/

WebProNews – Gaming Sites, Great; PR Sites, No

http://www.webpronews.com/topnews/topnews/wpn-60-20060316GamingSitesGreatPRSitesNo.html

Internet Study Sets Industry Benchmarks for 10 Years of Web Site Development

The Web Marketing Association, sponsor of the annual international WebAward
competition (www.Webawards2006.org),
today announced the findings of a decade-long study of Web development trends
across more than 80 industries. The
resulting Internet Standards Assessment Report (ISAR) provides industry
benchmarks for Web site development and is based on data collected from nearly
10,000 Web site evaluations. A copy of the full report can be downloaded at http://www.webaward.org/isar_report.asp.

The WebAward competition is the
only major award program to provide an in-depth, quantitative analysis of
results to develop standards of excellence for future development. 
The results evaluate average scores in each
industry against defined benchmarks in seven categories, including design, innovation,
content, technology, interactivity, copywriting and ease of use.

“According to our professional
judges, design, ease-of-use and innovation are the most important contributors
to a Web site’s success or failure,” said William Rice, president of the Web
Marketing Association. “However, our
results found that industries overall excelled in content and copywriting over
design and ease-of-use, which may close the door to many users. Innovation, while critical to a Web site’s
success, actually received the lowest average scores across all industries. We believe this is due to the fact that
innovation is so elusive and difficult to maintain – what is groundbreaking in
one industry may be commonplace in another.”

The report reveals that gaming Web
sites dominate the top scores in every category, followed by music, which
placed second overall, and automobile and sports Web sites, which tied for
third place. The industries with the
lowest average Web site scores included radio, public relations and search
engines.

Top Industries

The consumer-focused sites which
led the industry rankings over the last decade feature vibrant content aimed at
migrating the brand experience online and building online communities. In addition, these industries excel because
of the need to meet high audience expectations that almost demand that sites be
on the cutting edge of Web development. For example:

· Gaming Sites: These
sites feature experienced designers who understand the intricacies of Flash
animation and the benefits of online communities, including message boards and
chat features. Targeted to a younger
audience, these sites focus on providing a user experience that is on par with
the actual gaming experience. Recent best of industry winners include:
Star Wars Mercenaries Game Site, SOCOM II: U.S. Navy SEALs
and Disney’s Hot Shot Business.

· Music Sites: Users come to music sites for the content,
but they stay for the experience. According
to Rice, “Music sites have conquered the age-old dilemma regarding the use of
technology, where too little equals boring and too much means the site can be
overwhelming. The music sites we’ve
evaluated over the years have demonstrated the ability to build a loyal
following by effective uses of technology to stream rich media content without
sacrificing usability.” Recent best of
industry winners include:
Red Bull Music Labs,
Sting: Public & Pay Member Site and Live365.

· Automobile Sites: One of the most hotly contested industries,
automobile sites realized early that customers were most likely to engage an
auto brand in the privacy of their home or office, rather than in a showroom
with a commission-driven sales person.  As a result, this is one of the few industries
that has beaten the average scores for the WebAwards every year since the
competition’s inception. Recent best of industry winners include:
Volkswagen 2005, Toyota Scion and The all-new XJ online
campaign.

· Sports Sites. These sites benefit from a fanatical fan base
who count on their favorite Web sites to stay in-the-know about sporting news
and events. Therefore, it’s no surprise
that this industry ranked highest in the areas of design and content. Recent
best of industry winners include: Nike
Basketball, RBK Sound and Rhythm and Prince Tennis Website.

“As Internet bandwidth developed,
so did the ability for Web sites to deliver a dynamic rich media experience
that merges online entertainment with e-commerce to create a compelling
interaction for users,” added Rice. “While content is still king, it’s a Web site’s ability to interact with
users in interesting ways that keeps an audience coming back.”

Other noteworthy industries
include retail, healthcare and travel. Retail-oriented sites, including shopping, auctions and catalogs, ranked
highest for interactivity. These sites
allow for personalized cross-selling and detailed product information which are
not always available in print catalogs or off-line stores. Similar to the automobile industry, the
retail industry has succeeded by maintaining its off-line brand presence
online.

In the healthcare and travel
industries, content, copywriting and ease-of-use dominated the scores due to
recent changes in industry dynamics. “An
important trend we’re seeing in healthcare and travel is disintermediation,”
said Rice. “For example, the healthcare
industry previously relied completely on service providers for patient
interaction, but new legislation has opened the door for direct-to-consumer
initiatives. As a result, the healthcare
industry has become very competitive in the areas of content and copywriting as
consumers are turning to these sites to become better informed before deciding
on a course of action with their doctors.”

“A similar scenario exists in the
travel and leisure industry, with the practical elimination of travel agents,”
continued Rice. “These Web sites have
demonstrated a strong showing in both copywriting and ease-of-use as Web sites
integrate effective copy with strong images to create a lifestyle experience
for the user, allowing them to make better choices for themselves.”

Bottom Industries

The industries with the lowest
average Web site scores included radio, public relations and search engines. These sites tend to concentrate more on
content than delivery platform, often forcing too much information into too
little space, which hinders design and ease-of-use. For example:

· Radio Sites. These sites rank particularly low in the
areas of innovation and use of technology. This is surprising given the industry’s ability to harness rich media
similar to music sites. While radio station sites can draw upon music for
content, they often try to cram their homepages with so many options that users
can feel lost and overwhelmed.

· Public Relations
Sites. While advertising sites excelled
in design and innovation, public relations sites ranked low across all
categories. Notably, public relations
scored lowest for copywriting, even though it is an industry known for
effective communication. According to
Rice, “It’s likely that PR practitioners focus more on developing their
clients’ sites, while their own sites suffer from typical ‘brochure-ware.’ Another possibility is that the low scores
reflect the informal nature of the Internet and the backlash over over-edited,
corporate speak.”

· Search Engine Sites. While search engines are dominating the buzz
around the Internet industry as a whole, these sites rank lower than average in
every category, except ease-of-use. In
fact, search engines received the lowest scores for use of technology even
though the behind-the-scenes technology driving search engines is so
sophisticated. These low scores can be
attributed to the spartan nature of most search engines which allow the results
to speak for themselves.

“Of course, in every industry, there are Web sites that
stand out and others that don’t make the grade,” concluded Rice. “Our goal has always been to be more than
just a popularity or beauty contest that rewards brand names and good
design. Instead, this report is designed
to take a decade’s worth of judging scores to define what Internet marketing
professionals should strive for in their Web site development efforts.”

About the WebAwards

The 10th annual international WebAwards
competition sets the standard of excellence in 95 industry categories by
evaluating Web sites and defining benchmarks based on the seven essential
criteria of successful Web site development. The goal of the Web Marketing Association, sponsor of the WebAwards, is
to provide a forum to recognize the people and organizations responsible for
developing some of the most effective Web sites on the Internet today. Entrants benefit from a Web site assessment
by a professional judging panel and the marketing opportunities presented to an
award-winning Web site. For more information,
visit www.webawards2006.org.

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