`Domestic Internet Users Will Number 11 Million in 2000'

Article excerpt

Internet users come and go. They are likely to hop from this site to that site in patterns far different from conventional consumers in the brick-and-mortar world.

It is little wonder then, that there are only a few research institutes specializing in compiling Internet statistics.

The potential demand for such data is obvious. Ad agencies and corporate organizations will increasingly need data about the popularity of a specific site for commercial reasons.

``Traditional market research methods do not work on the Internet since it's difficult to filter a representative group,'' said Lee Sang-kyung, president and CEO of Internet Metrix Co., an Internet research firm.

While traditional researchers put the emphasis on research and field works, Internet data analysis requires a subtle combination of marketers and programmers, Lee said.

``Software tools should be constantly upgraded to analyze large amounts of data about Internet users. At the same time, researchers have to fine tune their analysis methodologies to keep up with trends,'' Lee said.

The issue of what are proper research methods on the Internet is more complicated than it seems. In recent months, most portal service providers routinely conduct on-line polls, asking a couple of questions to visitors of their website.

But portal users are usually limited to a single demographic, fatally limiting the objectivity of a sampling. Even so-called community service providers, boasting millions of users, have yet to develop an efficient tool to identify user behavior on the Net.

Internet Metrix now receives raw data from volunteer users of different age groups while conducting traditional surveys to gauge the mainstream trends of Korea's Internet industry. …