INTERNET SHAKEOUT NEARLY OVER
Almost three years after the peak of the dot-com frenzy, 4,854 Internet companies either have shut down or been acquired in a massive consolidation. According to a report released by Webmergers.com, of San Francisco, the investment frenzy in Internet-related companies reached a peak in the first quarter of 2000. In that same period, at least 982 Internet companies have shut down or declared bankruptcy. "We continue to believe that the Internet sector is in the last stages of a boom-bust cycle that has been exaggerated relative to other normal technology cycles," said Tim Miller, president of Webmergers.com. Miller added: "We are also certain that the shakeout is nearly over and that it has cleared the decks for a second wave of rapid, but sane growth that will surprise many observers who have all but dismissed the Internet as a valuable tool."
Online advertising works and can make a difference in reaching new audiences, the European Interactive Advertising Association reports. The findings, delivered at the FT New Media and Broadcasting conference in London, come at a time when online ads have slumped dramatically, the British Broadcasting Corp. reports. Anecdotal evidence suggests most surfers ignore banner ads and find pop-up ads annoying and distracting. But the survey also finds online advertising extends the reach of an ad by about 10 percent and increases brand awareness by around 6 percent. "It shows that online advertisement do work," said Bob Ivins, director of the EIAA. Ivins said online ad campaigns can play a major role in getting brand messages across to an audience.
The Orange County Register has become the first newspaper in California to launch a Web-based, electronic edition called E-Register. Utilizing a digital publishing technology powered by Olive Software Inc., Register executives said the electronic edition of the newspaper displays the entire content and layout of the paper on the Web. It includes all headlines, articles, photographs and advertisements exactly as they appear in print. "Consumers now have two choices on how they will receive the Register, delivery to their doorstep and delivery to their desktop," said Ginger Neal, vice president at Freedom Orange County Information, publisher of the Register. Neal added the subscription-based E-Register is particularly appealing to military personnel, frequent business travelers, college students and part-time or former residents who want to stay informed of local news, even if they are not in Orange County.
E-MAIL FROM THE FRONT
Concerned that sensitive information might leak out, some units of the U.S. military are starting to clamp down on e-mail from the front. Pentagon officials understand the instantaneous interaction of the Internet provides a boost to morale for those in the field and relatives back home, The New York Times reports, and much of the electronic communication is unmonitored by the military. Military personnel have been instructed not to send sensitive information, but specific rules are largely left to division and unit commanders on the theory they are best able to judge what constitutes a threat to security. Some argue there should be a clearer Pentagon policy on how to deal with a communications system that goes far beyond what was available in previous conflicts. What worries computer and military experts is the possibility enemy forces might obtain a soldier's message home that ends up being forwarded to someone sympathetic to Iraq, or outsiders might simply view a picture published on a publicly accessible Web site.
ONLINE HEALTH MISSES MARK
A recent survey by CIGNA HealthCare revealed 75 percent of respondents said they want to use the Internet to find health-care information. However, the survey "The 'Net Effect: Online Health-Care Tools Still Missing the Mark for Consumers," found only 28 percent currently use the Internet before a visit to the doctor. Respondents said what they find online still falls short -- too much data to sort through, they are unsure about what they do find, or they want to discuss it with someone in-person or over the phone. "People are clearly looking for more accurate, relevant information to help them make better health-care decisions," said Patrick Welch, president of CIGNA HealthCare. Many also want to compare the quality ratings of hospitals as well as effectiveness, costs and alternatives for prescription drugs.
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