CAMPAIGNS: Weekly Web Watch - Hi-tech site offers Third World help

Company: NetAid

Company: NetAid

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.

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