part of the Internet, but it hasn't become a big money-spinner yet
by Alan Zisman (c) 1996 First published
in Business in Vancouver
, Issue #364 October 15, 1996 High Tech Office
fortunes to be made through the Internet keep on coming. At Toronto's Comdex
Canada '96 a while ago, Jason Morsink
of IBM Canada suggested that by the beginning of the next
about 10 per cent of all retail, banking, and other commercial
could be taking place over the Net--about $200 billion annually across
North America. While Rob Palmer, of Toronto's Bayshore Trust,
agrees that Morsink's 10-per-cent figure is achievable, Tom Strong,
a senior vice-president for technology with the Canadian Imperial
Bank of Commerce, points out that "a lot of people will get poorer
investing in this, and a small number will get very rich."
for 1995 suggest
that somewhere between $250 and $500 million was spent in Internet
transactions, a figure Forrester Research suggests will grow
to $9 billion by the end of the century--continual growth, but far
from Morsink's $200 billion.
continued free content on the World Wide Web will be paid for by ad
sales, and you've probably noticed ads on some of the more popular
pages. At first, these were simple little rectangles, mentioning the
brand name of a car or a computer, linked to the manufacturer's own
Web page for more information, but easy to skip over. Now, they're
more and more in your face--larger, blinking or featuring
Some pages feature a column of text alongside a continuing column
there's the oddly-named
cookies: many ads will "give you a cookie" behind the scenes, meaning
that they're writing information to your hard drive--information that
they will retrieve the next time you access that Web page. This allows
them to show you a different ad each time, but the whole "cookie"
concept, with Web pages writing and reading from personal hard drives,
makes many users uneasy. (The latest versions of browsers from Netscape
and Microsoft can be set to warn you when you're about to get a cookie,
allowing you to refuse the treat.)
ads big money-makers? WebTrack Information Services has
published a list
of the top 100 money-making sites, available at www.pccomputing.com.
The list suggests that it's not quite mass media yet, although Webtrack
is predicting about $3.5 billion in ad revenues by 2000 (compared
to about $200 billion spent on print ads last year).
all the money
spent on ads was received by only five popular sites--mostly commonly
accessed Web-search pages. And even though the number-three spot, Yahoo,
took in nearly $3 million in ad revenue, it
still managed to lose over $1 million last year.
in ads drops dramatically as you move down the list. Even the
and widely accessed Playboy site, at number 22, got only about
$275,000 in ad revenue last year.
may become a viable source of income, but aren't there yet.