The Israeli Internet, the collective knowledgebase consisting of websites created and maintained by Israelis, is plagued, in my opinion, with problems that should have disappeared long ago. Well into its second decade, the Israeli net shows a lot of the symptoms that Israeli society show, including short memory, turf wars and little transparency. Here are the top annoyances that bug me every single day:
It is no wonder this Hebrew word is well known around the world. The famous Israeli impudence is embedded in the Israeli net, most notably visible with leading websites shoving pop-up ads into their visitors’ faces, often hiding or delaying the option to close the window, and accompanying the graphics with music or narration. And we are not talking about your run of the mill pr0n site doing it – these are Israel’s leading web portals.
The net is the platform onto which humankind is documenting its knowledge, but not in Israel. It is common practice in the IsraNet for webmasters to stop supporting old pages upon upgrading their websites. Similarly, leading companies open an Ad Hoc website for a marketing campaign (e.g. new movie, new snack food), stop updating it after a month, and letting it close at the end of the year.
It seems that the golden rule for webmasters here can be summed up to one sentence: ‘If it works in Internet Explorer – then it works fine’. Nowhere else in the world can one find such poor compliance with HTML rules and the inevitable result is that IE is the only browser that guarantees Israeli websites would show up. Now, granted, Microsoft’s Internet Explorer browser is as popular here as it is around the world, and private websites can be given some slack, but when the leading Israeli banks manage websites that do not show up on the second most popular browser – it is simply unacceptable. Adding insult to injury, the banks’ own website boast about their great strides for internet security, all the while forcing every one of their customers to use the most unsafe browser ever invented.
This Land Is My Land
In the ancient land of Canaan, netizens mark their territory just as canines do. Israelis are obsessed with taking credit, rather than getting credit. No TV program is ripped without first embedding the nickname of the kid who had done it, no subtitle file is uploaded without the translator adding some thank you lines for his own hard work, and most images are watermarked from here to oblivion, regardless if they are an original work or not.
Website for Every Worker
It is surprising how many successful artists do not foster a website. Singers who perform in sold out venues, who employ managers and PR people, do not see the benefits in having a website – or they do have a website, a fluffy one with almost no content and no updates.
We Don’t Need No (More) Stinking Knowledge
It seems Israeli news websites are certain they are the alpha and omega, as they seldom add links for additional knowledge, even when the entire article discusses a new website. With the nature of the Hebrew language, foreign names can be spelled in different ways. This means that the nasty habit of Israeli websites to not add the English spelling of a name, sends readers into a search frenzy just to track down the discussed website or person. When a recent article discussed Congressman Keith Ellison, it forced readers wanting to read more on the official website to do a lot of searching, as a link was not provided and the Hebrew spelling of Ellison can also be translated back to Alison, Allison and Elison.
Sub Par Subdomains
When the three letters, WWW, were arbitrarily chosen as the default subdomain back in the days, no one probably thought the internet was destined to be surfed by laymen who would grow to expect the tongue tying prefix. Nowadays, people all over the world type in mail.google.com or movies.yahoo.com – but not in Israel. The triple double u’s have become synonymous in Israel with a website’s address, so much so that people do not understand how to type in mail.yahoo.com upon request. Instead of educating the masses, websites tend to use a lot of slashes, thus many radio ads quote website addresses full of slashes or unneeded sub-subdomains (e.g. www.hachvana.mod.gov.il)
Your Ad Here
Many websites choose not to have an independent website and reside under an irrelevant domain, chose only for its monetary values. When Israeli number one radio station’s website is glglz.msn.co.il you know something is wrong. Usually, as with the mentioned example, the collaboration ends after some time, and the website ceases to work (see ‘You’re History’ )