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Changes to international pages (4)

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Steve Herrmann Steve Herrmann | 17:23 UK time, Friday, 3 July 2009

Hello. Here's an update on the recent changes in access to the UK and international front pages of the website which have been the subject of several previous posts (10 June, 15 June and 19 June) and lots of comments and queries.

There are two main things to say:

First, the project team has gone through your feedback over the past week and given replies to specific queries, which are further down this post. They have also compiled a Help page of FAQs which will cover many of the questions you've asked and pull all the answers together in one place.

Second, while we understand the annoyance and frustration many of you feel about the removal of the option to switch between UK and international versions of the site, we won't be restoring it at this point in the site's development. Why? Please read on:

We're working on other ways to open up the range of choices about what you can read and watch, wherever you are on the site, as part of an overall review of the site's design, including both index and story pages.

But, for now, after considering all the options and all your feedback, the separation of editions based on IP addresses really does still look to us like the most viable approach to a whole set of technical, design and editorial challenges which we face as we develop the website and improve it for both UK and international audiences.

Here are the main reasons again:

• we have an unusual requirement when it comes to developing the BBC website: it carries advertising internationally but not in the UK, and we have to build and design for both these situations simultaneously

• the site carries advertising internationally so that UK licence fee payers don't cover international costs

• some content on the site is available in the UK but not internationally, notably certain rights-restricted video

• up to now, we have had: a UK edition without ads, a UK edition with ads, an international edition with ads and an international edition without ads, all in addition to some content which is visible in the UK but not internationally

• managing all those combinations within our existing design framework had become impractical as well as expensive and, critically, had started to affect our ability to find the best ways of improving a whole range of other things in the months ahead

UK Your MoneyYour frank comments over the last few weeks have given us a lot to think about. We are making some immediate changes to the international-facing site, such as the addition of specific UK content like the UK Your Money section on the international business pages and a broader selection of UK and international topics to the Have your Say pages.

We're also investigating whether we can introduce the postcode local personalisation box onto the UK index of the international edition.

But although the UK and world headlines are all there on both versions of the site, we now know how much many of you miss the ability to choose which front page to look at. That's something we are taking on board as we look at how we continue to develop the site.

Now here are some more of your specific queries answered, and the project team which have answered them is busy working on a full FAQs page incorporating these and all the others, which will be available soon.

In the meantime, if you have specific questions which we haven't answered yet, please send them to this Help inbox, which the team will monitor, so that they can reply and add any new replies to the rest, and make them easy to find in one place: SiteVersionsFeedback@bbc.co.uk

Local UK content

User andyrocky in Denver, Colorado, wrote that the UK News page provided him with a valuable link to his old home, and wanted to see the weather and local news in Birmingham, as well as Aston Villa headlines.

UK Your MoneyWe are still investigating whether the personalisation box, which is on the UK front page, can be added to the international version of the site. In the meantime, comprehensive local news for regions around the country is available in the UK section and subsections of England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales.

News of Aston Villa and other English and Scottish clubs is available in the My Club section of BBC Sport.

The BBC Weather pages allow you to search for a town in the UK by name or postcode and to set the location as a default forecast.

UK-based users seeing the international version

We have resolved many of the problems experienced by users in the UK using the AOL browser who were being served the wrong edition. AOL has provided the BBC with a range of proxies used by its subscribers and we now recognise those users as being UK-based.

Some UK users, however, are occasionally routed via proxies outside this range. This is outside our control and appears to occur only within the AOL browser - not on other browsers. This should not mean that users outside the UK will see the UK version, which was a concern raised in the 19 June post. However, the routing policy used by AOL is within its control alone.

Some BBC News category pages are not appearing to AOL users even though they can see the UK edition. We are working with AOL to determine whether this is a caching issue within the AOL browser.

UK-based users seeing the international version at work

Many e-mailers and blog commenters said that they worked for companies in the UK but were seeing the international version of the site in their offices. This is because companies route their internet traffic through servers outside the UK.

It is not possible for the BBC to distinguish which users within a company are based within the UK and which are outside, and although those affected will be able to access the same stories as before, employees of companies who use international servers will continue to see the international version of our news pages. Users on international proxies, which make up less than 1% of overall usage, should not be served advertising, and anyone seeing advertising in the UK should contact us using this form.

Users in the UK who are used to seeing the international version

Some users pointed out that there are many people in the UK who preferred to view the International version of the site.

The World News page on the UK site offers a global view of international events and breaking news, as well as subsections containing news from various world regions. Users in the UK will still be able to access those, and we will continue to reflect international news as part of our overall front page coverage on the UK version of the site.

Isle of Man

Ckinlay wrote from the Isle Of Man that IP detection forced him to see the UK version of the site. Residents of the Isle of Man, as payers of the licence fee, are served the same content seen by the residents on the mainland.

Blackberry users

We are working on a solution for some Blackberry users in the UK who have been seeing the international site because of the way their devices connect to the internet.

Pre-roll ads on video

User jacksonkelsie commented on the One Minute World News video summary which is available to the international audience, saying that an advertising lead of between 15 and 30 seconds defeated the point of a quick and convenient one-minute summary.

Pre-roll advertisements are shown on our on-demand video to fund the cost of distributing it to our international audience, but we are investigating the best way to improve the user experience around our video internationally and hope to make the advertisements less intrusive by doing things like limiting the number of times ads are shown and working with advertisers to supply shorter content.

Why we are using GeoIP

In order to ensure that people in the UK do not see advertising, we have to use GeoIP. Without it, we don't know where ads should be visible and where they shouldn't. The same applies to video and other rights-restricted content.

Generally, GeoIP is a reliable way of determining a user's country, but there are occasions where it doesn't work properly and these we have to address, case by case, with our GeoIP provider. Our interpretation of GeoIP errs on the side of caution to avoid showing ads to UK audiences.

Steve Herrmann is editor of the BBC News website.

Comments

Page 1 of 2

  • Comment number 1.

    Thanks for the response. But you still haven't said why you can't use geoIP to decide on video content and advertising AND allow users to reorganise the front page so that they get the hierarchy of stories they want. Previous commenters generally seem quite happy to get advertising and no video if the site thinks they are outside the UK; but everyone wants the choice of which front page they see.

    Nor have you said why it's necessary to make the changes *now* when you haven't fully developed the replacement.

    For what it's worth, I connect via a foreign proxy because I work for a US company; and it *is* possible to get a customised UK Front page complete with London and Sussex news in the personalisation block, and local weather. And I don't get advertising, but that may be due to Adblock Plus. I still get the international menu on "inside" pages, and no video, but I can live with that.

  • Comment number 2.

    Goodbye BBC.

  • Comment number 3.

    Mr. Herrmann, Steve, thank you for your timely comments. (Better late, than never).

    We'd all given up waiting- in fact some have already gone- they gave up waiting.

    You write:-
    "Second, while we understand the annoyance and frustration many of you feel about the removal of the option to switch between UK and international versions of the site, we won't be restoring it at this point in the site's development."


    You added..

    "We won't be restoring the option".......



    So..

    I won't be using the site...

    and neither will many others.


    Why didn't you wait until you could roll-out the perfect system?

    Using GeoIP is a disaster, I am 'abroad', I receive targeted adverts in a foreign language from many sites. Do I take any notice of them?

    No.
    Do I go to sites that don't have them? "Yes"

    Don't you realize that there are many people 'out here' on imperfect internet connections, and for them to search multi-pages to get the information you claim is available at various locations, can take a long time, can be costly, and frustrating when the circuit drops out. When what we require is one one page- customized - it would be so much easier.

    Wasn't it like that, once?

    So off we go then.


    Goodbye. My patience is exhausted. I once had faith in "My Auntie".

    You don't care, so why should I? For goodness sake, get your act together and fix it.

  • Comment number 4.

    Shocking! Shocking! Shocking! Totally arrogant!

    Simple question - why can't we have an international (i.e. with ads etc.) version of the UK front page. That's what I want, and thousands of others, too.

    Simple answer required, please.

  • Comment number 5.

    Three of the five reasons Steve gave for making this decision are related to adverts.

    If adverts are the prime reason for the change, it fails straight away. I have an Ad-blocker so do not receive any adverts. I suspect there may be other folk who have something similar as well. So that argument is dead in the water.

    As far as video 'rights-issues'. It makes no difference to me if I do not see them.

    It is the UK news I want to read, not foreign news that the BBC wants me to read.

  • Comment number 6.

    Steve, at around 17:00hrs BST today whilst connecting with a UK IP number I was served with the international page - but without adverts - so you are either being given incorrect information down-stream or what you write (in the blog above) is nothing but a smoke-screen to cover inability, unwillingness of the BBC internet software/web 'engineers' or some other unspoken policy within the BBC as the BBC web server has actually served what you (or your so called experts) say can't be done - even if it did so accidentally!...

  • Comment number 7.

    #4: "Simple question - why can't we have an international (i.e. with ads etc.) version of the UK front page. That's what I want, and thousands of others, too."

    Posted in the comments of the last blog entry on this subject by Hymagumba...
    - International version: http://news.bbc.co.uk/nol/ifs_news/hi/
    - UK version: http://news.bbc.co.uk/nol/ukfs_news/hi/
    ...bookmark one of the above links, which at present still work.

  • Comment number 8.

    Re my comment at #6, as "MrsSilly" pointed out, people can block adverts - in fact it's being done so seamlessly these days that I had forgotten that I'm running 'add-block-plus' - so please disregard much of what I wrote in comment #6! [/embarrassed]

  • Comment number 9.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 10.

    "7. At 7:46pm on 03 Jul 2009, TheBroll wrote:
    #4: "Simple question - why can't we have an international (i.e. with ads etc.) version of the UK front page. That's what I want, and thousands of others, too."

    Posted in the comments of the last blog entry on this subject by Hymagumba...
    - International version: http://news.bbc.co.uk/nol/ifs_news/hi/
    - UK version: http://news.bbc.co.uk/nol/ukfs_news/hi/
    ...bookmark one of the above links, which at present still work."

    Thanks TheBroll. Very useful while it lasts. There isn't a sports one is there?

  • Comment number 11.

    Hmm.. Whatever happened to 'Geography is history' ?

    How long before users outside Wales are denied the BBC Wales content ?

  • Comment number 12.

    Whatever the reasons, and however its dressed up, after 10 years of the BBC News site as my homepage, I'm now sadly changing it to The Times.

  • Comment number 13.

    I love and trust the BBC as a source of news. I am curious about something though. Earlier today I watched a BBC video of Iranian TV broadcasting information about the 113 Informant hotline on the web. When I went back to watch it again and show it to a friend it was gone. I thought it was important to show what the Iranian government is doing in this present day. Not all sources are as trusted as BBC. I wish you kept that video available for more people to watch. Is there a reason it was removed? I will continue to look to the BBC online for news.

  • Comment number 14.

    At least there is a bit of honesty at last. Advertising is the main reason.

    Pity some of us have headed elsewhere then or used other routes and you are losing out!

  • Comment number 15.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 16.

    "up to now, we have had: a UK edition without ads, a UK edition with ads, an international edition with ads and an international edition without ads, all in addition to some content which is visible in the UK but not internationally"

    Ok, so this does go against what was said previously (i.e. that it was being changed from one version to two versions) but changing from four versions to two versions is a reasonable reason that I think we can all at least understand, if not actually agree with.

    But doesn't this sound hopelessly inefficient to anyone else? Why can't the two versions of the site be built with adverts, and then have the GeoIP simply not serve the adverts to the international IP addresses? Firstly, this technology does exist, secondly it creates no further variations than now, and thirdly it would allow a choice again, which is the thing the vast majority of people want back. And as for the videos that have rights issues, surely the GeoIP can be used to simply serve a static image instead? Besides, does it even matter if we get a "content not available in your area" message? It's not like we're not used to seeing it and I think most international users who have been regular users of this site (notice how I used past tense there) have come to expect it. Despite what your design changes indicate, we're not unreasonable people, or stupid.

  • Comment number 17.

    International-based users can access the UKFS (UK Facing Site) Front Page via http://bit.ly/ukbbcnews

    UK-based users can access the IFS (International Facing Site) Front Page via http://bit.ly/intbbcnews

    There is no reason to my knowledge of both the BBC News Website CPS and modern location-sniffing technologies why the BBC can't offer the UKFS Front Page to an international audience using the same with-advertising template they intend to push to International users looking at the now-default International Front Page.

    As a former employee of BBC, and specifically one who helped build this amazing service, I'm really really sad... especially as I myself live outside of the UK.

    I hope the above links are useful.

  • Comment number 18.

    Very Poignant News...or VPN, if you catch my drift.

  • Comment number 19.

    Many many commentators have asked for the TECHNICAL reason why we can't have the radio buttons to switch editions. You still have not provided one. Serve the adverts and access to video based on Geo Location but leave the rest as it was with the radio button.

    Having taken a cursory look at the source code for the site (as much of it as is available to the public on the client side any way) I'm not surprised that you have problems - you seem to have coded yourselves into a corner with layers and layers of complexity.

  • Comment number 20.

    Finally an honest and up-front response - thank you Steve. As many suspected there is no technical reason at all, it is all just about advertising.

    Almost everybody understands and accepts that the international pages now have to carry advertising (which can be blocked client side) and that some video cannot be broadcast outside the UK (which is fair enough, and for the willing there is VPN).

    However, up until now this all worked fine without removing the choice of version. There were never actually four different versions, just two versions which showed slightly different content, i.e. with or without adverts. Adverts can be served to non-UK IP addresses on any page which simply has the effect of pushing the page content down a bit. This happens now on every UK page which is viewed by a non-UK IP address, so what's the problem?

    This is no different than websites which serve content in several languages and many other websites seem to be able to allow users to switch between several versions without any difficulty at all.

  • Comment number 21.

    #16 has summarised it succintly. The adverts never bothered me, nor did the fact there was UK only video and audio. Now I have them via VPN and I avoid the adverts. As I said before, it's your loss.

  • Comment number 22.

    Once again, Steve and his team have understood nothing. I think we all knew advertising was the issue, but as many others have said, it is easy to get around the problem and restore the radio button to switch between the UK and International versions. When the site was last revamped - the beta version was used as a opt-in/opt-out possibility until the new site had all the "bugs" smoothed out. This time the new version has been dumped on all the users without asking for any feedback. The arrogance of the team is beyond belief. They still have not understood that we, the users, want to choose the type of news we have. How dare the BBC decide what we should get (but this has already been said more than a thousand times before in the 3 pages - now four - of this thread...)

  • Comment number 23.

    The overwhelming majority of people I know - experts and occasional surfers alike - now use Firefox + AdBlock Plus to ensure that they're never 'served' with these important commercial messages which encourage people with no money to waste it on rubbish they don't need. Software like this coupled with the explosive growth of PVRs for video content mean that as ITV are realising to their cost, adverts are very much yesterday's news, and the sooner the BBC (and the rest of the meeja) grasp this fact and start to explore other methods of funding, the better.

  • Comment number 24.

    Just like many others who have been affected by these changes and the complete lack of consideration displayed by the BBC News website team, I will be switching over to the Times website as well. At least they have the decency to provide a UK and an international version to their readers. I am lucky because I live in Ireland and can receive the BBC channels through paying for Sky. Mr Herrmann, if you did your research, I think you'd find that this is the case for the vast majority of people in Ireland, but thanks for throwing us in with everyone else meaning we can receive the UK service on our TVs but not on our computers. I truly sympathise with those of you in other countries that can't get the news on BBC 1. I never thought I'd see the day where I'd ever say a bad word about the BBC- this is a sad day indeed.

  • Comment number 25.

    Steve said:

    "But, for now, after considering all the options and all your feedback, the separation of editions based on IP addresses really does still look to us like the most viable approach to a whole set of technical, design and editorial challenges which we face as we develop the website and improve it for both UK and international audiences."

    Please explaint this. If you had really considered all the feedback I really think you would have come to the conclusion that this is NOT the best approach. Technically it is relatively simple to provide the option to select a version, editorially you have already said that all content should still be available to everyone, as far as rights permit, and as far as design is concerend, well, that is what templates are for - to separate content from the design.

    Maybe I'm just not getting this, but I would like to think I have enough experience in web design to know that the reasons you have given are sadly still nothing but excuses.

    Steve also said:

    "Generally, GeoIP is a reliable way of determining a user's country, but there are occasions where it doesn't work properly and these we have to address"

    It's not so much the problem that it doesn't work properly, more the fact that not everybody with a non-UK IP address is outside the UK and vice-versa. Why can't the technology be used solely to determine whether or not ads are shown. It worked like that before, so what specifically is the technical challenge here? This is a question you have unfortunately still failed to properly answer in detail.

    And...

    "Up to now, we have had: a UK edition without ads, a UK edition with ads, an international edition with ads and an international edition without ads, all in addition to some content which is visible in the UK but not internationally"

    No, you had two editions and if the user had a non-UK IP address the ads would appear, if not, they wouldn't. If you use an adblocker with an international IP address the ads just dissappear and the page looks the same as if you were in the UK. If you really did have four editions then I must say that is a very inefficient way of programming a website.

  • Comment number 26.

    What arrogant, pompous and lazy dribble.

    In work I am routed via the Netherlands so only see the international version. I dont care if I see advertising or not but what I DO care about is that my preferences are no longer being saved. For christs sake you cant even be bothered to remember that I want to see the football section of the sports headlines.

    It's not rocket science:

    - Have a ad section that only shoes on non-UK IPs.
    - Have certain video content served only to UK ips.
    - LEAVE THE REST AS A PERSONAL CHOICE!!!!!!

    There is ABSOLUTELY NO techincal reason why this can not be done. For christs sake we do it at work despite only having about 3 months per yea of man time to spare maintaining the thing.

  • Comment number 27.

    "BBC Parliament
    Live coverage of the lawmakers
    BBC Parliament is a state-funded (from taxes) TV channel."

    Until recently, as a UK taxpayer, I could access this channel anywhere in the World. The BBC has now moved this to their iPlayer and it can now only be viewed at addresses that they (the BBC) decide are in the UK.

    The last time that I was able to access it (with great difficulty) was to watch the Chancellor's Budget presentation.

    Presumably our Government and the BBC are now too ashamed to show this to the world and have censored the channel.

    Unfortunately we now have the Mother of Parliaments. (Who the father was is unknown).

    And as for the BBC It is now Nation shall speak (redacted) unto Nations.

    Who in the world outside of the BBC will ever believe a word that the BBC says again?

    This is only a fraction of the BBC website. Recent changes to the whole BBC website have restricted international access. Why people throughout the world should no longer be able to watch The Sky at Night I fail to understand especially in the international year of astronomy.

    This latest change is the last straw................

    Sadly I bring PMQ to mind when reading the non-answers from you George..........

  • Comment number 28.

    Doesn't the fact that you have had to write 4 blogs on this subject tell you that whoever made this decision has got it badly wrong?

  • Comment number 29.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 30.

    I'm a bit surprised why so much attention is being given to people who don't even live in the UK and therefore don't pay for the BBC.

    It's OUR BBC, surely WE should be the priority and OUR money shouldn't be spent on people who don't pay for it.

  • Comment number 31.

    #30

    "I'm a bit surprised why so much attention is being given to people who don't even live in the UK and therefore don't pay for the BBC."

    But many of the people who are complaining are UK domicile and pay the licence fee (which is irrelevant anyway as the licence fee only relates to the BBC television services, the radio licence was abolished 30 or more years ago!), the fact that they are employed by companies, are customers of ISPs that use that use non UK IP numbers or are temporally based out of the country seems to have escaped your attention...

  • Comment number 32.

    Mr. Herrmann, you say:

    ...and a broader selection of UK and international topics to the Have your Say pages.

    Those of us with memories stretching back more than a few months recall that Have Your Say used to have around fifteen topics open on any given day, taking into account the international and UK versions. For the past year or so you've had three or four topics across both versions. Now that you are restricting access on an either or basis, I fail to see how you are going to be offering a "broader selection." Broader than what?

    Given the recent unexplained loss by Have Your Say of hundreds of thousands of archived readers' comments stretching back years, together with this latest debacle, I would say that the BBC needs to employ an IT team that knows what it's doing.

    Living outside the UK, I used to be able to access programmes like Question Time via Real Player. Now it appears to be restricted to this i-thingy and I can no longer access it. Obviously the argument can be made that I don't pay a licence fee and therefore should not be entitled to view such programmes. I have a counter argument: the BBC intrudes on the lives of people across the planet, endlessly spewing its left wing PC propaganda, often at captive audiences. It should be able to handle a bit of intrusion in turn.

  • Comment number 33.

    I will reword a comment I made on one of the previous blogs:

    Why not offer the editions as before, but warn UK users that when they visit the International Edition that pages it will not be 'optimised' for them, they will see grey boxes or something similar where International Users would see ads.

    Let International users visit the UK edition but warn them that there will be links they can't follow, and video content they can't watch. That way you only use geo-ip to decide whether or not to show ads or block video content.

    In short, there is no technical reason why basing editions on geo-ip makes any sense. You do not need 4 different versions as this post implies, you just need 2! which is what you have now anyway.

    It is so simple. If your technicians can't figure that one out then I suggest you find alternative web developers.

    But I suspect there are other, less technical reasons why you feel the need to block content depending on whether someone is in the UK or not.

  • Comment number 34.

    Dear,Mr.Steeve Herman,
    First up all,I want to say that,i am very active member of BBC networks.Yesterday only, i have written very lengthy comments on Mr.Webb!s note (10)comments on his selected subjects,all my writings were published.Thanks to BBC.
    This,your recent international changes applications are complicated.
    For eg.,i am not able to see,watch all your music videos,wimbledon tennis matches.It simply directs me to go to iplayer or connect with window media player or real player,or gets information,this is for UK viewers only.
    It shows clear discrimination to other widely users.This is not justifiable.
    When i am contributing much to BBC channels,i should get all benefits on the spot itself.
    I am a writer to all leading news channels and to major social websites.
    Now a days, i am concentrating more intelligence,more hours,more writings to all editors blogs,have your say comments,more hours with BBC sports channels.
    My brain is very active and wants to share,debate,create ,enlarge more members to BBC.
    Please answer to all my doubts by scientific means.
    Hope to solve all my problems at the earliest.
    Here, in India,now time is 2.05 am (next day).
    With best wishes.

  • Comment number 35.

    What'sVPN?

  • Comment number 36.

    #35: http://www.google.co.uk/search?q=vpn Broadly speaking, VPN is a method of appearing to be in a place you're not. As well as allowing authorised access to private networks (you appear to be inside the firewall), the technology can allow you to present a UK-based IP address to websites which need one, even if you're connecting from overseas.

    --

    I'm amazed at the number of comments here saying the same thing. Two versions, one with a UK-based hierarchy of news items and one with an international view of the importance of individual stories. One template, with space for ads which are shown based on IP address (you could even use IP-based CSS to suppress the space, for UK users); and use IP to determine availability of video. And then allow users to switch version. The geoIP should be used to determine serving of ads and video, *not* the hierarchy of stories presented.

    Simples.

    Users aren't stupid: they know that with a foreign IP address they're likely to get adverts and no video. But there's no reason that they should not be able to choose the hierarchy of the stories. Or a UK-centred HYS or UK-centred Money pages -- and if they access those from a foreign IP address, they get adverts and no video.

    I don't see the problem: what *is* the technical issue here?

    [I don't know, Steve, whether you're a techie or a writer. There's nothing wrong with being editorial and not technical, but you do have to trust what your technicians are telling you. However it might be worth reminding them that a significant number of commenters here, to whom you are relaying what you're told, *are* technical. In fact, it looks like practically the only people left here are those clamouring for some technicality.]

  • Comment number 37.

    Steve - thanks for your detailed and what looks like a very considered response. It seems to address a number of issues raised in previous people's blog responses.

    You can't please all the people all the time. As I've said before, the people who are responding on this blog are a small minority of BBC website users. They have a choice - use the site or don't. If you don't like the site, then leave. I don't like certain UK newspaper websites, so I don't use them: I don't sit there moaning and tell them how they should run it for my benefit.

    Steve - you're doing a good job dealing with the complaints. Keep it up.

  • Comment number 38.

    @#30

    Actually, the whole reason this started was because the BBC was trying to not spend licence payers' money on international users, but making a right royal mess up of it. Now there are people in the UK who can't see the UK site, people in the UK who want to see the international site, people who do pay for tbe BBC but live abroad and can't see the UK site, licence payers who can't see the UK version while abroad, and many other disgruntled people. And there are plenty of people feeling miffed because they had something taken away from them. The mandate the BBC has is to bring the UK to the world, now they've taken part of it away and we don't like it. All we want is one little radio button back.

    As for myself, I'm a student abroad. I was a licence fee payer in the UK and I will become one again when I return. I relied on the BBC website to give me the news from back home. Now it doesn't do that. If it hadn't been for the direct links to the different versions I wouldn't even be here.

  • Comment number 39.

    #37. At 00:18am on 05 Jul 2009, Jordan D wrote:

    "Steve - thanks for your detailed and what looks like a very considered response."

    Except he hasn't answered the most important question, just what the technical reasons are that prevents having two editions, IP addresses were being used before to direct people to either the bbc.co.uk or bbc.com domains (this is were Steve is getting the four versions from I suspect, two versions per domain) but why can't IP numbers be use just - as others have suggested - to serve adverts or not. What is so difficult, what technically, would prevent that?

    Sorry but Steve's reply goes nowhere near answering the core issues and as many of the issues that Steve has answered do not seem to have been fixed four weeks after the changes were first made it would suggest that the BBC doesn't really have a clue how to solve them, many of the problems are also causing the BBC to be in breach of it's own Royal Charter if not the law...

  • Comment number 40.

    After reading all the feedback you have received, here's a question for you...

    "Is this your best effort"

    If yes, this is your best effort, then you should be fired or demoted because you are not good enough.

    If no, this is not the best you could come up with, then you should be fired or demoted because you don't put enough effort in.

    I really wish you would just go one way or the other, and the BBC can place someone else into your job who understands that in any organisation, the first rule is that your customers needs come first.

  • Comment number 41.

    #40. At 09:05am on 05 Jul 2009, missymooabu wrote:

    "I really wish you would just go one way or the other"

    Please, stop making it personal, sacking Mr Herrmann won't solve the issues being raised. Steve is the editor of the BBC news website, he is not the BBC's internet IT manager, whilst he might be repeating utter waffle he is just the messenger, stop trying to shoot the messenger...

  • Comment number 42.

    I'm sorry mr Herrmann, you still haven't answered anything. Just repeated the same old dribble. The GeoIP could also be used to inject advertising on international IPs, whilst still retaining the intl/UK option.

    After four pages of comments and no answers, it's now time to move on to a different site. Bye...

  • Comment number 43.

    #37, (Jordan D).

    Message for you-
    Yes we are going elsewhere, other sites, other pages, other adclicks, other opinions. (FCO please note).
    We are only trying to correct an error, for the good of all those who craved the choice of 'home page'.

    It might not seem very much to you (I don't know where you are located), but for those of us away from the UK, these pages were our trusted link with the UK, with 'home'. They were excellent. No excuse that 'they are all still available' holds true, because they are not. So, I am being censored.

    Pure and simple. Like that idea?

    I can't se every UK page, that UK readers see.

    I don't, and neither do thousands of others.

    That counts as censorship in my book.

    Now we are carefully guided to pages that are 'for us', as we are subjected to adverts.

    Adverts? So be it. Live in any other country than the UK and the luxury of ad-free broadcasting does not exist- you get used to it. A necessary evil. You learn to block them out either technically, or mentally. Mind you 15 minutes of adverts and programme trails between the main evening news and weather takes a lot of getting used to on my national broadcaster that has adverts and a state grant to make it pay.


    It's the truth we need. From a UK viewpoint. (Steve, please listen to us, it's NOT here anymore, in a form that is useable, convenient and technically possible for those on limited internet access.

    One page, customizable as it was before, is all we want, from a UK viewpoint.

    I do NOT want "International News" I'm there already!!!!

    This is not personal. But please, fix it. You want to broadcast? then do so, don't narrowcast.

  • Comment number 44.

    #33:

    "Why not offer the editions as before, but warn UK users that when they visit the International Edition that pages it will not be 'optimised' for them, they will see grey boxes or something similar where International Users would see ads."

    No grey boxes, the adverts simply don't appear (as before). No optimisation necessary.

    #41:

    I think you are right. Steve Herrmann is being fed information from elsewhere and either doesn't know better or doesn't feel inclined to find out whether the IT people really are just making excuses.

    It has become clear that he is simply "passing on the messages" he has been given (indeed most of the explanations in the above post come from the FAQs compiled by the project team), but it would be nice if he were to at least question whether what he is being told really is true. At the very least he seems to believe that there were - technically - originally four different versions of the site.

  • Comment number 45.

    I really want to see UK pages abroad when I go on holiday or have to go on Month long trips etc... Can't we sign up for a subscription where if you're a non license payer (i.e. not a UK resident) you can pay a monthly fee to get full access to the BBC Pages, but if you have a TV license you get a free account that you can use all around the world.

  • Comment number 46.

    I note that Opera Mini on my G1 phone still gives me the international version as the Opera cache system is outside the UK.

    #fail as they say these days.

  • Comment number 47.

    It's STILL NOT GOOD ENOUGH!

    I want UK orientated business stories, not just UK Your money. I want UK orientated content full stop. This is irritating beyond belief and I'm now setting up custom UK news pages on Factiva and using the home pages of the UK press. I desperately want to use the BBC News page, having been a beacon of quality for so many years but I can't. Please for the love of whatever deity you worship, sort this out properly.

  • Comment number 48.

    Useless. Bye, bye.

  • Comment number 49.

    Steve, you really don't understand what your website viewers want, and, as some have said, you are just relaying the ridiculous answers your so-called web-techies are giving you. People all around the world want to log in to the BBC website to get info from where they used to live, or where their family lives. This is possible on sites like Yahoo which has no particular geographical base. The BBC is Britain: you expect to be able to access your local stuff from the BBC. The BBC has now become so insular it is incredible...

  • Comment number 50.

    #47 - Here's the UK Business Page main screen

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/nol/ukfs_news/hi/business/default.stm

    Again, why people are being denied the choice of seeing things like this is the issue because all of the stories, while on the site, aren't navigable from the international business site.

  • Comment number 51.

    Thanks GeoffK1874 - I'll bookmark that.

  • Comment number 52.

    #17 Thanks, Ben Metcalfe for what looks like a very straightforward answer: I'll try both those bit.ly addresses this week. Having paid an arm and a leg for a BBC licence, I very unreasonably expect to be able to access content for which I've paid.

    Thanks also to people mentioning VPN which has been on my 'to do' list for finding out what/how for ages so I'd better go and Google some answers.

  • Comment number 53.

    I do wonder whether webpage adverts actually work. I suppose someone has done a survey and come up with figures to justify them.

    But I can only speak for myself. I would never click on an advert. I do not know where it would take me, nor would I know what I might 'pick up', and not being able to understand what an advert says ensures I steer well clear of it.

    So, are adverts the money-spinners websites appear to think they are or are they just Emperor's Clothes?

  • Comment number 54.

    Mr Herrmann,

    acleach's #1 is absolutely right in saying "But you still haven't said why you can't use geoIP to decide on video content and advertising AND allow users to reorganise the front page so that they get the hierarchy of stories they want."

    Not only that, but you still serve advertising video and block certain UK only video based on IP geolocation as well.

    Your only problem in making the site what both UK and "foreign" visitors want to see is adding advertising to us "foreigners". That is trivial technically, and you already have the code to do it because you've solved it on the video.

    Frankly you haven't given an explanation at all but merely fiddled at the edges of the issue, especially for those "onshore" with "foreign" IP addresses who would probably be much less concerned if they received some advertising they shouldn't and were blocked from some video they can always get at home. The workarounds you have described merely add to the complexity of maintaining your site - no doubt to the delight of your techies - when a sensible use of technology would actually simplify your maintenance problems.

    You also make incorrect reference to the Isle of Man. Viewers there and in the Channel Islands are not in the UK. You should therefore rename your "UK" editions as "British Isles excluding the Irish Republic" editions.

    Please do not believe that your own techies are infallible in what they tell you. As a techy myself, I'm only too well aware of the many mistakes I have made in more than four decades of computing, but I'm not wrong here.

    Post or reactive moderation for all except CBeebies, please!

  • Comment number 55.

    I give up! A once-great web site has been butchered for no good technical reason. Methinks timesonline.co.uk is going to be the home page of many enforced exiles. So sad and unnecessary.

  • Comment number 56.

    This doesn't actually explain whyignoring video, which rights issues mean can't be overiddena cookie can't be used to override the GeoIP-driven edition selection. Still two editions. Still a choice for users. If they want the UK edition with the knowledge that videos won't play, let them shoot themselves in the foot. There has been no explanation why this would be technically difficult to implement (because it wouldn't be, particularly).

  • Comment number 57.

    Rather sad about this change. Like many other ex-pats, I appreciate the need for advertising and to block certain videos on the site. But I want to know what's going on back home and I'm being frustrated by the site.

    Please reconsider and let us choose which site to view. I'm afraid I've moved elsewhere for my UK news, but I'll be right back when the situation is rectified.

  • Comment number 58.

    Another week goes by and alas nothing much changes.
    As an AoL Uk user yes I now have the UK home page but it is worse than you can imagine with many of the links not working from the front page (or secondary page - Your Money being a good example). Consequently it is a very frustrating experience accessing the site.
    These guys be they Editorial Staff or Techies seem to have dug themselves a very large hole from which there is seemingly no escape.
    The wonder of it is that the Upper Echelons within the organisation have not cottoned on to what is happening and hit someone very hard over the head with the nearest internal BBC telephone directory (which I imagine to be the size of your average Yellow Pages address book).
    I can't imagine what they are thinking of particularly when it is obvious than many of the complainants on this thread clearly know how to construct and deconstruct a site and are bemused at some of the obscurantist nonsense being proferred up by Mr Herrmann as possible causes, excuses, or explanations for this mess.
    It begs the question why the many millions of users and licence fee payers are being subjected to this cack handed site modification on the run.

  • Comment number 59.

    Good to see yet again it has been promised that HYS will have more UK features for those of us in the UK with the international BBC. I also notice that there is no timescale given and this was also promised back in blog 3. I have had a look at HYS today and there is a 'From the UK' section which has one topic shown. At least I can now click on this and having got a UK HYS topic displayed, I can see the top 5 UK topics. Why isn't it possible to have more UK topics on the main HYS page?

  • Comment number 60.

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport2/hi/football/eng_div_1/8124105.stm

    "These matches will also be streamed live on this website (for UK users only) and all the goals from every game in the Football League, Carling Cup and Johnstone's Paint Trophy will be shown on the BBC website in the UK."

    I wonder if the recent seperation of versions is due to this in some way? You can imagine the Football League being quite strict about such things.

  • Comment number 61.

    It's been a few days since I checked back, so must admit I was surprised to find part four in the ongoing series of ineptitude as I thought they'd lost interest. I wonder how long this series will run?

    Although of course I wasn't surprised by the content. Steve, you need to take a long hard look at your team - if you're just passing on messages, don't just believe what you're being told.

    Without revisiting all the same issues ad nauseam (not much point as they seem not to be of interest to the BBC team who are mainly concerned with making their own life easier rather than providing a service), one issue stood out. Under "UK-based users seeing the international version at work", it says "Users on international proxies, which make up less than 1% of overall usage...". Well the UK population is over 60 million - yes they're not all users of this site by a long way, but 1% is still a LOT of people to upset. 0.1% would be a lot of people to upset - people who are UK resident, paying UK license fees, and getting an international and advertising funded service. Ad nauseam indeed, but at least we now know this was advertising driven.

    The NHS may have had a postcode lottery as to what level of healthcare to expect...but the BBC are giving us an IP lottery over whether or not we'll get an adequate service.

  • Comment number 62.

    I've not visited the BBC site for a week now, after being a user that would visit around a half dozen times every day. I've just logged on to read this update post.

    I'm already abroad - why would I log on to the British Broadcasting Corporation for world news? I realise now that I just don't care. I've moved on. I can't be bothered. There are plenty of other news sites out there where I can get a UK perspective on things and not some rubbish repackaged world news site.

    Smell ya later BBC.

  • Comment number 63.

    #60. At 12:04pm on 07 Jul 2009, "sweezely" asked a question about rights management:

    In answer to your question, no, as it will still come down to IP numbers, if you can restrict what site version is served you can restrict what video content is served - or any other content for than matter...

    No, this is a design/technical decision and not a rights issue, as much as Steve is trying to make it out to be such an issue.

  • Comment number 64.

    #63 Boilerplated
    "No, this is a design/technical decision and not a rights issue"

    That's a very charitable way of looking at it. I'd say it was either a control freakery issue, with some future text becoming banned for one set of users or another like the PRC or - more likely, I hope - a gullibility issue on the part of management coupled with a competence issue on the part of the techies.

    Post or reactive moderation for all except CBeebies, please!

  • Comment number 65.

    What bugs me is that key decisions appear to be being made by the technical team and management are just accepting it. Correct me if I am wrong but as an editor I would expect Steve to have some say in what happens. From the statements made and answers given it is clear that the IT people are calling the shots. If there honestly is a technical problem with (re)implementing what people want here, i.e. a choice, then please tell the users why - honestly.
    In the position of a manager / editor / website provider I would seriously start to ask questions if the feedback I was getting from my users seemed to suggest that what I was being told by my IT people was more of an excuse than a justification.

    #63. I have to agree. At least until we are PROVED wrong.

  • Comment number 66.

    I suppose we shall get an update from Steve on Friday, and move on to page 5 - however contributors need to know we are getting on for 2000 posts over the 4 pages, and the vast majority (90%?) is negative...

  • Comment number 67.

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/nol/ukfs_news/hi/talking_point/default.stm

    Link to UK Have Your Say for anyone still having navigation nightmares.

  • Comment number 68.

    Goodbye - I already have found alternatives

  • Comment number 69.

    @#67
    Many thanks for the link.
    Works a treat.

  • Comment number 70.

    Checking in again. It looks like another week has passed with the BBC doing little more than providing reasons they are not listening to this feedback. Ho hum.

    I can handle the adverts and the lack of video, that's down to my employer's choice of routing. Many sites have adverts and I can watch any video when I get home.

    The thing that gets me, the thing that singled out the BBC in the past, is that I could put in my postcode and get local news and local weather reports on the front page. That option has gone, now and nothing has explained why that is. It should be easy to set that up for both the UK and International editions. With that option, even if GeoOIP did wrongly identify people as being Johnny Foreigners, even if people were on holiday, business or living outside the UK, they could retain a link to their 'local' community with local headlines showing on the same place as national / international headlines.

    By taking that away, the BBC has removed its USP at the same time that other news sites are introducing it.

    For now, though, I'm off back to the UK newspapers' pages where I can get all the UK content I want.

  • Comment number 71.

    dbulbeck


    Is so right.

    100% right.

  • Comment number 72.

    I had a meeting yesterday with some computer people who were trying to sell me some software. They were doing a good job, and I was getting carried away. I kept asking them "Can it do this?" and "can it do that?" Things that were a LOT more complicated than having two versions of a web-site.

    You know what they said?

    "Yes sir, we can make it do whatever you want!"

    Do you want their number Steve? I don't mind putting you in touch and I am sure they would be delighted to go to the UK and sort out the bbc's technical problems.

  • Comment number 73.

    What's most amusing is the amount of people who come back to specifically say they won't be coming back again. Ironic, isn't it?

  • Comment number 74.

    #73:

    Not really. These are all people who would really like to come back and would do if things improve.

  • Comment number 75.

    Well, I suppose some people are easily amused. Usually the "if it doesn't affect me, everything is fine" brigade of limited horizons and narrow minds. The fact is the BBC, through its incompetence and lack of planning has withdrawn a service from, and is still banning, huge numbers of BBC UK based licence payers from accessing the full UK site and iPlayer facility - and yes, for those who obsess about such things, they are British citizens living in the UK.
    And still no apology for this blatant and continuing failure of the BBC to fulfil its responsiblity to its customers/licence payers/stakeholders or whatever the current word is.
    Oh and by the way,just because not every single unhappy individual in the world hasn't complained on this blog doesn't mean thay are all content with the changes; or does every British election mean those who don't vote accept the incumbents are doing a good job?

  • Comment number 76.

    Steven you have so been fooled. You listen more to your IT staff than your users. That last happened 20 years ago in the real world.

  • Comment number 77.

    #73
    I learnt a new link - I can open bbc.co.uk and go straight to "Complaints" From there I can access this blog.

    That's all I do now. don't you think that is a shame? My VERY FIRST home page on my first computer was bbc.c.o.uk.

    Now some IT experts have just lost sight of what is the purpose of their existence and it just isn't the same - it's just NOT the bbc.co.uk any more!

    It's like I have had something that belongs to me taken away from me.

    It's like I have lost a part of what makes me British - and proud to be British.

    It's like because I live abroad, I must be interested in what is going on in Karache today and I don't really want to know about my home town.

    It's like I am having choices made for me that I don't want to take.

    It's like the people who are making those choices are techies!

    it's like the only person from the entire bbc who (rarely) answers my concerns is some bloke called Steve who doesn't bother listening to my feelings and just repeats scripted replies.

    I don't pay a license fee now, so maybe I don't have a right to complain. I paid it long enough though and I can assure you that this was not what I paid it for. I do however pay for the BBC indirectly (more than the license fee ever was!) by subscibing to bbc lifestyle (repeats of anne robinson), bbc style (repeats of anne robinson) and bbc world news (karache)

    So this REALLY is my last comment - although I will chack back on a regular basis (more in hope than expectation) for a reversal of the situation.

    This is (not) london, saying goodnight and thank you for watching.

    Bye bye.

  • Comment number 78.

    Message to Jordan D.

    People (like me) return, periodically, hoping to find things back to normal- the way it worked, (exactly as "filmin" wrote).
    It was a perfect site.

    "missymooabu", like "dbulbeck" (above) have both got it exactly right.

    Mr. Moderator, please put in a good word for us, we know you're reading these, even if nobody else is, can't you do something? As far as I can see, no contributor has written anything to cause offence, many have offered constructive comments.

    We cared. (History)

  • Comment number 79.

    #78 We cared.

    Some of us still do. And some of us live in the UK and work in IT and have managed websites which are internationally differentiated due to rights/data-protection issues. And we didn't have to learn rocket science*.

    And if it's explained to us why the BBC News site is so different that it's impossible to have different story hierarchies along with advert-serving and video-serving choices, we'd probably even try to convince others that the BBC techies are right after all.

    But so far, I can't imagine it's anything like as complicated as Steve is being led to believe.

    --

    * Working out which IP address to use and where that was located was fun, though.

  • Comment number 80.

    I AM A REGULAR BBC VIEWER. HOWEVER ON THE BBC WEBSITE THERE ARE NO OPTIONS FOR PUBLIC TO REPORT THEIR OWN NEWS OTHER THAN BLOG.

    PL FORWARD TO ORGANISATIONS OR SOME FORM OF AUTHORITIES OR CHRISTIAN RELIGIOUS ORGANISATIONS.
    [Unsuitable/Broken URL removed by Moderator]

    GENUINELY GRIEVED,

    THANKING YOU IN ANTICIPATION.

  • Comment number 81.

    I do not care if:

    1. There are adverts - I do not read them.
    2. I cannot view restricted video - So what!

    I want to read about UK news, politics and business. I do not want to go through hoops to get the information. I do not want to be pigeon-holed because of a fallible code. Making a personal assumption about me because of my IP address is disparaging.

  • Comment number 82.

    Update: For users outside the UK who want quick access to UK local news, we've now added the postcode box from the UK version of the site onto the UK page of the international version. This means that if you are outside the UK, you can enter a postcode on the UK news page to set your local headlines and weather. You can also add football news from English and Scottish clubs and other sport headlines.

    (A reminder that news from English and Scottish clubs is still available in the My Club section of BBC Sport, and the BBC Weather pages allows you to search for a town in the UK by name or postcode and to set the location as a default forecast).

  • Comment number 83.

    Ah, progress at last.

    Thanks..

    let's see if it works.... there are no local TV or Radio listings.....

    but it's an improvement... it's still 'not as it was'

    but so far, thanks.

  • Comment number 84.

    Steve,
    Just stop the tinkering and change it back to the way it was.... It's time to say "Sorry, we were wrong"....

  • Comment number 85.

    This still doesn't address the issues for those of us who are resident in the UK but travel abroad frequently on business or holiday. I have paid my licence fee, and I want to use the UK services I paid for.

  • Comment number 86.

    Re Steve's comment (no. 82).
    Just so you can see the difference between the 2 UK pages try these links:
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/nol/ukfs_news/hi/default.stm - The old UK site controlled by IP your IP address.
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/default.stm - The 'international' UK site.
    You can clearly see the differnces and I think this amounts to censorship.
    I am not abroad, I work & live in the UK, but my company hosts it's servers in Germany.
    PS - the BBC ae not alone in this, I tried the Sky Player to watch the Ashes on Wednesday and this was blocked because of my IP address, but they are aware of this and are looking into it, though I am not hopeful, but at least I can withdraw my Sky Sports subscription - I cannot reduce my license fee!

  • Comment number 87.

    Don't get me wrong, the 'new' site, as it is, is still not a patch on the old 'homely' page, but it is an improvement.

    It also shows it can be done.

    I want more customization, more news and more local media facilities. Links to the relevant BBC local Radio Station's 'live' output, listing of the local TV channels available. I would like more than three news items....

    I'd prefer the local section to be of a higher importance to the "Features, Views and Analysis" section.

    I would prefer it to be indistinguishable from the old 'UK' page except for the inevitable advertising.

    Hey! Why not let me customize it? Just like 'the old days'?

    To Duncanwh, .. the censorship argument we have been fighting for weeks. the frustration of knowing that there is material 'just there', but that we were NOT ALLOWED to read it!!!

    At this point 'the powers that be' will say that "all material was still available".... but we know better.....

    So TVC is a Grade 2 Listed building?.... Does that include the software?

  • Comment number 88.

    The changes are terrible. As I'm on AOL I get the international site. Cannot set my local weather on the home page and numerous links don't work. At least it has made me look at other sites & realise how poor some of your journalism is.
    As another commentator said, "goodbye BBC". I would add, vote Tory & cut the BBC subsidy.

  • Comment number 89.

    mildew808 there must be a problem at your end as I can set my weather as if I was in the UK.

    There are still underlying problems.

    Please don't bring politics into this discussion as it is irrelevant.

    Live abroad, and then realize that those in the UK don't know how lucky they are. It ain't perfect, but there are many worse. Like ITV, for instance!

  • Comment number 90.

    Thank you for providing this information so that what I read.

  • Comment number 91.


    I feel now that everytime I visit the BBC website I'm fighting the website design to see what I want to see. I posted on the first couple of comments pages about using the website to get a UK perspective on the news, and therefore wanting to access the UK front page rather than an 'international' front page (which is so general it could equally be labelled 'no where' - it certainly doesn't represent that bit of the international world that I'm checking from (Rep of Ireland)).

    I use the address that some people have posted to access that front page: http://news.bbc.co.uk/nol/ukfs_news/hi/default.stm I also note that I would not know that this exists if I was only relying on the website itself and not the contributors to these blogs. However, as I start to navigate around the website then I find myself having to repeatedly return to my favourites menu to re-summon this page rather than the international page that the designers want me to see. It feels like a struggle and I certainly visit the BBC website less because of that; I'm fed up being forcibly presented with the pages that I don't see as being as relevant as other pages that I know exist but you don't want me to see.

    As #89 says, don't bring politics into the discussion. I am personally very happy to see adverts in the website for me whilst I am an 'international' reader, much as I am very happy whilst living in the UK to pay the licence fee (knowing that it's better value by an exponential amount than anything offered by the commercial operators). I even accept not being able to see many of the programmes on iPlayer (although I did struggle to understand why the same international rights issues that cover sport and drama went as far as me being able to see any of the recent poetry season... but by now I'm digressing).

    I just wanted to say that visiting the site is a far less pleasurable experience now.

  • Comment number 92.

    I hope that well known BBC technophile and seasoned traveller Stephen Fry gets on the end of this problem at some point soon ! Because you can bet if he does feathers will get ruffled and fur will fly.

    Unfortunately we mere mortals that complain and post here are simply ignored and maginalised, but someone of Mr Fry's stature and gravitas will I am sure command more attention, and will effect change more speedily than all of our efforts combined.

    And that means a change back to where it was before all this Orwellian goobledegook was presented to us as some form of explanation and justification of the indefensible by Mr Herrmann.

    As a "non twitterer" I would ask any "twitterer's" out there to alert Mr Fry if you can to our plight !

  • Comment number 93.

    Robert #91, correct.

    There is something about having to 'fight the system' to see what you want to see.

    I have one "Tab" with 15 links which take an hour to load, trying to replicate that which I could see on one BBC web-page.


    And finally, your point saying-

    "I just wanted to say that visiting the site is a far less pleasurable experience now"


    Is so true.

    I always thought that is what web-designers were trying to achieve.

    "An enjoyable experience".

    This might be said to be the result of 'cut-backs'.

    "They can't get the staff", so they are trying to rely on the technology to cope with differing IP addresses.

    So we are, at last, showing some sort of progress as regards customization of "home" wherever THAT is. I wish that the site could return to the 'old' arrangement.




    Off at a tangent, for a moment....

    There are web-sites around now that have two levels-
    "Premium" and
    "Free".


    For example "Spotify"- legal downloading of music.


    The "Premium" sites don't have adverts. The "Free" sites DO have adverts.

    Is there no way that the BBC site could have a
    "Premium" level of 'membership' (subscription?) that gave access to iPlayer and all (repeat ALL) web-pages without adverts, and a

    "Free" site that was 'the basic' site with adverts and without access to iPlayer?

    Perhaps this is too complicated. However there is another income stream for "Auntie" should she wish to accept it.


    Back on script.


    Thanks again for the improvements, but can it get closer to the way it was? Make more of the 'local' content, by elevating it within the page (remember we have an inappropriate advert that fills our page at the top), and then add more customizable content, media (Radio TV etc) and features.

    You have accepted the failings you created,
    and you have proved the technology is capable of providing that which we desire. By all means add adverts and "adclicks", we'll return to your site, but please make it the way we desire.


    So, Steve your challenge, should you accept it, is to create a web-page that resembles 100% the original, but with (if you really need to) adverts.

    This message will self-destruct in.......... hours,

    how long have you got?


    Not long.

  • Comment number 94.

    #93 wrote:
    "So, Steve your challenge, should you accept it, is to create a web-page that resembles 100% the original, but with (if you really need to) adverts."

    Or to put it in other words simply restore the site to the way it was before since this is exactly what we used to have.

  • Comment number 95.

    Ladderedge,not sure the problem is at my end.What I really meant was that I cannot set my local weather on the BBC home page,it stays as London.Have to click on weather to get my local forecasts. Could well be me or AOL but,like you, it's the inability to customise the home page that's frustrating me,together with the number of broken links.
    Fair comment about the politics (and itv.com)

  • Comment number 96.

    mildew808, greetings from 'abroad'!

    I am able to see the weather forecast for a specific UK postcode. I have an IP address that is non-UK.

    I do agree with your final points
    "it's the inability to customise the home page that's frustrating me, together with the number of broken links."

    And the fact that there are pages 'there' that I can't see. I can't see what the

    UK voter
    licence payer
    decision maker
    person
    relative

    sees.


    Between you and me, this is very tedious, isn't it? In fact, it's a real PIA!!

  • Comment number 97.

    Don't want this thread to die, so I am just giving it a boost. No changes then???

  • Comment number 98.

    Changes? Not yet. I suppose that sentence betrays a triumph of hope over realism.

    However: for those who want to circumvent the techies, the PDA version of the news works from foreign IP addresses: http://news.bbc.co.uk/nolpda/ukfs_news/hi/default.stm

    Rather a basic presentation, and no video, but -- it appears -- no ads either. This may suit those who want a UK-based hierarchy of news and aren't worried about video (or all the eye-candy of the main site).

    I suppose publishing it here will mean that it won't work for very much longer... :-(

  • Comment number 99.

    In reply to Steve's response post #82, at last!

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/default.stm looks very similar to the way it used to look, with my local news and weather and the UK news all on one page.

    I asked, post #70, for this to happen and, the next day, it did. Am I vain enough to think that I had an impact in making that specific request? Yes, I am! :)

    To the doubting Jordan D, post #73, I kept returning in the hope that that something would happen. I feel that it has now.

  • Comment number 100.

    What I do not understand is why, if the BBC is so strapped for cash, it has two websites - one with adverts and one without.

    If adverts are so essential to the BBCs finances that it will collapse without them, why not have just one universal website the same for everyone and use an ad-blocker for anyone with a UK IP address. I use one and it works fine for me. It is about time this farcical and unnecessary situation was put behind us.

 

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