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Startup Web Sites: Unhappy Surfing?

Light Reading
News Analysis
Light Reading

Optical networking is all about simpler, faster connectivity. So how come so many optical startups favor slow, complicated Web sites?

Startup Ilotron Ltd. http://www.ilotron.com may be cooking up petabit routers (see Ilotron Ltd.), but its Web site is a challenge to navigate. Click on one button, another appears. Click the new button, and it disappears. Cute, but maddening.

And Ilotron's not alone. It's a sad fact that some of the hottest optical startups have sites that leave the surfer cold. They take ten minutes to load (http://www.ignitus.com ). They feature mysterious flashing lights (http://www.lumenon.com), strange sounds (http://www.nanovation.com ), and graphics that overstay their welcome (http://www.luxn.com). What does any of this do for prospective buyers?

Then there are the sites that require special software "plug-ins" (http://www.xros.com); if you haven't got the right stuff on your browser, you're out of luck. Other sites require two or more clicks to enter--as though it's privilege to inquire about upcoming products. And some sites feature peek-a-boo news clips that appear and disappear with annoying frequency (http://www.equipecom.com and http://www.chromatis.com); catch it while you can.

Clearly, some vendors think the best way to communicate the wonder and mystery of their technology is by dazzling and confusing Web visitors. Sadly, this tack can backfire. Does Ignitus really think customers are willing to wait a quarter hour to load an online movie of swirling pipes? (Sorry, getting bought by Lucent-see Lucent Ignites ATM--isn't a license to waste a prospect's time.)

Incidentally, to bypass the movie and get right into Ignitus' site, click http://www.ignitus.com/whatsnewshell.html.com The news isn't all bad. For every cumbersome, cutesy site from an optical startup, there's a slew of other sites that are speedy, useful, and informative. Examples? Try http://www.avici.com, http://www.ciena.com, http://www.mrv.com, and http://www.sycamorenet.com.

We at Light Reading would like your feedback on this topic. If you've seen any sites worth panning--or praising--let us know. Contact us at [email protected]

Happy surfing.

by Mary Jander, senior editor, Light Reading http://www.lightreading.com

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