Magazine article USA TODAY

Top 10 Excuses for Ignoring the Internet

Magazine article USA TODAY

Top 10 Excuses for Ignoring the Internet

Article excerpt

There are two types of people in the world - those who readily embrace new technologies and those who are intimidated by them. Held back by extreme apprehension, "technophobics" tend to put off implementing new technology as long as possible. Nevertheless, no matter how hard one tries to ignore the Internet, there is no denying that it is becoming one of today's most important communications mediums, revolutionizing the way business is done.

The Internet's potential is enormous. As one economist has stated, "If you are not marketing on-line currently, you will be out of business by the year 2000." If you continue to be a holdout, here is a list of handy excuses you can use to arm ourself against the inevitable onslaught of the Information Superhighway.

I'm going to wait for better technology. It is true that technology is moving at a staggering pace. The day after you buy your hardware and software, it probably will be on the way to being out of date., the price will have gone down; and a faster replacement will come along. How long can you wait, though? Twenty years ago, did you put off buying a car because it didn't have air bags or anti-lock brakes? Since many companies are not realizing its possibilities yet, a unique ground-floor opportunity exists for those who create an early market presence on the Internet. Another benefit of not waiting is that companies can enjoy the leeway of experimenting with different marketing strategies, testing new approaches, and adapting them to attract users.

It's all hype. Very few people actually are using the internet, and those who do are just a bunch of computer nerds. If you have something to sell, would you rather market it in an out-of-the-way strip center or a large, publicized, high-traffic mall? The Internet has more than 5,000,000 users and is adding an estimated 2,000,000 new ones a month. The Internet Society reports that usage is growing faster than any communications medium in history, including fax, personal computers, and copiers. Moreover, it is not just techies on the Internet. Statistics show that the demographics of the average Internet user is young (age 18-44), educated, and professional, with an estimated average income of more than $63,000 annually.

There is too much potential for consumer fraud. Not only does Internet fraud make for interesting news stories, it feeds the public's technophobia. Around the clock, software manufacturers are focusing on creating new security innovations. More than 75% of web users utilize Netscape, which has the capacity to encrypt credit card information before it is transmitted, thus preventing swindlers from purloining such data as it travels over the Internet. When the information reaches its destination, the server then decrypts the data for the vendor. Even with this protection, the same precautions that you take for placing a credit card order over the phone should be used when ordering on the Internet. The reality is that there is more risk in giving your credit card to a waiter at a restaurant than in placing an order on the Internet.

It's too expensive, and I already rely on traditional advertising. For the reach that is afforded by the Internet, it by far is the most cost-effective marketing method ever devised. Moreover, Internet presence is much less expensive than traditional advertising. For instance, the same ad that costs $200 a day in a newspaper would be pennies a day on the Internet. Many businesses see the Internet as a way of supplementing their existing advertising, rather than replacing it. Websites usually are large, full-colored advertisements with graphics that range in length from one to five pages. The amount of information you include would depend on your product. If you are selling relationship tapes, you might jam-pack your site with five pages of information. However, if you are selling recycled copy paper, a one-page website probably would suffice. …

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