Issue: NetAid Charity Concert
Billed as the biggest charity music event since Live Aid, NetAid took
place simultaneously on 9 October at three venues around the world:
Wembley Stadium in London, Giants Stadium in New York and the Palais des
Nations in Geneva.
Each of the three concerts was broadcast live on the internet - allowing
millions of people to log on to the internet for this occasion.
NetAid has been set up as a unique way of linking people from all walks
of lives - from students to world leaders - from all over the world, via
the internet with the sole aim of helping to reduce Third World debt and
The NetAid web site was put together in 90 days and went live on 8
September, a month before the charity concerts. It’s an attractive site
without being too flirtatious, able to handle 60 million hits per hour
and 125,000 simultaneous video streams.
The launch of the web site itself did not attract much media attention,
although, once the announcement of the celebrity line-up for the
concerts was made, it inevitably gained more coverage. However, the
press did not exactly ooze enthusiasm for the concerts, and the internet
broadcast of the events was criticised for the poor quality of the
transmission of images over the net. Even after the event, trying to
call up the video clips of the concert seemed to cause problems for many
visitors to the site.
The site itself is fairly slick - connection is quick and navigating it
is straightforward. From the home page you are led to the four major
areas of the site: information on the project; the concerts; an action
centre and an area featuring facts about poverty.
Information about NetAid history can also be found easily, with
statements about why it was set up and what its mission is for the
present and the future.
NetAid boasts an impressive list of endorsements by celebrities who have
committed themselves to this cause. There is a special page that lists
all the key participants, giving detailed biographies on such people as
David Bowie, Bono and Kofi Anan.
The United Nations Development Programme along with technological
backers Cisco are two of the sponsors of the concerts and the web site.
Their logos appear on every page, giving a constant reminder of where
the funding has come from.
The NetAid web site promises to create a ’network of exchange’ to aid
the support of project ideas and a ’portal link’ with successful agents
and agencies of change. It will be interesting to follow this site into
the millennium to see if Third World poverty is reduced due to on-line
help and support from around the world.