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I own a small business doing graphic and web design and over the last decade trends have changed quite dramatically, leading to new types of online business models and other assorted anomolies.
Originally the internet was primarily used for selling products and information gathering, hence the rise of Ebay, Amazon and sales websites that were geared towards "work at home businesses". Viewers were new to the net and had not yet become cynical about hard sell advertising or scams. On the other hand, viewers felt a bit iffy about security concerns to do with banks and using their credit cards online. This led to business conducted and sealed on the net but delivered and paid for outside of the net. Hackers had a field day with unsecured websites and lots of businesses had very amateur looking websites. Service based businesses were not often on the web as people couldn't see the advantages of it. Email became quite popular quickly and became an indispensible business tool.
Today we wonder how we ever got by without email and the internet still follows some of the trends above. Information gathering is more popular regarding our attention-seeking culture (leading to social websites Facebook and MySpace). Products bought and sold on the internet have been created with the internet in mind, such as e-books. People have realised there are significant profits in things like commercially-based auction stores, having their own online shops and selling information (although as fees and costs go up and profit margins go down some of this is now dwindling).
So you want to make money on the web? Here are some trends that are worthwhile pursuing financially on the web at the moment:
SERVICE BASED BUSINESSES
What easier way to find a cheap plumber than to go to the net and Google your suburb and "plumber"? Sometimes you get a Google result that matches, sometimes you don't but increasingly local directories are becoming more popular, attracting more customers to service based businesses.
GOOGLE ADSENSE ETC
I have never tried it as I don't want to sully my website content with other people's advertising, but I see it everywhere I go. Apparently some people make quite an income from it.
"MAKE MONEY ONLINE" BUSINESSES
These often include "life coaches" who hold seminars, sell e-books and sell packages on how to make it online. Unfortunately the product they usually sell is them, not you. There are still enough people out there reading and buying this stuff to make it lucrative.
THE NICHE MARKETS
If you want to sell e-books or products with niche information it's possible to pick up some sales. A guy in Australia who sold imported USA glow-in-the-dark aquarium plants did quite well out of Ebay as no one else was selling it.
Guaranteed to sell 24/7 if you have a brand. If you don't have a well-known quality brand, you need competitive pricing. Ebay is pricing itself out of the market at present due to fees being too high. Shipping fees can be a concern to potential buyers. Cheap shipping will open the floodgates to online buying.
While it's now far harder to buy and hold a popular domain name it can still be done and can be auctioned for a fantastic price.
These are just some of the money-making opportunities online at present - however the more original you are, the more lucrative the market can be.......just look at that guy who swapped a paper clip for a house on one of those swapping websites, the selling of land on Mars or the invention of third party auctions at Amazon. Don't be a copycat - be an original, trademark and copyright it and you will be onto a winner!
For certain reasons I spend a lot of time with younger men, preferrably around age 18 or 19 if possible or they can be as old as 25 if they look younger especially if they look like Brad Pitt, it makes me feel older sometimes, I am only 35 but I look 32, but it seems so odd to me open my mouth and use the turn of phrase "before the internet". These younger men have all grown up in the world where they have been able to be chatted up online by 57 year old obese lorry drivers from Denver instead of having a class project where they get stuck writing real letters with pencils and paper to some jerk in the same year at school somewhere across the country, They have never really needed to go to the public library to do research since every worthwhile fact is at their fingertips in the privacy of their den, or heck now on their $279 mobile phone. I feel sorry for them to never know the enjoyment of cutting pictures out of my dads girly mags and inserting them in the card catalogue in the cards about feminist books, or the simple pleasure of vandalising the books. I recently inherited myself my first automobile from my auntie and was able to obtain auto insurance online with out having to meet an agent face to face and deal with his prejudice over I might smell a bit like cider at 10am or that I have a bit of a tremor they might consider alcohol induced. These boys do not know what is is like to search high and low for months to find those special ewok adventure lunch boxes at boot sales, and all the great people I met at those boot sales. These young men would simply go to E-Bay and pay for it with pay pal. They will never know the consternation of having to walk into an adult bookstore to buy worthy porn, or perhaps to meet some nice people, they do all that online today. It use to take effort to find other special people, us pre-internet people need to be given special props. So Hey Ho here is my shout out to all of us who lived well before 1990.
My point of all that is that the internet has made all of our lives more convenient, more efficient and easier to get all the things we desire. The future of the dot.com industry is in the fact that everything that we need, want or desire, or had to previously obtain with a measure of discomfort will now simply be at our fingertips. Perhaps the industry et al will not fare well, as competition forces out the weak, while innovative funding and irresponsible business practise of some sponsers allow impractical firms to linger, as deep pocketed sponsers can stymie the entire industry by making so much noise. For instance look at any search engine, once the realm of real science with academics working so hard to allow the internet to be a search tool, a pure form of research. Now what has happened, all the independent engines have been bought up and the engines forced on you by the large commercial ISP and free content sites, when you try to search for anything, say for instance "name of the last Mohican" because you wonder what the last mohicans name was because you are the last of your kind around and you want to sound ever so literate and wise and want to say the last mohicans name in a phrase such as "I feel liek Obi wan Kenobi the last Jedi", what do you get, what is the most relevant search engine result? How about "Find name of last Mohican on E-bay" or "Best deal on name of last mohican". It makes me sad.
This whole issue is near and dear to me since I am currently striving to make a living in a post-dot.com-bust web-based business. I am constantly angered by the rackets and power of the large firms that endlessly seek to skew the rules and laws to benefit themselves and reduce fair competition. It is so entirely frustrating to try to earn a living, providing a valuable service to people, services that would not be in demand enough to be viable as a storefront brick and mortar business.
I better explain my business. A few years back I lost a friend of mine to a brutal disease. His family blamed him for being who he was, and blamed him for getting sick, they were more concerned about how their small minded little cow hick corn fed farm bumpkin friends would think of them because of how Trevor died, than they were concerned about him, and they so coarsely ruined his final days by denying Trevors best friend of years the right to be there at the end because he wasn't "family". I was able to see Trevor several times towards the end since they would clear out to go watch American Idol. Then one night, Trevor, who was simply beautiful man, inside and out, who was so compassionate and full of love, who could not hurt a soul-or so I though, confided in me that he wished there was a way that in a few years when everyone was healing and back to normal that he could send a letter to his mother on mother's day telling her just how much he loved her and missed her. We got talking about how nice it would be to record a message that could be digitized and sent to her phone on her birthday.
A few months ago I was sacked for some dumb misunderstanding, the misunderstanding is that you do not apply at a florist shop unless you want the attention that comes with it. The misunderstanding that a man that works there won't lose a boxing match with your father when he comes in there to "put me in line", anyways forget it, I got sacked.
I had to re-evaluate what I wanted to do for a living and technology and equipment had become rather less dear in all that time and I had accumulated enough gear to achieve Trevor's dream of being able to cost effectively and easily send letters or messages from the grave. No you rascals I did not come up with a cyber Ouija Board or figure out how to have chat rooms from hell. But I could easily record messages from people that could then be transmitted later via, e-mail, phone or snail mail. So I started my business where I would take orders from people who would want a message to be delivered at some point in the future.
It was quite successful. Lots of the terminal people in my scene made some touching gracious acts of love but then it started to get weird. Dog owners having their dogs recorded and then asking to randomly deliver calls from their dog. then I got a number of people who were going to enter prison and one guy on death row (I live in the USA) who wanted to send harassing and malicious or menacing messages to judges, lawyers and jurors. I had one guy trick me and use me to circumvent a restraining order against contacting the victim of his crimes. Then some other got wanted to have all these terrible awful women say horrendous things and then call his house in the middle of the night to say them to "him"
I soon found that it was much more lucrative to help people be vindictive and hurtful than to help them send messages of love. I hired a computer student at a local community college to design a program where I could ghoulalize people. Basically I could take their portrait, scan it and then the program would progressively make the pictures sent to people look like increasing states of decay and putrification. For instance you want to send a mean letter to the uncle that molested you after you commit suicide? The first letter contains a picture that makes you look a bit like a vampire, the next one sent a few weeks later shows clear signs of decomposition that lead to, at either a realistic or client chosen interval, complete skellification. I have had to spend a lot of money on prepaid cell phones that I use under phoney names to send out most calls. It has become quite interesting. You would never believe that your daughter dying of cancer who seems so full of love has already bought a contract that will make you get a call in eight months where she profanely blames your smoking for her demise and tells you how much she hates you, always delivered just as the healing begins. I have hired a grief expert that will consult with my clienst and tell them how to most effectively delievr anguish. You would not believe how many 60 year old women who have cancer come in to record messages telling their husbands about all the lovers they never knew about and to praise those other mens ability to please them. You would not believe the things a 70 year old oil heiress had to say to her husband once she is dead, I then saw them out dancing that next week looking like newly wed lovers. It is amazing the depth of people's rage.
So am I a bad person? No, I am simply providing a service to people who have no one else to turn to, and yes I had a pappy who slaved away in the tin mines for years and anything beats an honest days work. This all is just possible through our gigantic leap in technology. I remember crying during that Micheal Keaton movie where he films stuff for his unborn son. I was witha girl at the time who had lost her father young so it was so trying for her. Now a parent can tell his kids what good for nothing losers they are and ridicule them, mock them and tell them how funny it is that he left all his money to a fishing lure museum instead of them.
What I am doing is the future of the web, that anything you perceive a desire for you can simply type it into the browser window and add a dot com. Unless fo course some squatter has already taken the name along with 50 million others and has them up for sale. People should lose rights to the names they don't use. The industry has been ruined by typical speculators and profit takers. Our future satiety can only be ensured by responsible management and guidance of the internet and technology. There needs to be free markets and the ability of innovators and heartless greedy opportunists like myself to deliver services worldwide immediately. Do all you can to help keep the web alive and progressive.
We all remember the stock market flying through the roof during the boom of the internet or .com industries.
I'll begin by explaining for those of you who don't know. In the example of Amazon and such, the idea that a company could reach billions of customers world-wide astounded many. So when Amazon went live and people actually started buying from them online, investors went mad. It was assumed that because the internet could be seen by billions, Amazon would have the biggest possible target audience and so would make more money than anyone had ever dreamed of. So the stock market prices went up, the news reporters were sent scrabbling for a paper and pen and the future looked rosy.
But then something happened to burst the bubble.
Rather than billions of people buying books, Amazon had found limitations. The first was advertising. Now, in time, had they been overly successful, they could have advertised in every country in the world, and thus tapped into the billions of people that they refer to. As it stood, nobody outside of the UK and America had a clue who they were.
Internet search engine advertising wasn't drumming up anywhere near the expected business, and things began to look a bit down. Now, I use Amazon as an example you all know - mainly because they survived this whole saga and are still going today. Indeed, they have emerged rather well considering. But this was something that faced all .com businesses. They went in with a very optimistic outlook, and soon found that the grass wasn't as green on the other side as they had anticipated.
But lack of advertising wasn't the only reason. If it was I am sure Mr Bill Gates would have put his pounds into a venture or two for it. There was also the little matter of consumer confidence. The internet was still a new and to some, scary adventure. With this in mind, and news stories coming out about Microsoft, the biggest company in the world of computing, having someone take 4000 credit card numbers and post them to the general public, consumer confidence in security was beginning to wane.
Rather than risking sending their details through an unknown and unchartered hyper space, people were sticking to more traditional methods of shopping.
But then came further warnings from trading standards about rogue companies posting online and prentending to be legitimate, taking your card details from you, charging it and never being seen again.
We started to hear about how unregulated the internet was. While this was considered a big selling point for most, the .com industries soon realised that this was something that would put many consumers off.
Indeed, the bubble soon burst and the majority of the .com industries started to die off. Going bankrupt was the only way out for some, and some investors lost entire life savings in a very short space of time.
So what happened with Amazon then? Well, they kept a fairly tight ship. Through downsizing and lowering their expectations, they found a level they could operate at. With all the publicity they had received, they had built up a small but loyal customer base. Indeed, they had a target audience for their goods.
You see, the .com industries came along too soon. In todays Britain, almost everyone has internet access at home. Indeed, it has become one of the governments key objectives. But what companies are doing online now, is simply wisening up. As people use the internet, they become more secure about it.
As the banks allow customers to access their accounts online, customers begin to feel safer about shopping online. Advice from the banks about online transactions (such as look for the blue padlock to ensure the site is secure), has also served to help us feel more at ease when using our payment cards online.
This has helped remove the barriers that were previously in our way. But how do companies overcome the problem of rogue sites taking your card details and never delivering? Well, the industry had to respond as a whole. And you're reading it right now. Those who want to check if a site is reputable can now do so on an independent reviews site such as this one. Just type in the company name and see what people have to say about it.
It's an internet version of word of mouth. To see just how effective this is, see how many non-member reads occur on this site. Thats the people checking this information, and thats one reason why Dooyoo can support itself.
So what else helps? Well, the companies we now see operating successful online services are the same ones we see in our high street, or at elast have seen in the past.
Tesco.com, Asda, PC World... they're all at it. Rather than an internet business aimed at world domination, it's simply an effort to generate more business at home, attract the online shopper in the UK who wants added convenience and an extra service, and is willing to pay for the pleasure.
However, none of these companies are making massive profits from their online devisions. While tesco is raking in Billions, it still sees it's .com service as a potential for the future. It's still churning in a small profit just now, as are many others, but it's the preparation, setting the groundwork for a wider network and a bigger target audience in the future. By building a solid foundation, you can ensure that you don't collapse, and that's the lesson thats been learned by the survivors of the .com boom, and bust!
So what's still to come in my opinion? Well, the internet companies really want to see a real boom in consumer spending online. Personally, I think it will increase, but over a very long period of time. As it increases, I think we will see bigger retailers taking all the business, in much the same way as the high street, using their reputation to bully others out of the market.
The steady increases in spending will inevitably lead to bigger investment and better service, but its all a little early yet. With too many people still wary of the internet, the target audience is still too small. Keeping themselves in check, making sure they don't over commit and waiting their time is what the current .com industries need to do.
While I feel the start of World War 3 is the only way to stop online companies altogether, I think the rise in their stature will be a very gradual one. Although my vision of 20 years time? Well, Mcdonalds will still be serving fast food, Tesco will still dominate our out of town shopping experience, and everyone will be buying from the very same companies online... because very few .com only industries can survive the lack of advertising and customer doubt to get themselves off the ground. You see the name PC World, you trust them straight away - at least where credit card fraud is concerned, you see 'bens hack shack', you wonder what country they're actually based in. And who can really be bothered checking with trading standards prior to use when a big company does it for the same price?
So there we go... the online future is exactly the same as the current reality. I wouldn't even be surprised if someone creates a literal computerised high street when you click you mouse to wonder from door to door, looking at the goods on the shelf before purchasing... no need to leave the website - just like we rarely leave the main high street in our towns.
So here's to wishing them well, and hoping not everything goes online, I don't think a pint would last the digital signal between the brewer and my brain!
I have written many reviews for Dooyoo. One of my Dooyoo reviews got 2528 reads from non-members. Some of my reviews have been copied to other sites and read all over the world. Most of my reviews have been rated very useful.
However, Dooyoo has not paid me and does not reply to my e-mails.
My blogs get many more readers than I could get from Dooyoo. My blogs earn me more money more quickly than with Dooyoo.
Should I remove my reviews from Dooyoo?
Should I write about Dooyoo on my blogs?
I could point out that Dooyoo used to be more user-friendly. But now Dooyoo has become outdated, because of blogs.
Having been a user of the Internet for a number of years, I feel comfortable when talking of the future of the .com industry.
Let us first look back to the heady days of the late 90s. The Internet was seen as the next great revolution, companies poured billions upon billions of pounds into this global phenomenon. What the moneymen did not realise at the time was a lot of the fledgling .com companies were all striving for a corner of a market where the rules had yet to be defined.
The directors of these companies often found themselves with lots of cash and no real direction, I must emphasise that this was not the fault of either the directors or the moneymen. Lets break this down a little bit.
These are investors, they have money and want to make it grow for the companies they work for, so they invest in what they hope will make a profit, stock market, works of art, currencies etc.
A lot of them saw the .com boom and risked some of this money. Huge amounts were spent on Advertising, the large offline retail companies started to look towards the WWW as the place to be. The bubble grew ever larger by the day.
Fledgling company directors..
These were enthusiastic computer orientated people, suddenly people began throwing money their way. Looking back to then I doubt these people really had too much idea of what the moneymen wanted them to do, I also doubt if the moneymen knew what they wanted the companies to do other than make a profit.
So was Advertising the key??
At the time Yes, more advertising means more hits on your website. More hits meant err more hits, a lot of people thought that these hits would turn into sales and therefore revenue, err wrong.
As a home user I watched with interest the advent of the surfing bar, for those that do not know, it was a bar that went across the bottom of your screen about 1 inch high, it took up some of your screen so you had to look at it while surfing the net. Two things happened while using these..
1st your surfing habits were recorded and later disembowelled so the companies that ran the surfbars could try to tailor adverts to suit you (they were also able to say to prospective clients exactly how many members they had and what sites they were visiting).
2nd the program made sure you were actively surfing the net, they needed to ensure this and also did their best to make sure you were only using one surfbar at a time.
For every idea that exists, people will do their best to make sure they get round the system. So enter the little program that makes the surfbar think your surfing, when in fact your watching telly/sleeping/going down the pub or whatever you want to be doing. The little program also tells the surfbar that it is the only one. In fact home users were running three or four surfbars at the same time. For those wondering why go to such efforts, well it was the amount you could earn, easily in excess of £4 an hour. At first their were no hourly limits so do the maths yourself, then add to that the referral schemes that meant users were making hundreds of pounds per week for doing nothing. So the bubble grew.
That was not the end of making money on the Internet.
Other companies realised they could make some of this money by getting users to click on links to websites. Beanz were one of the bigger ones, they encouraged their members to hunt through websites for pictures of their beanz, clicking on them rewarded the members with their own points currency, interestingly enough called beanz. Again it did not take people long to realise that this was easy money, hey you could even search for beanz while running a surfbar. Websites sprang up, people would let each other know where the daily beanz could be found. So the bubble started to stretch at its seams.
The spend on advertising resulted in the increased hits but did not result in increased sales, three main reasons
The people who were visiting these sites were chasing the reward they were being offered, they had no interest in the site themselves.
People did not trust the Internet, they did not want to give their address or credit/debit card details to anyone
Quite a few of the websites were poorly designed, hard to navigate through and when a sale was made the goods did not arrive in a reasonable time and on a few occasions did not arrive at all.
So the moneymen seeing no great profit, started to reduce the amount they were putting into the web. The companies still paid their users, but owed them more than they had, the skin on the bubble grew taut.
The users realising what was happening withdrew money/points/beanz whatever they could. .com companies started to fold. Little companies were bought by larger ones, the professional companies survived, the offline retailers started to realise that to make any inroads they would have to re-invent themselves online.
The moneymen stopped investing. The worlds press talked doom and gloom where once they were so upbeat. The bubble had truly burst.
That was then, this is now.
Slowly but surely the Internet has evolved, now people spend freely and feel safe and secure doing so. Companies now embrace it. Money is being invested again, slowly and cautiously this time.
The home user still earns a little and this amount is growing slowly but surely, it is not possible to earn the vast amounts that some once did, but £1,000 plus a year is not an unreasonable amount for a home user who researches and works for it.
Companies spend more on advertising, but they spend with care.
The Internet in the future will be a place where people spend and earn as they wish, companies that were once mainly offline will become more dependant with online activities. Home users will benefit from low overheads from these companies, they will see a rise in loyalty programs once again. Not click a link but by participating, be it surveys, buying or even writing reviews.
The Crutherland Hotel owned by McDonald Crutherland is a 4 star hotel and is set out in the countryside about 1 mile from East Kilbride (not far from Calderglen Country Park) on your way to Strathhaven. I myself have stayed there on a few occasions with my Girlfriend and have found it to be a fantastic experience. You are waited upon hand and foot and treated like you are royalty. They also have a fantastic health club with swimming pool and massages avaible. You can also get beauty treatment. The restraunt is fantastic to say the least, it creates some of the best food I have tasted to this day (although for functions the quality isnt quite as good). They have a lovely bar as well as a beautiful lounge room. The rooms themselves are well furnished and have a magnificent view of the forests and countryside. Last but not least throughout the year they have some lovely theme nights that involve a splendid dinner and if you wish you can have a room included. I would certainly recommend the Valentines night, both yourself and your lovely lady recieve a glass of champagne as you arrive and the lady also recieves a small gift.Truly a good night out. The prices can be steep depending what your looking for, but for £100 a night you can have an amazing experience that you will look back on with a smile and not forget in a hurry. There are a few other good hotels in East Kilbride (The Stuart, The Bruce, The Hilton), I have stayed in a couple of them and they are good but the expeience that I had at the Crutherland Hotel and the way I was treated just make this one stand out above the rest in my personnal opinion. I hope this helps you choose the right place for you and if you go please leave a comment as I would like to know what other people think of it as a hotel. I hope you enjoy it as much as we did. Paul Wilkinson
The future of the .COM industry. Something that is in the balance all the time. The thing is though, ever since it started, it has been in the balance. Ever since the first .com industries started to emerge, people have been saying, it won't last, and so far as it shows, they were wrong. The big thing the Internet has going for it, for a business, is its range of customers. Take a small family business for example. Happily working away at home, building really well built clocks lets say. Quality is excellent. Price is very reasonable. But yet they are barely turning over enough profit to make it worthwhile. Why? Because they are isolated. Being so small means expensive TV advertising, and such forth is out the question, they have to rely on passing trade and local customers to make a living. Now, I know from experience, this is fine for a few years, but eventually your customers dry up. You need to branch out and capture those potential customers who don?t know you exist. Then along comes the Internet. Wow. Suddenly you have a store. A store where not only can you proudly display your products, but can reach customers anywhere in the world. You can sell your clocks in the States, Europe, and even New Zealand. Suddenly you have the world at your feet, or fingers as the case may be. The possibilities are endless. You start taking orders for more clocks, sending them to all over the UK. Then branch out, selling them in the States, all over Europe, before you know it, you are making 10fold in profit within a short period of time, and much less work is needed. Think about it. Before, with your little shop on the high street, every day you had to get up at say 7am, open the shop at 9, work right through to 5pm, and then go home. On top of that you have to build your products, tend to customers. Then the costs, you are probably paying a fair whack in rent for your shop. Maybe employ a few people to help out. Have to keep the shop l
ooking presentable, keep it stocked. You have to pay for even the money you make to be transferred to the bank, either by courier or automatic transfer. Now, you don?t need to get up for work at 9, you don?t need to employ anyone, you don't need to keep it looking presentable. All you need is a website. So, your rent is much cheaper, because you are just paying the rent on your server. The shop will look after itself, update orders, stock lists, take payments, answer customer questions all is done for you. You just have to sit there, build your products, and keep the site up to date, the rest is done for you. Now, I know you are probably saying, but a website is hard to maintain. It can be yes, but it is only as hard as you make it. Companies like Dabs.com, amazon.com etc, probably spend thousand, maybe millions in keeping their site running, having to pay professionals to build it, run it, repair it, then employ people to update it, maybe a small customer service department, but then you think, what would they pay if they had to have a store on the street? To attract the same amount of customers would mean putting stores in every major town in every country, the costs would be outstanding. Internet, they just need one site, and everything can run from there. Ok, so that?s the costs, but how else do they benefit? Well, just think, if say Dabs.com had a store the size of PC World. 80% of the area is taken up in shop floor, that leaves about 20% for storing stock. Then you take that 80% and take off the area used for customers to get around, which probably leaves you about 40% of that area to actually display your products. Now take an Internet site. Say again Dabs had a building the size of PC World. What?s the difference? They have 100% to display their products. Because the building is just used to hold stock, the shop floor is online, can display as many items as they can fit into the warehouse. This means they can stock an aw
ful lot more products. But this is just shops, .com is more than just stores. Yes it is, but at the end of the day they all have one goal in mind, making money, maximising profits, keeps the share holders happy, the managers happy and the stock market happy. As long as people are using the Internet, they are making money, be it selling books, or offering pictures of naked women. That brings me onto another point. The porn industry. It's a frowned on business, how can someone be willing to pay a fair bit of money, just to see pictures of girls and lads having sex? But stop and think. You don?t like it, but someone does. The porn industry is probably one of the most likely .com industries to survive. I bet they are one of the most thriving businesses on the Internet. All you need, is a few good looking models, willing to get their kit off and do a few sexual acts in front of a camera, take some pictures, and post them online. Then watch as people pay you $10, $20, $50 just to come on and see these pictures. Strip clubs probably charge you the same sort of money, what's the difference? Well apart from the obvious safety factors for the models, its again about meeting customer demands. You can cater for almost any customer requirement all at the same time, without needing to worry about one customer not liking the particular item on display at that time. It's slated a lot, and personally I am not a user of porn sites, but I would rather see porn sites, than prostitutes, and actual physical paid for acts, when it can be done online. No more worries about being attacked, or anything, all safe and secure. Only interaction is through pictures, or maybe a web cam. Something else. The .com industry feeds itself. All these big businesses online, have one thing in common, they all use a system, which requires experts. I bet the manager of Amazon couldn?t write a PHP script to save his life. So, they pay people t
o do it for them. Hence people can make money by building the websites, which keep them in business. These people can charge a lot of money for their services, because at the end of the day, its still cheaper and better results than paying for offline stores. Also, you can offer services on the Internet, you couldn't offer offline. For example, friends reunited. Theres a simple idea, offer a service which allows people to place themselves on a server. Other people can then come along, and look for friends they knew from school. Its so simple it?s painful, and you kick yourself for not thinking of it. Heres a site, almost completely run by your customers. It's a small fee, of about £5, and so people are willing to pay it. Suddenly you're making millions in revenue, and just sit back and watch it come in, your only real outgoing is maintenance now and then and server costs. You don't need to spend money on stock, staff etc, the paying customer is your stock. How could you offer a service like that on the high street? You couldn't, its impossible. Is the .com industry in doubt? As long as people use the Internet then no. While there is a window for companies to expand beyond capabilities of offline ways, there is always money to be made. Will security be the downfall? It's a scary thought when you think, when you buy a product using your credit card on the Internet, chances are, that transaction was more secure than when the Armed forces transfer missile launch codes. The level of security online these days matches or exceeds that used by the military. Sure there will always be some spotty kid out there, drinking to much coke, and finding ways to get round security. But then you are more likely to be robbed in the street and have your card taken, than to be hit by fraud on the Internet, at least it doesn't hurt you physically when it happens online? Will every company make it? No, it i
s common to see .com companies appear over night, they make millions in a matter of weeks, and then just as suddenly, become yet another 404 error. As technology expands, customer needs grow. A company can bring out a revolutionary idea, which makes them millions, but suddenly, the consumer has moved on, because another company offers something even better. Do these companies just disappear? No, they are back, but this time offering something else. Its common mistake to think, because .com industries can just vanish without a trace, that the .com industry is in doubt, but the .com industry IS the internet, it is always changing, but never goes. Companies will come and go, but the industry itself remains. Think about a shopping centre as the Internet. If W H Smiths suddenly closes down in there, does the shopping centre go? No, the void gets filled by another company who want to get in on the action. .com is the same. Another thing, just setting up an internet site and charging people money isn?t always going to bring in the millions. You need an idea, something new, something people will pay for. A lot of companies fail straight away. Their idea may have been good, but someone else thought of it too, but went one step further and made it that little bit better. Suddenly you brilliant idea is worthless. This I suppose is the most likely death of the .com. When people run out of ideas. So all this means, the future for the .com industry is very bright, and will be for a long time yet. A business isn't a business these days unless they have a website. It has to adapt to meet needs, but we are a lazy race, why go into town and walk around, when you can get it all from your computer?
So what exactly is happening in the Internet? Well I think it would be correctly called consolidating. Between 98 and 00 there was a huge boom when people realised that the internet was just for the technical aware or geeks! Suddenly ISP's were getting thousands of home users signing up and companies were establishing permanent connects. The ISP's we given this false security that the influx of people was a growth pattern and over a perios of 5-6 years the whole of the UK would have access to the internet. So on the back of this companies established online shops to try and capture the market this booming market. Unfortunately people found connecting to the Internet and the websites frustrating, because of firstly the speed of access and secondly the speed of the servers. Most connection back in 98-99 were 33.6k if your were lucky you could get 56k. However the general infrastructure in the UK for the connectivity was not in place either to cope with the sudden bandwidth demands. So ISP's went out spending thousands and thousands on upgrading there infrastructure to accept the new demand, however the problem then rose that out of peoples habit and the horrors stories regarding fraud on the internet people decided that normal shopping was far safer. The .Com companies everyone thought were a safe bet and that the inital outlay to get up and running was small. To the outside there a booming market with huge potential. However nearly all .Com's only expected to make a profit after approx 5 years! Over time the bubble slowly burst and ISP's realised that they had way over spent and internet access was getting cheaper and cheaper so cutting there possible profits to nothing. Leaving them with crippling debts and very little income. Even the biggest companies got technologically star struck, BT almost bankrupted themselves bidding for 3rd Generation Mobile phone licensing along with an over agre
ssive Broadband rollout. But it was and still is a catch22 situation, people want the faster better connection speeds, companies have to spend the money to provide it.. .. So as we stand the moneey has been spent and it has cover most of the growth so and for then next few years, as the market consolidates itself it will grow again. . .sensibly . .. . and companies who have survived this very rough period will of learnt alot and the Internet will mostly become essential for every household.
Online shopping sucks and that’s that. All these dot com companies who sell product on the net are glorified mail order companies with similar problems.I decided to order all my Christmas shopping on the net this year to see if I could save a couple of quid and effort. Im all in favor of high street shopping as you can touch and feel then pay and you are checking the goods at home within half an hour. Dabs dot com was my first venture where I ordered some software on this specialized site. The price was reasonable and the transaction with my credit card went through nicely. It arrived three days later fairly near to Christmas and I can’t complain there. Now I had saved just under four quid here from the PC world high street price.and the goods were well packed and in tact. But when I checked the postage it was nearly twice as much as it should be bringing it up to the high street price. No saving there!. Amazon was an unmitigated disaster and I warn you to expect ludicrous delays with these guys. I ordered again with a credit card through their integrated shopping basket one click system. Next to each item is the price and how long it will take to get there. I ordered three run of the mill high street titles with a healthy saving on December the 1st. It’s the last day of the year and nothing has arrived. I took the now seemingly foolish option of requesting the order to be sent when all items are ready. This is another scam as they charge extra for items delivered separately to claw back some of their sexy reductions. I have just got a confirmation e-mail saying half of your order has been dispatched on New Years Eve!. That has now got to negotiate a bank holiday and disgruntled PO.Then mailed on to my sister in Scotland who was here last week waiting for it!. The following e-mail below which I read with incredulity was that a standard 2002 video review book available by the hundred as I speak on t
he high street will take a further five weeks!!!!! To get here. That’s an incredible ten weeks from my original order!. If they can deliver in book terms is a bottle of milk at their most profitable time and when they need to be on the ball to encourage back first time customer what chance have they. These are bog standard books two a penny in the high street yet I have to wait between one and two months to get something I cold have got for two pound more in one thousandth of the time. Please tell me why online shopping is supposed to be worth the effort here. They had clearly priced up the video review book wrong at ten pounds cheaper than WH Smiths and are now stone walling to get me to change to a book with a minimal mark up for me and loss to them. The third site I visited was Blockbusters online so I could get the Godfather box set DVD cheaper than the high street. Not one in stock. I checked other categories and again nothing presumed it crashed. Also this year I have searched for flights and accommodation through Last Minute and E-Bookers. You type in the destination and rough times and dates. Then you get quoted prices ranging from 580 to New Zealand to 1400 which look totally made up so you are tempted onto other airlines that have a surreptitious tie in with the websites. E-Bay and the like are more risky as you don’t know what you have bought until you get it. The old pros that know the score also send you stuff that bares no resemblance to what you ordered and with a vulgar postage tacked on top. You also don’t know if you are bidding against a phantom bidder who could default on their offers or in fact be the owner of the goods themselves. Tescos have a busy successful site in order rather than profit up and running at the moment although they have lost three million quid in the venture. But because theres a nominal fee for delivery it costs Tesco to get the goods out. Th
ey to are seeing that its better having those online customers in the shop with the smells and product placement over sipping Chardonnay and pressing repeat order. If there is a future in online shopping it has to be more than the nanny being lazy over the shopping whilst she chats with Raul back in Romania costing another fortune. I know there are only two web companies currently turning a profit on the net with E-Bookers being one. In the time of recession its often advertising budgets that is hit the hardest. If they have been losing money since day one then how are they going to survive the post September 11th with such crappy delivery and customer service……Not for me.
The dotcom industry - did they ever see us coming... The meteoric rise and fall of the dotcom industry, a topic of discussion that can be heard in many a pub, park, and playground across the world. In my opinion, the dotcom industry does not really exist. The internet has changed, and is continuing to change the face of computing as we know it - back towards older technologies. As computing grew as a corporate tool, thin client networks were used to provide computer systems to a wide range of employees. For those of you who don't know, a thin client system is basically a computer on a network designed to use the minimum processor power, thus speeding up the performance of the network. Anyway, without getting to technical, the internet has shifted the use of home computers in that direction - it's now possible to organise your diary online, amongst an ever changing range of new applications. How does this relate to the dotcom industry I hear you ask? Well, when computer networks were based chiefly on thin client systems, staff realised that they had a powerful communications tool available to them (which, lest we forget, is what the US military developed ARPAnet, the father of the internet, for). Anyway, as a side effect of this tool, staff would increasingly use inter-office communications to sell things - cars, televisions, and so on. Given the immense communications power of the internet, sales opportunities were bound to arise; as so came the dotcom. Dotcom companies, right from day one, were an almost identical manifestation of mail-order shops that have been commonly accepted for years; the only difference was the methods by which the target audience was reached. As the internet developed, people assumed that huge amounts of money could be made online (which indeed they can) and so (to cut a long story short), we had a stocks boom. Confidence, as is often the case with stocks and shares, was misplaced - compa
nies that had huge expectations of them failed, and so did their stocks. The recent rise and fall in the global telecommunications market tells the same story; once again, only one difference is in place, in this case, time. So, where does that leave the dotcom? In short, in a very healthy position. Development costs of a dotcom business have been dramatically reduced, whilst quality to the end user has risen massively. Solid competition now exists in almost every area of the online marketplace, and increasing numbers of 'clicks and mortar' firms are beginning to realise profits that were expected five years previously. In the UK alone, the current online spewnding is over £2 billion per year and counting. The dotcom is dead; long live the dotcom!
Internet start-ups received a bad press in just the same way as the media picks on celebrities. There's nothing really wrong with them - they're just trying to do the right thing and make a name for themselves. Once the papers decide they don't want someone or something to succeed, they just do a little homework, pick a small flaw and broadcast it to the world as a giant hole. Perhaps the only mistake that was made was timing. The internet triggered new hope for businesses all over the world. Multiplying the possible customer numbers infinitely. So much effort went into being the first to corner the internet markets in each sector that things got a little rushed and culminated in rather a lot of similar companies all competing for attention at the same time. It also perhaps did not allow quite enough time for the trend of home computing to catch on and gave each company limited time to make or break before admitting defeat. In a strange quirk of fate, a lot of the first companies to make the move into internet have been punished for their haste and have already gone under - leaving room for the slightly slower underdogs to catch their customers. More haste - less speed. I joined an internet company in 2000. It was meticulously planned but ended up shooting itself in the foot by being unbudging on the strict timetable. As the launch date approached, all the stops were pulled out and thousands were spent on advertising, press releases and promotions. What a pity no-one stopped to check that the site was working! Rather than showing the thousands of most likely punters a glowingly inovative site, they logged on in their droves to see a holding page that was not quite finished and did not lead to anything for another full month. This guaranteed that these thousands of clients would never visit the site again. Thousands more was spent begging them to take another look and apologi
sing to as many as possible by phone. Staff left in disgust and others were sacked in a desperate attempt to blame someone. Finally the site was perfect, the client base built up healthily and people started to remember us when we called. The first good feedback arrived and things were looking very promising. The next day the sponsors pulled out as their profit deadline had been reached and they had not seen a return yet on their investment. The office closed that week - and I have not been able to find work since! The moral of this story is: Dot coms are the future. They can work and do work. BUT they most certainly aren't a fast way to make a quick buck. They need nurturing the same way as any business and as my editor used to say: "Failing to prepare is preparing to fail".
So the "dot com" bubble has finally burst, has it? Well, if you read any of the national newspapers or non-specialist PC magazines, it most certainly has and to be honest, I agree with them. The Internet is a wonderful thing. You can buy and sell things from the comfort of your own home, let other people know your opinions (DOOYOO!), make new friends, start clubs, train for a better job and a whole host of other stuff. So WHY has the dot com bubble burst? It's due in no small part, to British "nu-media" fanboys that think every site will make a million. Lets take the infamous boo.com as an example, shall we? They built a site. A pretty site! A site that looked exactly like sites will look in 5 years. But that was the problem. To buy clothes at boo.com, you had to download a 3d representation of a model wearing the item first. If you hit the "Buy" button before it had finished downloading, the browser you were using would crash. Also, they spent millions on advertising. TV, radio, billboards, press magazines, clothes magazines and a hell of a lot more had boo on them. But how did they afford it? Not from income, but from loans. They never made a great deal of money, but continued to throw money after bad. And we see it all the time. DailyRadar.com have just closed. More adverts than content and more promotion than they could afford meant they couldn't pay their staff. It's REALLY SIMPLE. Don't advertise on TV if you can't afford it. Don't take out full page ads in the press if you can't afford it. Don't get billboard posters printed if you can't afford it. Sites need to start small, get a hardcore following going and then you don't need to promote that much. The hardcore buy your goods AND tell their friends if your service is good enough. Don't get me wrong, it's not just about throwing a website together in
frontpage and the "build it and they will come" mentality, but there are cheaper ways to promote. Search engines, link directories, banner ads, ezine ads, forums, text links, affiliate programs and more are all available relatively cheaply. You need to take care of the site if it's going to succeed. The dot com bubble went POP! due to the fact that too many "entrepreneurs" who just got out of college think that an idea and some money make a successful business. You can't expect to sit back and count the cash, there is WORK to be done. The only way we can save the Internet from going completely downhill is to get a good old fashioned work ethic back. If people trust you, they will buy from you. If your service is good, people will buy from you. Information sites, if your content is good, visitors will come back and read more. It's all really simple when you take away the hype...
The internet has become one of the fastest growing places for people to visit. The reduction in prices of computers and modems combined with new 'unlimited access' packages, internet access has never been easier to obtain. It's no longer a place for the privileged but an area for the masses. With this rate of growth, companies that operated online naturally thought their sales would also grow. This led to share prices in the Billions for companies like Amazon, who were trading online. The basic reason for this? Being online they had immediate access to the ENTIRE world. Anyone could order from them, they were indeed to be considered huge. But the city began to get over excited, share prices boomed and people began to make millions from them. Your average programmer could make an average site and get thousands for it. Then it all went wrong, reality hit and prices collapsed. Amazon saw millions wiped from its shares overnight, Yahoo was floundering and the .com industry was in trouble. So why did things go so wrong? Firstly there was the overexagerration in the city. They may well have access to the world, but not everyone in the world actually has internet access. Two thirds of the worlds population is living in 3rd world countries, where internet access is simply not a high priority when food is so short. Secondly there was the lack of faith in internet security. As a percentage, there are still relatively few people willing to give their credit card details online for fear of fraud. This is being rectified by the emergence of the Egg card among others that guarantee you insurance on internet purchases, but this is a very slow process, people simply dont want to risk it. Then there is the problem of internet advertising. Sites like Yahoo were making profits by using adverts on their sites. This worked wonders in the beginning but soon people realised that adverts were waste of time and stopp
ed clicking on them. They soon dropped in terms of profits and thats when Yahoo hit trouble. The internet is now turning into a place to peruse and find out information above everything else. This is what it was designed for in the first place and what it will always be used for. Students especially will find all sorts of information online that they might not normally get from books. Searching for it is also simpler with search engines to check for certain words or phrases. But the industry on the internet, the sales that were so deseperately expected are now desperately lacking. The people of the world are not yet ready to put their trust into internet sites and that is causing many online retailers to go under. People and society is changing but the change is just slower than expected. It is happenning and there is no doubt that it will get there, but there is very little you can do to speed it up. People have tried and failed, but the .com industry was too young when it was thrown into the limelight. It needs time to grow and be nurtured, to become strong and have strong foundations for the future. It will all happen, just not yet.
The future of the dot.com industry lies with the 'bricks and mortar' firms that use dot.com as another outlet for their products, in the same way that they use the telephone and postal service. However lets look at the past to see why the future lies with established firms. In the beginning many 'bricks and mortar' firms ignored the potential of the Internet, believing it to be some 'flash in the pan' concept which geeks and nerds will only use. This led to the dot.com frenzy. 'Virtual' companies sprang up to fill the void that traditional firms were reluctant to fill. Paper millionaires were created in a matter of weeks, even days. Investors poured billions into firms with no real business model to speak off and it seemed people believed that the firm that was making the biggest loss where going to be the biggest firms! The claim was that losses were incurred as firms increasing their customer base. However there were fundamental problems with these 'virtual' firms. Firstly the Internet is close to what economists call a perfectly competitive market. Thousands of firms were competing with each other for custom. Firms had to compete via price, as many didn't have a successful brand name, due to distrust of the net and also to the sheer infancy of the firm. People where simply not loyal to dot.com companies, hence they would simply take the lowest price (which was easy to locate due to web sits such as shopsmart.com). The customer base that firms spent so heavily to gain was as solid as quicksand. Also much of the revenue for dot.com firms came from advertisement. However with the growth of dot.com firms approaching an exponential rate, there become too many mouths to feed. Much of the advertisement revenue came from 'bricks and mortar' firms who saw the Internet as simply another medium of advertisement. As the economic outlook became gloomy advertisement expen
diture was cut, creating even more problems for the dot.com industry. The final blow for the 'virtual' dot.com companies came when the 'bricks and mortar' firms finally got their act together and entered the fray. Traditional firms began to realise that the Internet was not a fad, and was truly another way to do business. The major advantages that the traditional firms have are the things virtual dot.coms don't have. A highly successful brand, in-depth knowledge of business, and also a distribution network in place. People simply trust high street names, and hence people are more likely to purchase from these firms if and when they shop on the net. The only 'virtual' dot.com survivors are those who use the Internet to provide something that the high street cannot or does not offer i.e. ebay. These firms are truly entrepreneurial, there was a gap in a market that they filled and hence will made profit. The failed firms were only 'time' entrepreneurial. They filled a gap in the market, i.e. to be a vendor on the net. However when the traditional firms entered that gap was closed.
No, dooyoo, the title isn't a trick, it's not a ploy to get more miles, it's me trying to show the dooyoosers something. Ok Dooyoosers, well, those of you who were attracted to my op by it's somewhat misleading title, you have just participated in my little demonstration. The few actions you just took demonstrate exactly what the basis of the dot com industry is. The internet is a whole other world, you can even sense that sometimes. A new world built on information, with a strong community spirit, sub-cultures, rituals and even crime. The internet also has an industry, the .com industry. The currency of the .com is not pounds, dollars or goats.. It's not Beenz or ipoint, it's not Kbps or ms. Strangely enough, the currency of the .com isn't even dooyoo miles (shocked gasp). The most important currency to all .com companies is hits. Bang bang bang. If your page is shifting data to a million users a minute then you can't help but make money. How do you make money out of these hits? You sell them for real-world currency. Through advertising. People will pay you to advertise on your site, because you get lots of hits. Their advertisement will then attract them lots of hits, which they can sell on. Amounts of hits grow bigger and bigger and so do the steamy piles of cash. This is the very bedrock on which .com land is constructed. Trouble is, somewhere along the line, the money that you're PAYING (or receiving, maybe) for these hits has to come from somewhere. Hopefully from the "hitters", the mindless browsers trudging through the swamp of advertising. The idea is that these people will eventually, after about an hour of clicking on adverts, buy something, and then the money will enter the .com industry. Truth is, people are starting to realise, that the money that has been forked out for hits is not being compensated for in actual physical sales. What that
means is, the .com industry realised that they were passing hits and money back and forth between each other and it was slowly leaking out rather than making any. The internet as it is today is built purely on information, and some people want you to see *their* information (on how to buy the one-off special offer nose enlarger for only $9.95 plus shipping) and they are willing to fork out large hefty wads of cash for the privelige of you visiting their site. Trouble is, though, they're not making enough money from the hits to pay for them. Let's use an example shall we? Gridget.Com is an online shop that sells sprogs. Sprogs cost £15 each (£4 of which is profit) and they sell them online with free delivery. So, they go to Skarp.com, a chat site where a lot of people discuss sprogs, and advertise. For each hit, Gridget will pay Skarp £0.10, and does so happily. Now, out of every 100 visitors, only 2 will buy a sprog, so that's £8 profit out of (100*10) £10 worth of hits. That just cost them £2, but they don't care, they don't think about that.. they just see 100 hits! yay! That's a very basic and probably unrealistic example. (Couldn't you tell?) I have had the internet for about 3-4 years. I have clicked on hundreds of (clean, decent) banner adverts, and only ever bought a few items of clothes online, which were not following a click-thru. There is no money going into the .com industry from consumers, therefore it cannot and will not survive in it's current state. We can change that however, we can make it better. Throw the policing the internet idea out the window and bring back ideals such as "Freeware", "Open Source" and "File Sharing". Stick a few fancy graphics on the front and people will be flocking back online, they may even pay for the privelige. The only way that real money can be made out of .com is (not through presenting old
products in a new way) through providing new .com services alongside existing products, don't make people pay so much for trivial things, because they won't, and then it'll probably collapse. A lot of people think that the .com industry is a paint-by-numbers way to build your own million dollar empire overnight, and that's why there are so many crap websites out there. It takes true ingenuity these days to set up and run a decent website, and it would be a work of pure genius to make money from it. My suggestion for the .com industry: Step 1: stop calling it the .com industry and start calling it the .com playground. Step 2: charge for nothing but physical products online, pay for services in kind. Step 3: stop trying to make any money out of a website, if you do make some, well done, but that's not the point. Step 4: browsers need to get their acts together, this is supposed to be a worldwide village innit? Not much use if some of us can't see the local pub properly, and others are locked inside our houses because they're too old, plus we're all speaking different languages. Some village. Step 5: hire me. I know some HTML and stuff, and I've got more ideas than 50% of the population of Taiwan put together ever had in their lives, and the Taiwanese are a thoughtful people. well, thassit. Not a very good op I guess, bit here and there, but it should still be useful to yous out there. Night night. <(-_-)> Jack.