Spot The Difference

EDIT: As expected, I didn’t receive any comments. No big deal, I’m still working on getting eyeballs 🙂

So, do look at the pictures below. What is your impression of the web presence (and perhaps the priorities) of the FAS or the AIFF? Here are my reactions to the sites…

First, the registered domains. The All-India Football Federation has the-aiff.com, implying they are either a commercial entity or did not want to register themselves as an organisation. .org.in would have been the better choice here, but I guess that would have been more expensive or less memorable. I know that’s one of the reasons why I preferred to register icedwater.com instead of icedwater.per.sg back in 2003. Strangely, I checked on Phoenix Webtech and a .com domain actually costs more than .org.in.  On the other hand, the Football Association of Singapore has done the right thing here with fas.org.sg which tells us they are not a commercial identity. But that is a technicality, so let’s move on.

Second, the branding. Again, here is one thing FAS does right. It is clear right away whose site we are looking at, the Football Association of Singapore. the-aiff.com is a restatement of the URL, but we don’t know immediately that it is the All-India Football Federation. The little tagline below, “Home of Indian Football”, does give us a clue, however.

Third, the layout. Both sites have a fairly similar layout here above the fold, with a rotating list of feature articles which you can click on to read more. The navigation bar across the top provides easy access to some relevant categories and a search box is provided. However, the simpler-looking AIFF version gets it right by actually only requiring one click to get to an article, while with FAS, two clicks are needed.

Both article features are fairly well centred but are also both next to visible distractors: on the FAS site there is a Nike ad banner to the left which draws the eye because of its animation, and below the AIFF article box there is a slowly-scrolling list of club logos. So it is fairly even there, the compact layout means the pictures used really have to catch the eye compared to the other content on the page. The AIFF

Fourth, the content focus. Two days before a friendly, the FAS top stories are all on the other age-group teams, with U-14 trials and U-21 participation in the Newspaper Cup. That’s fair. Yet the AIFF seems to be more interested in the match than the FAS, with three of the four feature stories related to the event. FAS’s only indication of interest was the line-up released on Oct 8, which has since been buried under “More News” below the fold. I have other comments thanks to @dwu00 about that press release but I won’t say what now.

If one delves further into the site, more of interest might surface… but we’ll stop here for now. I will say that based on the Oct 14 impression, FAS seemed less interested in the friendly than the AIFF; and they are more interested in looking for sponsorship or ad revenue than promoting football.

Just based on that, I would expect India to win this match, because they seem to be taking things more seriously; the usual spiel of “results don’t matter in a friendly” will come in at some point. Let’s see how things go… I want to be proven wrong by our Lions.

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