If you are one of the many people who depend on the Internet to conduct daily business or to find information, you have probably run across some lingo that lingers in your optical receptors but isn’t able to filter past your frontal lobes.

Don’t fret; the world is full of questionable acronyms, and the onslaught of new web technology has muddied up the waters even more. The following list defines some of the more common acronyms and phrases from the dot-com world.

With new words popping up every day, keeping up is a never-ending challenge — but here goes.

Internet Terminology

B2B: Business to business.

B2C: Business to consumer.

B2M: Business to manufacturer.

(Note: B2 acronyms are still evolving. For example, dot-com companies that have folded in the past year are sometimes referred to as B2B — back to bankruptcy.)

Boolean search: A method of combining words or phrases when searching a database; you can maximize the effectiveness of a search by using words such as and, or, and not between the search words and phrases. These conjunctions are called “operators.”

CGI: Common gateway interface; a program that takes the information in the form of boxes, processes the information, and does something with it, such as sending it to an address as an e-mail.

Cookies: Cookies are a form of Internet traffic reporting. Some websites are enabled with cookies, small bits of information that attach to your system and cause you to leave a traceable trail of your activity on that site and others. Among other things, a cookie can store your name and password for a site so you don’t have to re-enter this information every time you visit. Some sites won’t let you enter unless you agree to this. Different systems and programs require different methods of removing the cookies. It is a good idea to clean them out regularly.

Data harvesting: The capability to capture consumer information for future marketing use.

Domain name: Your Internet name (e.g., www.tigerboyz .com). Your Internet provider will register your domain name on a first-come, first-served basis. Registered trademarks have a precedent over Internet registrations. Pick at least five possible names when applying.

Download: To copy data (text, photos, charts, etc.) from an Internet website to your hard drive.

Dpi: Dots per inch; Internet graphics and photography are usually displayed at 72 dpi. This is low resolution compared to printing industry specs, and prohibits most downloaded images from being useful in brochures, etc.

Firewall: Software or hardware that protects computers from hackers who may use a company’s connection to the Internet as a means to enter and open sensitive computer files and systems. If the computer (or network of computers) you use to track all your customer information is the same one you use to get online, you should seriously consider a firewall to provide security to your local area network (LAN).

Frames: Frames allow the navigation buttons to remain in one place (at the top or side of a page) while a visitor scrolls down information within the frame. Be careful, though; while it appears user-friendly, it can cause conflicts with some browser versions and, more importantly, it inhibits the ability of search engines to find your keyword criteria.

FTP: File transfer protocol; used to transfer files across Internet systems.

Ghost towns: Websites that are not updated or maintained on a regular basis.

Gif: The most common graphics format for the Internet, these files have a maximum of 256 colors and are compressed for fast loading without losing the detail needed for display on screen.

Html: Hypertext markup language; this is the file format for Web pages. Tags (see definition) are applied before and after each text set within a web document, to turn on and turn off different formatting commands, such as italics, bold, centering, etc.

Http: Hypertext protocol; the set of rules that dictates how a document is passed around.

ISP: Internet service provider; a company with the appropriate computer directly connected to the Internet (e.g., America Online, AOL).

Jpeg: Another graphics format for the Internet, this allows for millions of colors, yet still compresses files.

Opt-in marketing: Consumer must respond to an offer for further communication (permission is requested). This type of communication is harder to get and usually requires an offer or free service to entice the customer to desire further communication.

Opt-out marketing: Consumer must respond in order to stop further communication. Permission is assumed (usually wrongly) and results are negligible since your communication is uninvited.

System: This refers to your computer’s operating system or a particular program, such as AOL.

Server: This can be the actual equipment (hard drive) from which you access the Internet. The host usually means the company that possesses the server.

Software: Any of scads of programs available for web design, database management, etc.

Tags: The codes that by which you can format text within a document; for example, typing TEST makes the word TEST appear in boldface print.

Upload: This means copying data from its source to any number of receptive media. (Not be to confused with download or “up yours.”)

URL: Universal resource locator; this is the Internet address. For example, tiger@ paper.com is a URL.

User name and password information: If you become a member of a site that charges fees for viewing secured areas, you will be issued (or may be allowed to create your own) user names and passwords, similar to having a PIN for your ATM card. Also, web designers establish user names and passwords when developing and maintaining sites for clients. It is important that clients know this information so if they wish to have someone else take charge of the site, or redesign it and upload a new version, they are not at the mercy of the original webmaster.

Virtual saver: A person or company with its own domain name, renting space on a web server from an ISP.

Web server: An Internet service company that has its own computer linked to the Internet.

Thanks to Gene Crippen of www.advertising-U.com and David Squires of Contr@ctor’s Online-Access for their help in assembling this list.

Publication date: 01/22/2001