ISSUE 515: New economy- Sept 7 1999
The high tech office
Finance and new outdo sex on the Net
Big Internet companies release figures boasting
tens of millions of users. For instance, in June Web portal Yahoo!
claimed 65 million registered users while competitors Excite@Home
claimed 38 million, Lycos 27 million and the Go Network
chimed in with 14 million users, adding up to 144 million users. On the
other hand, research firm International Data estimated that by
the end of 1998, there were only 142 million Net users worldwide,
including 63 million U.S. users.
Both sets of figures may be correct. The portal users
can easily include many millions of users who are registered on more
than one service. Many users, especially younger users, have a
collection of multiple log-on names often with the same service. While
the portals may be able to accurate-
ly number registrations,
it's not clear how many unique sets of eyeballs they can actually
deliver to advertisers.
Similarly, Web page "hit" counters are notoriously
inaccurate. Users that move back and forth between pages may be counted
multiple times, while readers who jump directly to a page inside a site
may miss the hit counter entirely.
Other stats suggest how connected employees are
actually using their work-based Internet access.
An admittedly unscientific survey of 100 companies by Web-filtering
software company Surfwatch Software claims that about one-third
of online time spent at work is recreational. That figure is double
last year's total.
The good news is that visits to sexually explicit
sites have dropped and is no longer the No. 1 work time-waster.
Instead, workers are more likely to visit investment sites and general
Sex, travel and entertainment sites follow in the No.
3 through No. 5 spots. Other popular office surf categories include
chat groups and astrology sites.
It's suggested that an increase in business
appropriate-use policies have helped steer employees away from sexually
explicit sites, though obviously this has had less effect
on other nonbusiness-related Internet use.
One response to both of these trends has been a move
by businesses to better control Internet use. This is represented by a
move by business users away from general purpose portals such as Yahoo!
to what some have called vertical industry portals or vortals.
The Gartner Group suggests that there are
currently more than 300 Internet industry-specific marketplaces. The
group goes on to suggest this number will rise to more than 10,000 in
the next few years.
Vortals offer resources for news and research, and
help unite buyers and sellers within a single industry. Verticalnet
(www.verticalnet.com), for example, hosts 40
communities ranging from the adhesive and sealant industry to
fibreoptics and more. *
While we're looking at numbers, here are three
sets of statistics from the International Computer Security
21: The number of virus infections for every 1,000
computers during the month of February 1997.
32: The number of virus infections for every 1,000
computers during the month of February 1998.
88: The number of virus infections for every 1,000
computers during the month of February 1999. *
Now some Canadian-only stats: In a survey last
Spring of 293 Canadian business leaders conducted by Andersen
Consulting, 84 per cent expected that their companies would become
increasingly reliant on e-commerce, but only 20 per cent could be
classified as e-commerce leaders. A further 41 per cent were identified
as "dabblers," while 39 per cent were so-called sideline ob-
servers. Only 29 per cent of those surveyed identified developing
e-commerce as a top priority. *
Finally, a Web site you may not have known
If you have an unstable Windows system, you've
probably seen the so-called Blue Screen of Death, visible when your
computer crashes, dropping you down to a blue-screen error message and
you have no recourse but to shut off the power.
If you are sick and tired
of the BSOD, go to: www.
Unfortunately, it won't make your system more stable,
but it will enable you to change the fatal blue screen to the colour of
Perhaps this is the way that PCs will compete with Apple's
colourful product lineup? *