Friday, June 24, 2011

Starry, starry sites

It’s a rare newspaper or women’s magazine that doesn’t include horoscopes in its mix of content. Sceptics will keep on calling astrology a load of old tosh, but most readers probably give their ‘sign’ at least a quick scan.
Astrology is a bit like the romance genre – people love it but will rarely admit to it. So it’s not surprising the internet is teeming with star-sign pundits., a lively American site, has of course long been established and aspiring newcomers must find it almost impossible to find a domain name not already taken, which is why clunky monikers like Astrogrrl, StarIQ and AstroPro are everywhere.
There’s a world of difference, though, between sucking up quick star-sign tips or celebrity snippets and ordering up a full personal chart. Professional astrologers take their art seriously. As one of the earliest online astrology sites it was thus able to score the plum ‘astro’ domain name. Its content comes in considerable depth. Set up in 1996 by Swiss company Astrodienst, and founded by a physicist with training in astrology, it’s set up in seven languages and scores 6 million visitors a month. Browsers can access free short reports on current conditions in their lives by submitting their time, date and place of birth. But pay around $US50 and you can order a range of highly detailed documents. It’s also for professional astrologers seeking tools and software for different types of chart calculation. New Yorker Susan Miller's site is mega-popular. She writes copious, free monthly forecasts pointing out the aspects and alignments that may light up or darken your life, somehow fitting her flood of entertaining words in between penning annual books and calendars and making public appearances. This Australian writes for the Sunday Star Times, and Cosmopolitan, and has one of the prettier sites around. Heaps of freebies here, too with weekly, monthly and annual forecasts on tap – plus podcasts as well. Want more depth and detail and you can pay for extra info, such as a 30-minute MP3 audio report for $A5.99. For fearless predictions, look no further than the site of New Zealand astrologer Don Murray. Murray pulls no punches and writes site updates every few days (click on ‘news’ on his home page). He says there’s “definitely no cup in October” for All Black captain Richie McCaw, and John Key is also up against it later this year battling “Pluto-Venus negativity’.
There’s bad news for Obama too. Murray reckons that in 28 years of study he can’t remember a more demanding six months than the US president has in front of him for the first half of 2012. As for Kate and Wills…they’re okay for a few years, apparently, but then it’s not looking so rosy after all. Damn. Just when we thought there was something to smile about…

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