Magazine article Marketing

Come on in, the Web's Fine, If a Little Icy at First

Magazine article Marketing

Come on in, the Web's Fine, If a Little Icy at First

Article excerpt

Despite regular holidays in Atlanticlashed Cornwall, in all honesty I can't call myself a surfer. A little gentle body-boarding in the breakers maybe, but standing on a bouncing plank on top of icy waves is not for me. Sadly, I'm no more proficient an internet surfer. I tiptoe into the virtual shallows, paddle around a bit, get cold cyber feet and retreat.

At a group discussion I attended the other evening, one of the respondents was a card-carrying anorak. He did more or less everything online: bought tickets, checked out hotels and holidays, chatted to his pals in the US, followed his nose down interesting bolt-holes, was generally pretty nerdy. He even kicked e-sand in the faces of the seven-stone e-weaklings. One of them (with whom I had a certain sympathy) whimpered: "The internet is just so huge, it's daunting, overwhelming." No surfer, clearly. Barely in water-wings.

It is still just about acceptable to deride the infernal web and all its works, but undeniably the world is being sucked into its virtual heart.

Consider this: in March of this year, almost one in five airline tickets bought in the US was via the internet; in the first quarter of 1998 a business that didn't exist three years ago sold almost $100m ([pounds]61.8m) of books via the internet. Who? Amazon.com.

Over the same period, a US grocery online service (Peapod) made sales of $19m ([pounds]11.7m). Five million people in the US do their banking online. Dell Computers now makes sales of $4m ([pounds]2. …

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