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Tell Us What You Think: The Second ONDotnet Survey

by Preston Gralla

It's not often that you get a chance to help shape the future of a Web site and a publishing company -- but now is one of those rare chances. We're running our second OnDotNet survey, and what you tell us will help decide what kind of articles we publish, and even what kind of books O'Reilly will publish. So take the survey now, and you'll get a chance to make your voice heard.

How It Looks

For those of you familiar with Zoomerang's surveys, this is one of those. It's fairly short. You can take it in less than ten minutes by clicking on buttons that tell us how often you visit the site, what technologies you work with, and so on.

There are about 30 multiple choice questions, plus a text field that allows you to submit comments up to 200 characters long. You can also include your email address if you want to enter a drawing for a chance to win great prizes, including $100 gift certificates for O'Reilly titles, Make magazine subscriptions, O'Reilly T-shirts, and copies of the latest issue of Make magazine.

Our Motivation

Why do we want this information? We have three primary reasons:

  • To refine our online editorial direction. If a significant number of you tell us that you like weblogs more than news articles, for example, that'll influence what I publish.

  • To influence book titles O'Reilly publishes. You're our audience, and we want to know what you want to read. What you tell us could be the tipping point when debating between one title and another.

  • To describe our audience to sponsors. OnDotNet needs to be self-sufficient, and in order to do that, we need to get sponsorships. We can increase our odds of signing up a sponsor by having good information about the type of visitors we attract. You win if we get sponsors -- you'll get more articles to read, and the site will have a more secure future.

In case you're wondering, we will not share the email addresses of survey participants with advertisers. That would undermine our business plan. Instead, if they want you as a customer, they have to attract your attention via our website or through sponsoring our newsletters.

Why Should You Participate?

We want to continue to offer OnDotNet for free. To do that, we need to find sponsors. And if we can provide demographic information, we're more likely to find them.

Plus, we want to give you the editorial content you want. If I know that you want to learn more about Vista development tools, for example, I'll make sure to line up articles and bloggers giving you just that.


After the numbers are in and compiled, I'll write a brief summary of the results and publish them here on OnDotNet. That way, you'll know who your comrades are and what they are thinking.

Now's a Good Time

All you have to do is click on the survey link and tear through the multiple choice questions. Please add a brief comment about what you'd like to see offered here, or what you don't want to see. If you have more to say than can be captured in 200 characters, take the survey first, then and I'll factor your comments into the final report.

Preston Gralla is the author of Windows Vista in a Nutshell, the Windows Vista Pocket Reference, and is the editor of He is also the author of Internet Annoyances, PC Pest Control, Windows XP Power Hound, and Windows XP Hacks, Second Edition, and co-author of Windows XP Cookbook. He has written more than 30 other books.

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