Step By Step
Dilbert-run, geek media have long heralded the Internet as the information superhighway where agoraphobes can meet beautiful, exotic women and go on cyberdates to the Louvre while listening to National Public Radio on a RealAudio stream. Reality crashes in like The Crying Game denouement when your companion is revealed as a 13-year-old, zit-speckled boy, the cyberbroadcast fidelity rivals a 78-rpm record, and your new Web browser doesn't include the plug-in needed for the virtual tour.
Despite the Web's unceasing, often-well-deserved hype, the digital frontier remains more like the Wild, Wild West with Route 66 snaking through its kitschy roadside attractions than Bill Gates' prognosticated Utopia (unless viewed from his accountant's perspective, of course). What Corvette enthusiasts need is a guidebook, a straightforward navigation system to home in on the standout sites. Welcome to the Corvette Lover's Guide to the Internet.
A simple search on Corvette in AltaVista turned up 291,710 Web pages! Since it would take longer to review every one of these than hand-sketching each Kosovo refugee, we focused on sites turned up through the more closely screened Yahoo!, HotBot, and Lycos directories. Though there are myriad portals, search engines, and metacrawlers to hone searches in countless ways, our chosen sites weed out much of the riffraff.
Clicking into Yahoo!'s Recreation/Automotive/Makes and Models/Chevrolet reveals just 69 Corvette sites ranging from rank amateur to the cream of the crop, with subcategories flagged for clubs, dealers, magazines, and parts. We often begin our searches this way for speed, ease of navigation, and knowledge that the sites were approved before being added to the popular portal.
Because of the human review factor, Yahoo! is weeks behind in updates, making true search engines like AltaVista more effective for time-oriented queries.
Exploring beyond our bookmarked favorite sites, we were shocked at the poor quality of many sites' designs, from function to aesthetics. The big boys like Callaway, Mid America, and the Official C5 Registry have spoiled us with ease of navigation, dazzling graphics, and useful content. However, the earnest effort put forward by enthusiasts and the quantity of information available is impressive--all you have to do is find it.
With so many sites available, one can truly never see them all. Trudging through the mediocrity is a task best left to magazine editors and prison inmates. We offer this as a guide to standout sites that every Internet-enabled enthusiast should visit, or at least be aware of. Knowing we left more than 291,000 sites unmentioned here, please feel free to suggest your favorite sites for possible future coverage (CF@petersenpub.com).
Take a gander at the site listing below.