Review: The Rail



Company Comments

"When we created The Rail we hadn't yet heard about WebRings or any similar linking mechanism for web sites, so we actually thought we had invented the idea. It wasn't until we had finished the site and had it up and running, and had added 60 sites that we ran across a site (which submitted to become a member on The Rail), which was a member of a WebRing.

Because of this lack of exposure to WebRings during our design phase, we benefit by having some important differences from WebRings. First of all, we control all of the different trains and review all sites for membership ourselves. The submission form is easy to use, and the process of getting your site activated is quite automated. Once a site is approved, all you need do is to add the icon and click on it once to self-activate your site, and you are immediately inserted into that train's path and added to the site index the next day.

Also, since all of the sites are controlled programatically by C++ software on our web server we have the ability to do some cool things. For instance, every day at 1 am pacific time, all of the sites are shuffled so that a person's neighbors change from one day to the next. And if one clicks on the middle of the icon and special page is displayed, customized for that web site with detailed instructions about using the Rail Icon.

And we were quite surprised to see just how much content a person needs to put on their page in order to be a ring member. Our icon is quite small, includes no advertisement for The Rail on it, and we require no mention of the system at all from site owners. That way they can choose how much or how little mention they'd like to make of The Rail.

We have been reasonably successful, and currently have 2700 sites on the system. We have an automated robot process scan the system twice a week looking for sites which have disappeared or have removed their Rail Icon so that the routes may stay clear and riders don't encounter dead ends while riding the system.

For more information, come on by and visit at" --Nick Centanni, Glacier Point Software

Personal Comments

This one is kinda neat... it's all done as if the users are on a train, and you are one of the stops along the way. I like the concept. All sites are previewed before they are added. The wait is typicly about two weeks.

Comments From Users Of This Service

This is where all you people out there that have used this in the past (or are using it at the moment), can post your comments, good or bad. Here they are.

Marilyn says: "I've been a member of the Rail for awhile now and did not experience any difficulty with joining. I like the fact that the sites are reviewed and must be relevant to that particular train. The concept is interesting, works well, and allows viewers to enjoy top quality websites."

Sandy says: "When the 'Rail' was fairly new, I had written and asked to be considered as a member, well, I hadn't thought of it being a problem prior to my asking, but, turns out because there are so many other specific consultants' it turned out to be a problem. Was told very politely that due to the large number of us in competition, if one of us was allowed to join the 'Rail' that all of us would have an opportunity to join! Whatever happened to the challenge of having competition? Who doesn't have competition? Anyway, my feelings were hurt at first...especially since I wanted to join so badly!"

"National PR Network" says: "Filled out lengthy application form months ago, got a confirmation letter. It said they were behind on adding sites. Nothing since."