Internet Story: 08 July 1999
1.2 Billion Web Pages That's about how many web pages there are on the net at the moment if we extrapolate from the figures produced by a recent NEC study (hopefully it will appear here soon). Their study estimates that in Feb 1999 there were 800 million pages and that this was growing at a rate of 163% per year. The number of sites is growing at 145% per year - obviously old sites are still adding new pages. The study also shows just how ineffective most search engines are and how only 1.5% of sites are in any way porn related (much less than the over-hyped media would have us believe!). Also of interest is that, except on AltaVista, pages from U.S. sites were more likely to be indexed than non-U.S. sites - a US site being defined as a .com/.net/.org/.edu site.
A recent InternetTrak Web survey shows that the UK now has 8.2 million users, 17% of the population compared to 16% in Germany and 13% in France.
Also, another 35.2 million people worldwide will gain access to the Internet this year, according to a study issued by eMarketer and released on Wednesday, bringing the total number of active Internet users to 130.6 million. It also noted that over 75% of sites are in English. Which adds new weight to one commentator's comment: "the internet is creating an American version of the British Empire, with the English language playing the role of the Royal Navy."
Internet Ghetto Will the formation of electronic communities and e-commerce have a negative impact on society? A study carried out by Victoria University, Australia thinks that there is a very real danger of eroding the existing physical social and economic infrastructures. This would, the report says, be of benefit to a minority at the expense of the majority. ""Fully human'' nuances are filtered from electronic communications, and virtual communities can be less stable than their real world counterparts", it warns. "Virtual social forms may lead towards segmentation and segregation of interests when we can establish, break and remake ties more easily than we could do in relations governed by proximity.''
Net revenue for local news media Here's an idea that should add value to local community sites like Pendle.Net and enable news media organizations to profit too. It's called syndication - nothing new to the news media, but it's only just beginning to catch on with web sites. There seems to be a great deal of paranoia in local news media organizations that sites like Pendle.Net will take away their reason for being and their business. As I pointed out in my last Internet article, there is no need for this if these organizations wake up and think out of their box. By openly encouraging sites to syndicate their material they will not only be driving more traffic to their own sites but also opening up advertising possibilities (and hence revenue). The Press Association has seen this possibility on a regional scale and has syndication features freely available. See this ZDNet article for more info.
Net Machine for £200 Dixons have just announced that they will soon start selling a machine that is dedicated to accessing the Net. Once again they could dominate a new market in the UK if they move quickly. It is unlikely that the new machine will be based on MS software unless MS has a cosmic change in its pricing structures. The machine will no doubt be sold with Freeserve preinstalled. I doubt it will be long before they start giving the machine away with a year's subscription to Freeserve Plus (or whatever they may call a new service).
Site of the Day - cakerecipe.com Here's a site to bookmark on your Internet connected fridge and microwave - www.cakerecipe.com. Everything that you ever wanted to know about cakes and how to make them is here in a simple to use format. You can exchange recipes, find out about types of cakes for various events, look at the cake glossary of terms and check those all important conversion tables - never worry about how many tablespoons are in a cup again! Soon there will also be associated sites for vegetarian food and seafood.
Andrew Stringer, © Pendle.Net Ltd, 1999
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