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Microsoft has designs on Web sites

Microsoft announced the Site Builder Network, a program to help Web site design.

In an effort to assist Web site developers in creating interactive and visually appealing Web sites, Microsoft today announced a new program called the Site Builder Network at the WorldWide Live Activating the Internet event.

The Site Builder Network will provide information, training, support, and business-development resources to Web site designers, producers, planners, administrators, and developers.

Adobe Systems and Macromedia plan to offer ongoing software discounts to Site Builder Network members. Adobe will discount its Acrobat ActiveX Control, and Macromedia will discount its Shockwave ActiveX Control, according to Microsoft.

The network will be divided in three levels of membership, depending on the needs of Web developers.

The first level is designed to provide Web site builders with information on Microsoft and third-party technologies. It includes a Site Builder hot line, a free Mastering Internet Development CD-ROM, and entry into a weekly sweepstakes in which members can win a quad-Pentium server or a free year of T1 access.

The second level is designed to support Web teams with interactive sites and includes benefits, training discounts, and access to technical support newsgroups available at the first level.

The third level supports designers who are building high-traffic sites and intranets. It includes all the benefits from first two levels, Microsoft technology briefings, and a Microsoft Developer Network Enterprise subscription.

The Site Builder Network will launch this summer. The first two levels are free of charge, and the third will be $2,500.

Microsoft also launched its Activate the Internet Web site contest. Sites will be judged on creativity, technology implementation, end-user impact, and ease of use. The grand prize winner will receive $100,000. A $1,000 Microsoft shopping spree will be given to an additional 1,000 winners. Winners will be announced at Internet World in New York on November 11.