So what happened to

Greed. Corporate greed and arrogance. Corporate arrogance combined with lawyers and MBA's dictating the design of the new Yahoo Webring system that went into operation on September 5th 2000.

The original idea of the webring system was for web sites with common subject matter to organize into a community that formed a chain that was endless thus becoming a "ring". A web surfer that came across a site on a ring could visit other similar sites. Rings became places to visit over and over again.

For the system to work there must be a "ring server" program on a central computer that contains the list of sites on the ring and interprets the now familiar commands, Previous, Next and List from the code on each site on the ring. "List" being a popular selection the ring "hub" sees a lot of traffic and becomes a good place to do business. This traffic on the hub pays for the system which is otherwise run by volunteer "Ringmasters" that also enjoyed a little traffic to their site as the "ring home".

The whole thing was designed to be fun to do. Ringmasters created their "domains" and designed logos and other art work to identify their ring. The art of the web-ring nav-bar or code fragment became a wide spread part of the web culture. Webrings became a "cottage" industry. The whole system was designed so that there was a mutual benefit to the Ringmaster, the member sites and the system host.

Members got traffic from the ring, Ringmasters sites got more traffic and control of the ring, the host got traffic and advertising revenue. Everyone benefited.

But the lawyers and the MBA's didn't understand the culture. All they could see is 80,000 webrings with over a million web sites (and growing rapidly) to funnel traffic and DATA to Yahoo.

When Yahoo acquired they made few changes and watched the system operate for a year or so. Then they hatched their plan (on a day now know to Ringmasters as Black Tuesday) to squeeze every drop of revenue out of the Webring system.

In the "new" system the Ringmasters would no longer control the data. All the data became locked away on the host system. Ringmasters were suddenly locked out of often sizeable databases they had created through their hard work.

The Ringmasters home pages were abandoned, all the forms and administration moving to the host. The wonderful web-ring art was also abandoned for a (supposedly) uniform grey bar. The grey bar now contained three links to the host but none to the "ring home". AND to add insult to injury the new system required that everyone using the system register for a "Yahoo ID" (Y!ID). This required the members sex and both date and place of birth.

Many Ringmasters were shocked at the changes in the system. Others tried to find out what was going on. Everyone reported many of the "design" features as bugs or errors. They were not! By design the system is setup to reduce the importance of the Ringmaster and in fact operate without. Ringmasters, the creators of the icons, the people that came up with the ideas for their ring, were being written "out of the loop".

The result is that rings are leaving the Yahoo system by the thousands. The biggest growth area on the webring system is protest rings and sign post rings pointing elsewhere. Other ring systems are being swamped with the demand and new software solutions are becoming popular. There is no longer "only one game in town".

NOTE: Nearly a year later our webrings are growing and healthy. Inc. has posted masive losses in the first quarters of 2001. They have continued to tinker with their webring system but only to its detriment. Even more control has been taken away from the Ringmasters and this grand theft of intellectual property is nearly complete. Yahoo will continue to report losses.


Inside the Server Side Nav Bar
What are they and how they work.

Our original Nav Bar demo page
Samples and Comparison of Nav Bars

Demonstration of serious design flaws in the SSNB

Y!/Ring Protest Links:
Mog's Banned because I asked too many questions page and Because Webring is Broken, the Webring.

Wazillion Navbars Project (local mirror)
A local mirror of the navbar project. This 100+ out of control navbar is created by one instance of the SSNB.

Demonstration page on Geocities. The Grey bar, the CSS bar. Nodes on the Scrap Iron and More webring.
Richard Lowe and Claudia Arevalo-Lowe's page of informational links.

What other Ringmasters have to say

Rachelle Long's annotated Web-Ring Letter
A copy of Rachells's letter from webring and to her ringmembers.

Yahoo Ringtest
Joske Backer on her adventure concerning the involuntary move from to Yahoo.