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Buzzword Bingo

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Martin Burns

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User since: 26 Apr 1999

Articles written: 143

A few months ago, I was in a meeting where one of the least clued individuals

I have ever worked with described the organisation we were working for as a

"dot-corp". I had to ask for an explanation, and it came across

as a pile of crap. A few days later, a friend was describing how someone in a

meeting had suggested "Russian-dolling" that site's content.

I knew I was onto something, so started collecting buzzwords. Here's my selection.

.commerce (n)

Replacement for the now tired eCommerce.

b to b (n)

Not to be confused for B2B (qv), this is short for Back to Banking; the career move currently favoured by ex-bankers who thought that they would be post-IPO, dot-com millionaires by now.

b to c (n)

Not to be confused for B2C (qv), this is short for Back to Consulting; the career move currently favoured by ex-management consultants who thought that they would be post-IPO, dot-com millionaires by now.

B2G (n)

An eBusiness trying to take advantage of the government's headless-chicken approach to the Internet.

B2R (n)

Holiday (abbreviation for Beach to Recuperate).

Back-end (n)

The hardware and software you bought because that's the one your development partner either wrote, or they receive commission/favours for sales.

Bear-box (n)

A secure box left outside your house where bulky items can be deposited by authorised delivery people if you are out. Sounds a lot like the service our next-door neighbour provides. Alternatively, the delivery people could deliver a special token known as a card telling you that you can collect your item at your local depot or Post Office.

Benchmark against (v)

Steal ideas from.

bizmeth (n)

Shorthand for a patent on a blatently obvious method of doing business which attempt to extract license fees from anyone with a sensible technology or business model. Examples are Amazon's patent of One-Click, and BT's patent on hyperlinks. If the patent offices improved to the level of half-witted and gained an outline interest in investigating prior art, it wouldn't happen.

Bleeding edge (adj)

So new that only the agency trying to sell it to you has the facility to benefit from it.

Brand (n)

Substitute for profit.

bricks-and-clicks (n)

An existing offline company trying to come to terms with eBusiness. See also dot-bam.

CeO (n)

Chief eBusiness Officer. Head of the silo created by a bricks and clicks (qv) to prevent the rest of the company realising that eBusiness affects them.

Clickthrough (n)

Substitute for unique selling point.

Co-branded (adj)

The funding all went on advertising rather than useful services or content.

Cross-platform (adj)

Internet Explorer on Windows 98 and Windows2000

dog-food (v)

To use one's own technology (eg Microsoft staff using WinCE devices, rather than the Palm standard adopted by the rest of the world). From "To eat one's own dog-food".

dot.bomb (n)

An eBusiness which fails spectacularly, taking its shareholders' money and staff's reputations with it.

dot-bam (n)

A Bricks And Mortar (i.e. existing offline) company trying to come to terms with eBusiness. See also Bricks and Clicks.

dot-corp (n)

eBusiness with all the surface trappings of a naïve dot-com (bullshit, made up numbers, purple walls, Sony Aibo in the office) and all the inflexibility of an industrial age corporation. For likely outcome, see dot-fizzle.

dot-fizzle (n)

An eBusiness which starts off with high hopes and public announcements but quietly dies without fanfare.

e2e (adv)

email-to-email. As opposed to discussing something v2v (ie verbally, in a meeting).

eLandscape (n)

The range of ways in which .commerce (qv) can fail.

Enterprise (adj)


E-Stops (pl. n)

A series of depots on arterial roads where customers can collect items purchased online. Not to be confused by the series of depots operated by The Royal Mail spread throughout the country where customers can collect items purchased online. These are known as Post Offices.

Flash (n)

A technology from MacroMedia which is overused to do the job which HTML would perform in 10% of the download time, and to ensure that your site will fall foul of the 1995 Disability Discrimination Act. Typical examples: or

Front-end (n)

Where your development/design partner hides substantive usability issues with a whizzy design which looks great running on their laptops (see Brand and Flash).

Fulfilment issues (n)

An inability to get in touch with The Post Office, DHL or FedEx.

glocal (adj)

Forcing US content on the rest of the world, but allowing local subsidiaries to edit "color" to "colour" etc. See also glocalization [sic] (n).

Granular (adj)


H2H (n)

Short for Hospital2Hospital - a B2B in the healthcare sector.

HQ (v)

To use physical access and Internet tools to enable people to work anywhere.

Metrics (pl.n)

The percentage ROI of a site's advertising, usually expressed in tenths.

Next-generation (adj)

Made up to impress the VCs. (n)

A company where 'log on' is assumed to involve wood-burning stoves.

on-land (adj)

Replacement for off-line, now that the general populace understands it.

Portal (n)

Correctly: A site which primarily provides links to other sites - examples: Yahoo, Slashdot.
More common usage: Any site.

Reverse Fulfilment (n)

A positive spin on customers returning shoddy goods bought online where they can't see their lack of quality.

Russian-doll (v)

To reduce in scope or scale past the level of usefulness.

Share Options (pl. n)

Worthless paper, not to be accepted in lieu of salary under any circumstances. See also Under the Water.

Sidebar meeting (n)

All new, up-to-the-moment rebranding of the subcommittee concept. Comes complete with Starbucks coffee & Chai, and a finger buffet (replaces previous 'beer and sandwiches' partnership).

The Mobile Internet (proper n)

A method for BT to deliver poor usability at a profit.

Under the Water (adj)

State of ePoverty [sic] caused by the share options you accepted instead of a sensible salary now being worth less than the price of a pad of PostIt notes.

Vulture Capitalist (n)

Companies who sniff around the corpses of failed eBusinesses looking to pick up their assets at a knockdown price. Rumour has it that 6 recruitment consultants were handing out business cards at the door within 20 minutes of's demise; one even putting £5,000 behind the bar of a local wateringhole.

Webinar (n)

An online seminar. Teleconferencing by another name.

where-ware (n)

Mobile phones which will spam you with information about the nearest cinema showing porn.

Martin Burns has been doing this stuff since Netscape 1.0 days. Starting with the communication ends that online media support, he moved back through design, HTML and server-side code. Then he got into running the whole show. These days he's working for these people as a Project Manager, and still thinks (nearly 6 years on) it's a hell of a lot better than working for a dot-com. In his Copious Free Time™, he helps out running a Cloth Nappies online store.

Amongst his favourite things is ZopeDrupal, which he uses to run his personal site. He's starting to (re)gain a sneaking regard for ECMAscript since the arrival of unobtrusive scripting.

He's been a member of since the very early days, a board member, a president, a writer and even contributed a modest amount of template code for the current site. Above all, he likes to do things because it knowingly chooses to do so, rather than randomly stumbling into them. He's also one of the boys and girls who beervolts in the UK, although the arrival of small children in his life have knocked the frequency for 6.

Most likely to ask: Why would a client pay you to do that?

Least likely to ask: Why isn't that navigation frame in Flash?

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