WHERE TO FIND IT: hotwired.com
CRITIQUE: HotWired sold its home page to an advertiser last year, crossing all sorts of boundaries that print publications have, more or less, held steadfast. We were incensed because HotWired was seen as a final frontier of Internet credibility. By pimping its colors -- the branding feature of HotWired itself -- to Hewlett-Packard Co., the site became yet another lackluster sellout.
Times change. HotWired, now owned by Lycos, has gone from being at the forefront of all-things-Web to innovating only in terms of the ads it sells. So given the changing nature of things, we'll ignore our moral high ground and look at just how darn cool this HP promotion is.
HP has done it again in creating a non-banner advertisement that is dramatic, but not resource-heavy; invasive, but not aggravating; and drills home differences between its product and other color printers.
Here's how it works: Surfers go to HotWired and see a fully functional, but somewhat distorted, version of the content. After a couple of moments, a message comes up saying, "Colors not true to the original? Printing a new page." Then a fresh Web page scrolls down with all the proper colors restored. Way stylish.
Internet users recall e-mailing friends and co-workers all the cool articles they read on HotWired. Now they send notes about the great ads. Once again, HotWired shows new hues of its true colors.