Business and the InternetThe past several years have marked a time which is comparable to the coming of television and the radio. The Internet has grown from a simple way to send messages to and from two different computers with different operating systems, known as the beginning of E-Mail, to a way to sell and buy products just like in the tangible world. This article explains that the Internet or Web must be reckoned in dog years, because the pace of change is so fast that one year on the Internet is like seven years in any other medium.
Fifteen million households connected to the “Net” can be a large market for any business willing and ready to scoop it up. By the year 2000, the projection is that North America will have 38 million online households, one third of all households.The reasoning, or thesis, of the article is the question of whether the Web should be used for information purposes, or for a new marketplace in this expanding goldmine of information.The potential for businesses is enormous. Fifteen million people is a very large consumer marketplace.
Consumers are not the only ones “surfing” around for info. Businesses also focus on other companies to sell their products. General Electric sold machine and appliance parts using a new business to business technology called “extranet”. GE used its successful “extranet” to roll in 1996 online sales of one billion dollars. Another very successful type of business on the net is the coming of services backed by research, such as discount stock trading, including e.Schwab and a Web-only company called E*Trade. Travel services have been very promising because the transactions can be supported by extensive computer databases of useful information.
The Web is particularly effective at selling services backed by research. The reasoning behind the financial services taking up the Web is the fact that they are backed up by extensive research.The main worry with the Web and its growth is the concern of false information and crackpot theories masquerading as facts. The Web is flooded with many different kinds of businesses and “personal” Web pages which could mislead the consumer into believing false information. The only way to combat this problem is to trust “brand name” business and services. The only way to tell if you can trust a site or business is to have previous interaction with this company. As the web expands and the number of “companies” grows, brand names that are known will become progressively more important.
Many companies that were on the Web from the beginning, which are only based on the Web, are trusted by many users of the Web because these companies have been there since they ever first logged on.Many analyst believe that the Web will become a true mass medium about the year 2000. A question to ask is whether Web advertising will ever be big enough to support large investments in news, building deep information databases and creating new entertainment. McGrath (1997) explains by quoting, “Nicholas Negroponte, founder of the cutting-edge MIT Media Lab, argues that the Web by its very nature may be too personalized ever to be a mass medium, but he believes that commerce may flourish anyway, with advertising targeted to small market niches or even individual customers.
” (P. 84) The question posed in this article is whether the Web should be used for entertainment or for commercial businesses. It argues that now the Web is creating a “free” kind of attitude that makes the consumer want all information for free. This attitude will linger for a long time because that is what made the Web grow so large. Sooner or later companies will have to cash in on their investment to the Web. It also argues that with more and more businesses putting up Web pages, the more the Web is overrun by commercial use.
The beginning purpose of the Web was to create a place for people to share ideas and information over their computer. Since businesses find a way to squeeze into every part of our life, the concept of business to 15 million people could cause an “overload” of information, drowning out what it was meant for, the sharing of ideas. As the article points out very clearly, ” everything on the Web is ultimately about trust”.