Business and the Internet

Essay by Paul WilsonCollege, UndergraduateA-, January 1997

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The 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...