I hate the term “brochureware”

HiResEvery once in a while I am asked to take a look at a site that is being referred to as “brochureware”. I always cringe when that happens. I hate that term. If you aren’t familiar with the word, the origins of it go back to the early days of the Internet and it refers to an early business practice of taking brochure content and literally reposting it onto the web to make a web page without regard to the nuances of Internet behavior (so without using links or providing any interactivity). Over the years though, the term has evolved beyond its original usage to describe (typically with some disdain) a site that stays static and isn’t updated.

The thing is, just because a site is static doesn’t mean it is brocherware. It could be a well designed, and well executed part of an organization’s business plan. It could be a site that was strategically planned and is kept up to date as the organization thrives and grows. It could be an active part of the overall marketing plan. The fact that a site has no blog or outward sign of tending doesn’t mean that it is dormant.

But, my main concern about the term “brochureware” is that almost seems to be a life sentence for a site. “That site is brochureware” feels to me like giving in to the idea that what it is now, is what it will be forever. It is almost like saying, “that kid is mediocre.” Company’s (and websites) evolve and change. Today’s static site is tomorrow’s thriving hub of activity. Let’s not pass judgement so quickly.