This book is a comprehensive, yet concise, overview of the business information
resources available on the Internet and how to best access these resources.
particularly the component referred to as the Word Wide Web, is fast becoming a major source
of business information.
Much of the business information previously obtained via libraries and
commercial information services now is available on-line from a variety of Web sites.
Commercial databases, research services and information brokers, newspapers, magazines, trade
journals, government databases, and even sections of entire libraries now can be accessed via the
Web. The number of web sites is growing at a phenomenal rate.
Estimates are that the number
new web sites doubles every 50 days!
By 2001, the number of people using the Web will exceed
More importantly, certain types of information that previously were very difficult, if not
impossible, to collect via traditional means are now readily available on the web.
web sites dedicated to newgroups and chatrooms are rapidly expanding sources of word-of-
mouth information on virtually any topic, business or otherwise.
These sites are essentially
electronic bulletin boards used by individuals to exchange ideas and carry on conversations.
Business researchers can glean a wealth of information about consumer attitudes, product
perceptions, social values, political views, etc. by monitoring these web sites.
This kind of
information is brand new -- made possible only by the existence of the Web.
All types of
information is now available at your fingertips!
Equally important, and also unique to the Web, are business (or corporate) web pages.
Many businesses use the Web for promoting products and services, public relations, providing
corporate information, announcing new products, soliciting customer information, and handling
Although these sites may offer some products for sale, their major
purposes are promotion and public relations.
Most firms still rely on traditional channel
members (wholesale and retail intermediaries) for the majority of their sales.
I do not intend to
imply that the Web is unimportant for conducting financial transactions.
Quite the opposite is
the use of the Web for electronic commerce (“e-commerce”) is growing nearly
Estimates are that e-commerce via the Web will exceed $200 billion annually by
2001, up from $2.6 billion in 1996.