A-Z Web Glossary

A-Z Web Glossary

Web glossary to help with the jargon:


Affiliate Marketing

An agreement between two websites. The affiliate agrees to feature content on their site that aims to drive traffic to another merchant’s site. In return the affiliate site receives a percentage of the sales generated by this traffic.


Asynchronous JavaScript and XML. AJAX is a web development technique for creating interactive web applications. AJAX increases usability and speed by ensuring the web page doesn’t have to reload each time a change is made by the user.


Abbreviation of Application Service Provider, essentially a business that provides computer-based services to customers over a network.


An open source web server. Apache HTTP Server is the most popular web server in use today.


A program designed to send an automated response to incoming emails or text messages.

Affiliate Merchant

The merchant fills the role of the advertiser in an Affiliate Marketing relationship. The merchant implements a tracking system, provides affiliates with the campaign graphics and pays them.


Also known as “publishers”. Affiliates market another merchant’s products on their site and earn revenue for successful referrals to that merchant’s website.

Alexa Rank

A number indicating how popular a website is in comparison to other sites, based on information returned by the Alexa Toolbar and Quirk SearchStatus. The number is the index of a given site in long ordered list of popularity, the most popular site at index 1, the second most at index 2 and so on.

Alt Text

An Alt Tag is used in HTML to attribute a text field to an image on a webpage. Normally with a descriptive function, this tag tells a user what an image is about and displays the text when the image is unable to load.


Text and image advertisements by Google that appear on content websites.


An algorithm is a mathematical, computational or statistical method that takes a number of variables into account to output a single, quantifiable number that is a function of all of the variables. A good example of a commonly used algorithm is the one used by Google to determine which pages should rank more highly on the SERPs. Another example is the algorithm used by BrandsEye to take into account tagged and weighted criteria to calculate a single Reputation Score.

Above The Fold

The content that can be seen on a screen without having to scroll down. In Email Marketing, this refers to the portion of an email that can be viewed in the preview pane.

Animated GIF

A GIF is a bitmap file format often used on the World Wide Web. An animated GIF is a series of individual GIF frames joined together to create an animation. It is perhaps the easiest way to create and view simple animations.

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General classification for all the links on the pages that will take a user to a specific web page. Also known as inbound links. The number of back links influences Page Rank, making relevant links of this type important


An online advertisement in the form of a graphic image that appears on a web page.


Also known as a web log. A blog is a type of website that allows users (bloggers) to post entries on different topics and lets readers comment on these posts. Blog types range from being personal diaries to news commentaries. Blogs are easy to update, encourage repeat visits, create fresh content and natural links. If your company is not involved in the blogosphere – you’re lost.

Bounce Rate

In Google Analytics, this refers to the percentage of people that do not progress beyond the entry page within a certain time limit.


A collection of links to other blogs. It is usually found on the Home Page of most blogs.

Blog Comment

A facility whereby users can remark on or provide feedback on a particular post. Some individuals and companies have abused this system by automatically spamming blog comments with links to their websites, forcing many comment systems to now be moderated or by invitation only.


Saving the web address of a web page or website so that it may be easily found again. Bookmarks can be managed with a browser or with an online tool.

Brand Awareness

A measure of how quickly a brand is recognised or called to mind.


The number of emails that were unable to reach their final destination due to a hard or soft bounce.

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Click-through Rate

Expressed as a percentage, this refers to the total clicks on a link divided by the number of times that link was shown.

Conversion Rate

The percentage of visitors to a website that perform a desired action, such as making a purchase or filling out a form. For example, if 30 visitors out of 100 subscribe to a newsletter, the conversion rate is expressed as 30%.


Cost Per Click. Refers to when an advertiser only pays when their ad is clicked upon, resulting in a visitor to their site. This is typically from a search engine in Pay Per Click search marketing.


Cost Per Mille. In Pay per Click advertising, CPM refers to Cost per 1000 ad impressions. An advertiser pays each time 1000 impressions of their ad are shown.


Cascading Style Sheets. This is a language used to describe how an HTML document should be formatted. Cascading Style Sheets provide the ability to separate the layout and style of a web page from the data or information.


A temporary copy of a collection of data. If accessing the original data is proving to be resource heavy (time-consuming), then users can access the cache bypassing having to reload the original data.

Clicks and Mortar

A business that has both online trading capabilities and physical stores located offline.

Customer Life Cycle

The progressive steps a customer goes through when purchasing, using or considering a product or service.


Completely Automated Turing Test To Tell Computers and Humans Apart. A program that asks a user to complete a simple test to prove they are human and not a computer. The most common test is to retype a distorted image of numbers and text into a box that a computer would be unable to read.


A visitor completing a target action.


A commercial writer. An SEO copywriter is specialist who is skilled at writing for the optimised Web.

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Dead Link

A link to a page that no longer exists. Search engine spiders check these types of links and eventually eliminate them from search engine results.

Domain Name

The name of a server that distinguishes it from other systems on the World Wide Web. Quirk’s domain name is quirk.biz.

Doorway Page/Domain

These are specially assembled pages that feature keywords for particular product searches. These often redirect visitors to a home page.


An enterprise that only conducts business online. These enterprises do not have physical stores – the products/services they offer are only sold online. Compare Clicks and Mortar.


Transferring files from one computer to another. When you are online you are downloading files from a website server to your PC.


In Email Marketing, the database is the list of prospects to whom emails are sent and can contain additional pertinent information.

Dynamic Site

Content such as text, image and form fields on a web page that change according to each user’s needs and information.


Domain Name System. DNS resolves a domain name into an IP address.

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The process of marketing a brand using the Internet. In a world where online is everything you may as well pack it in if you don’t have a kick-ass website and an effective eMarketing strategy… or you could contact Quirk.

Email Marketing

Email marketing is the most effective of all online marketing tactics. It is extremely cost effective, can be highly targeted and customised, is measurable and best of all takes advantage of the consumer’s most prolific touch point with the Internet, their inbox.


An electronic magazine. Also sometimes called an e-mag.


Electronic Mail. Email is essentially mail that is electronically transferred from PC to PC. Email allows you to send messages to anyone, anywhere in the world instantly.

Electronic Payment

Payment and receipt of payment via the Internet

Entry Page

The first web page visited when someone enters a website.

Exit Page

The last web page a user visit before exiting a website.

Email Client

A software application used to compose, send, receive and view e-mails. Some common examples include Outlook, Thunderbird, Apple Mail and Google Gmail.

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Frequently Asked Questions. It’s always useful to have a section like this on your site to give users quick answers to questions they’re likely to have.


Technology used to show video and animation on a website. Although popular, Flash can be bandwidth heavy and unfriendly to search engine spiders because they can’t read it. This may negatively impact on your site rankings on SERPs.


An HTML technique used to combine two or more HTML documents within a single web browser screen. Frames can often cause accessibility and usability issues and their use is largely discouraged by good designers.


Everything you see on your computer screen for that page without needing to scroll downwards. All your critical or most important information should lie above the fold in order to ensure maximum exposure and to entice the user to read more.


Facebook is a social networking site that allows users to join and create profiles, join groups, make friends and post photos. There are also a number of other functionalities that can be added to Facebook in the form of applications.


Favourite Icon. It is a small icon that identifies a bookmarked site. It can also show in a browser’s address bar, making it a worthwhile branding effort.


Abbreviation for File Transfer Protocol, a standard for transporting files online.


Mozilla’s web browser, currently the most popular browser around.

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Google AdSense

This program allows web publishers to display Google ads and earn revenue from the hits that generate traffic. AdSense delivers relevant text ads that are targeted to the Google search results pages generated by your visitors’ search request.

Google Adwords

Google’s PPC program allows advertisers to display their adverts on relevant search results and across Google’s content network via this program.


Graphics Interchange Format. A GIF is an 8-bit-per-pixel bitmap image format using a palette of up to 256 distinct colours. GIFs allow images to be reduced without degrading their quality.

Google Earth

Google Earth is a virtual globe comprised of the super-imposition of satellite imagery, aerial photography and GIS images.

Google Analytics

The free traffic analytics software provided by the search engine giant Google.

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Heading Tags

Heading tags (H1, H2, H3 etc) are standard elements used to define headings and subheadings on a webpage. The number indicates the importance, so H1 tags are viewed by the spiders as being more important that the H3 tags. Using targeting key phrases in your H tags is essential for effective SEO.

Hidden Text

A black hat technique where the keywords are invisible to the naked eye as they are the same colour as the page’s background. Search engines are not fooled by this unethical technique and sites will be penalised for employing it.


HyperText Markup Language. This is the “language” read by web browsers. Certain HTML “tags” are used to structure the information and features within a web page. As an example, HTML emails usually contain graphics and can be interactive.

Home Page

The first page of any website. The home page gives users a glimpse into what your site is about – very much like the index in a book or a magazine.


A link in an electronic document that allows you, once you click on it, to follow the link to the relevant web page. Hyperlinks are often written in underlined, blue text.


Hypertext Transfer Protocol, a protocol used when browsing the World Wide Web.

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A worldwide system of interconnected computer networks. The Internet connects millions of individuals from every corner of the globe. If it wasn’t for the Internet we wouldn’t be here – needless to say we LOVE it!


The number of times a web page or ad is viewed.


Instant Messaging is a technology that allows its users to communicate in real-time, via text chat. Essentially your IM system alerts you when a contact on your list is online and you can then initiate a chat session.


The searchable catalogue of documents and pages created by a search engine. Web spiders index websites with the search engines by scanning or crawling them.

Internet Explorer

IE – Microsoft’s web browser. (Download Firefox – it’s better!)


An iFrame is an HTML document which allows additional HTML elements to be embedded within.


Consolidation of many media toward a unified platform or standard.


The popular smartphone, produced by Apple.

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A programming language which allows multifaceted and graphical customer applications to be written and then accessed from a web browser.

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A word or words used by a searcher on a search engine. In SEO, keywords are the words that a website is optimised to rank for and in PPC, keywords are bid on by advertisers. In Online Reputation Management, a keyword is a term that is used when searching the Internet for mentions.

Keyword Density

This relates to the number of times a keyword/key phrases appear on a webpage. This divided by the total number of words that appear on a page gives you a percentage. The higher the better – but not too high. You don’t want to be penalised for keyword stuffing.

Keyword Phrase

Two or more words that are combined to form a search term/query – often referred to as keywords. It is usually better to optimise for a phrase rather than a single word as more searches will search for a phrase rather a than word as they want more specific and relevant content.

Keyword Rankings

This term refers to where the keywords/phrases targeted by your SEO efforts rank amongst the search engines – if your targeted terms do not appear on the first 3 pages, start worrying.

Keyword Research

The process of researching what searchers are actually searching for. Copy optimisation revolves around the selection of the best keywords/key phrases. There are a multitude of keyword research tools out there, which will help you discover the best possible keywords to use.

Keyword Stuffing

Repeating keywords/phrases over and over ad nauseum in the hopes of improving the page’s ranking. Search engines penalise sites heavily for keyword stuffing.

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Landing Page

The page a user reaches when clicking on a paid or organic search engine listing or a banner advertisement. The pages that have the most success are those that match up as closely as possible with the users search query.

Load Time

The length of time it takes for a page to open completely in the browser window.


A potential customer.

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Meta Tags

Meta tags are there to tell the spiders what exactly the webpages are about. It’s important that your Meta tags are optimised for the targeted key phrases. Meta tags are made up of meta titles, descriptions and keywords, etc.

Meta Description Tag

A short paragraph describing the page content. This summary is usually shown on the SERPs if it contains the term searched for. The spiders use the meta tag description to determine the topic of the page, making the use of targeted key phrases important.

Meta Keyword Tag

A list of the words and phrases that are important and relevant on the web page. The use of targeted key phrases is important here – but remember no keyword stuffing.

Meta-Search Engines

A search tool that will allow a user to conduct a search across two or more search engines and directories. Examples of meta-search engines include Clusty and Dogpile.


When content from two or more sources is combined.


This is the owner of the product that is being marketed or promoted. Also referred to as “Advertiser”.

Meta Data

Information that can be entered about a web page and the elements on it that provide context and relevancy information to search engines. These used to be an all important ranking factor.


Brief text updates that are usually less than 200 characters. These are published via SMS, the Web, IM, email or Mp3 and can either be received by the general online community or a select number of individuals. As of May 2009, the most popular microblogging service is Twitter.

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Navigation is what allows users to move from page to page in your site. It is essential that your navigation is user friendly. If the users can’t easily find their way, they won’t travel deeper into your site.


Aka noob. Fresh blood – someone who is new to the wonderful online world and are often unaware of netiquette. You have to start somewhere, right?


An online discussion group usually focussed around a specific topic. Articles are posted and people have discussions around them.

New Visitor

A unique visitor who visits a website for the first time ever in the period of time being analysed.

NoFollow Link

NoFollow is an attribute of a hyperlink, indicating that the link is not necessarily endorsed by


A NoIndex page is a HTML meta tag (at page level) telling the search engine spiders visiting your site not to display the page in the SERPs.

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Also known as subscribe. Explicitly requesting to receive information from a company via e-mail. All responsible email marketers ensure that only users who have opted in receive their communication. If you haven’t opted in – it’s SPAM!


Also known as unsubscribe – The act of removing oneself from a list or lists so that specified information is no longer received via email.

Organic Search

These are the listings generally found on the left hand side of a SERP and are not influenced by direct financial payments. These listings are results based on factors such as keyword relevancy within a webpage: SEO is used to boost success.

Outbound Links

These links will, once clicked on, take users to another site.

Open Rate

This is also referred to as the read rate. This is the number of emails that are opened in an email marketing campaign as a proportion of the total number of emails sent.

Online Press Release

Press releases distributed over the Internet. It is aimed at a broader segment of reader including social media, consumers and journalists.

Open Source

Unlike proprietary software, open source software makes the source code available so that other developers can build applications for the software, or even improve on it.

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PageRank gives a ranking or score to every webpage on the Internet based on the number and quality of the page’s backlinks, this score is a number out of 10 with 1 being the lowest and 10 being the highest. Anything above 5 means your site is doing well!

Paid Search

Placing ads for products or services on SERPs (listings appear at the top of the page and on the right hand side) and on content sites across the Internet. These ads are typically small snippets of text linked to merchandise pages. See PPC.


Pay per Click. Buying sponsored adverts on search engine results pages and content pages and only paying for those ads on a performance basis. See Paid Search.


Personal Computer.

Pay Per Lead

Similar to Pay Per Click, PPL is an advertising payment model in which payment is made on leads not just clicks.


A unique URL which points to the permanent location of a single blog post and its associated comments and Trackbacks.


Unit of content (so downloads and Flash files can be defined as a page).

Page Views

The number of times a page was successfully requested.

Page Views Per Visit

The number of page views in a reporting period divided by the number of visits in that same period.


Unrequested window that opens on top of the currently viewed window.

Press Release

Also called a news release, this is an electronic or paper document issued to the media with the intention of gaining news coverage. It follows established layout guidelines.

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Really Simple Syndication. RSS allows you to receive/ syndicate information without having to constantly open new pages in your browser.

Reciprocal Link

This is when a site agrees to link to another site providing that the other site links back to it in return.


The URL of the web page that a user was on before reaching yours. The server’s logs capture referral URLs and store them in their log files. Furthermore, if a user used a search engine to find your website, the key phrases they used to find your site will be embedded in the referring URL. Intelligent log analysers can then use this data to track how many visitors originate from each key phrase.


Return on Investment. The ratio of cost to profit. An example of this is advertising spend as a percentage of the revenue that it generates.


The number of unique users who’ve viewed an online advertisement.

Reputation Score

This is the single, quantifiable number, generated by BrandsEye – Quirk’s Online Reputation Management software. It is derived from an algorithm that takes into account all the relevant mentions of a brand and the significance that the user has attached to them. This significance is ascertained through the process of tagging each mention to rank across a number of weighted criteria that include sentiment and credibility. This score provides a benchmark against the brand’s reputation as it fluctuates over time and also allows comparison between a brand and its competitors.


In search, ranking is used to describe the relative position of a web page in the SERPs.


An interpretation of data captured. A ratio can be between counts and ratios or a ratio and a count metric.

Repeat Visitors

A unique visitor with two or more visits within the time period being analysed.

Return Visitor

A unique visitor who is not a new visitor to the site.

Revenue Share

Commission structure where the affiliate earns a percentage of a sale.


When an 3rd party site/blog/individual recommend a site, product or service provider to a second individual or company.

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Search Engine Optimisation. The creation or tweaking of a website to increase the amount of traffic to it from search engines. The aim is to get the page to rank highly on SERPs.

Search Engine

A tool for searching the Internet. Users of search engines enter keywords relevant to their search and the search engine returns both organic and paid listing results from its databases.


Search Engine Marketing. This is the process of getting a website to achieve top rankings for its chosen key phrases on SERPs. See SEO and Organic Search.


Email sent to someone who has not requested to receive it – EVIL!


An automated program that scans or crawls web pages to gather information for search engines. Also called trawlers, crawlers and robots, or bots.

Splash Page

This is a page at the entry to a site which is usually animated and contains some variation of the phrase ‘click here to enter this site’. These pages are considered detrimental to SEO.

Search Engine Algorithm

Search engines rank webpages based on different sets of criteria: while they may attribute different values of importance to the criteria they tend to consider the same factors in general. The program which search engines use to judge these factors and rank webpages in their SERPs is called their ranking algorithm. Algorithms are regularly updated to combat spam and black hat tactics. As the algorithms change and put more or less importance on certain factors SEO’s do the same. Google’s change in algorithm is termed the Google Dance.

Search Term

Search terms are the words entered by the searcher. search engines will then look for these words in their index and return matching results. Also known as Search Query.


Searching is the process of finding information on the Internet through using search engines.

Search Engine Submission

Supplying a URL to the search engines to make them aware that the website and its pages actually exist and/or alerting them to updated content in the hopes of faster and more regular indexing. This is an old-school SEO technique and is no longer necessary.

Shopping Cart

Online shopping software that allows you to add chosen product offerings on a site to your cart. You can add, delete and purchase the merchandise in your cart. Also known as shopping basket.

Social Network

In the online sense, this refers to a type of website model where individual members become part of a broader virtual community.

Social Media Optimisation

SMO. It’s a way to optimise websites so they can be more easily connected with online communities and community websites. It involves generating publicity through social media, online communities and community websites. It can perhaps be thought of as the bastard child of SEO and social networking.


A computer that delivers information and software to other computers linked by a network.

Search Engine Copywriting

The practice of writing content specifically designed for chosen key phrases. This enhances spiderability and results in higher rankings on SERPs.

Social Bookmarking

A Web based service to share Internet bookmarks. Del.icio.us and Digg are examples of social bookmarking services.

Social Media

The media that is published, created and shared by individuals on the Internet, such as blogs, images and video.


On a website, a page that links to every other page in the website and displays these links organised according to the information hierarchal structure.


A set of ideas that outline how a product line or brand will achieve its objectives. This guides decisions on how to create, distribute, promote and price the product or service.

SEO Analyst

The Search Engine Optimisation Analyst knows the search industry inside out and is an expert at search volume research, search psychology and statistical data.


Skype is a Voice over IP (VoIP) telephone service provider.


Stands for Subscriber Identity Module, the chip used in a phone to identify the number/account.


A restricted environment for programming.

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Title Tags

The (preferably optimised) title text you select will appear in the top bar of a user’s browser when they view the web page. Title tags should be a brief and accurate description of the page’s content.


Measuring the effectiveness of a campaign by collecting and evaluating statistics.


This refers to the visitors that visit a website.


In social media, a tag indicates or labels what content is about.


A row of buttons or icons – which can be horizontal or vertical – that allow the user to select certain desktop or software functions.


Determining one’s niche marketing audience of individuals within a group.

Transfer Rates

The speed at which data is transferred across a network.

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Uniform (or Universal) Resource Locator. The unique address of a site or web page on the Internet. For example, http://www.gottaquirk.com or www.quirk.biz/glossary


Usability is a measure of how easy it is for a user to complete a desired task. Sites with excellent usability fare better than those that are difficult to use.

URL Rewriting

Presenting search-friendly URLs without question marks and rewriting them on the server in their standard format suitable for use in querying dynamic content.


A marketing term meaning a Unique Selling Proposition or Point. This is what makes a product or service different. Quirk’s USP is that it is a holistic eMarketing service provider.

Unique Visitors

The number of individual people visiting the website at least once within a specific period of time. Each individual is only counted once.

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Viral Marketing

The spread of a message quickly across the Internet, largely by “word-of mouth”. It mimics a virus because of the speed at which is transferred and the number of people that it reaches. Viral Marketing is an effective form of marketing that yields a good ROI if successful.

Visit or Session

An interaction by an individual with a website consisting of one or more page views within a specified period of time.


An individual visiting a website that is not a search engine spider or a script.

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The World Wide Web is the complete collection of files written in various mark-up languages and freely available on the Internet.

Web Presence

Your web presence is determined on whether you have a webpage or site on the net. If you don’t you are an unknown force and are losing out!

Web Analytics

Site analytics are essential to the success of any website – they provide you with information detailing how visitors are interacting with your site as well as how successful your supporting eMarketing techniques are on your site’s performance. Data for the analysis is mined using specialised software – we use ClickTracks! Site analytics provide you with a comprehensive and insightful analysis of your website as well as an insight into what needs to be done to ensure even greater success.


Information that is passed between people, as opposed to messages from a company to people. See Viral Marketing.

Web Design

The layout and structure of a web page. Web design is not solely about making the page look pretty, it’s also about functionality and usability.

Web Browser

This is what allows you to browse the World Wide Web – examples of browsers include Internet Explorer, Safari and Firefox (Quirk’s number 1 browser).

Website Traffic

See Traffic.

Web Standards

Best practices for building websites. The web standards are issued by the W3C.

Web Server

A remote third-party computer whose job it is to deal with requests coming from web browsers.


Viewing the Internet as a platform for content and functionality. This includes delivering and allowing multiple users access to dynamic web applications and content as well as online collaboration, generation and distribution of data and a richer interactive user-experience through website applications that enhance value and ease-of-use. Web2.0 is often considered to include RIAs (Rich Internet Applications) built in AJAX, Flash, Java applets or ActiveX.


A window or a text box for user interaction. An area on a page hosted by a third party, generally used for a small application or syndicated content.


A wiki is an online collaborative tool that allows numerous users to access and edit web page content freely and creatively. It supports links to websites, images and text and can be used for a host of functions, including project planning and document building.


The wireless technology which is the current standard protocol for networking and connecting to the Internet.

Web Application

Any application which is accessed by users through a browser and is run on a web server.

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eXtensible Markup Language. A standard used for creating structured documents. XML promises more efficient and organised delivery of data over the internet. XHTML is the XML version of HTML.

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One of the most popular search engines on the net. Yahoo! began its life as the bookmark lists of two graduate students, David Filo and Jerry Yang. Their bookmark list just never seemed to stop growing, and today Yahoo! serves billions of page views worldwide.

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In computer networking, a zone file is a database element of the domain name system (DNS) used by BIND and other DNS server software. A zone file typically contains information that defines mappings between domain names and IP addresses and can also contain reverse mappings which can resolve IP addresses into domain names.