One-third of all adults could get wired through America Online, thanks to its proposed acquisition of Netscape.
The big question, however, is whether AOL, which targets the more inexperienced consumers, can also pull in Netscape?s Net savvy user base, according to a study by market research company Cyber Dialogue.
It is important that AOL sticks to its original plan and keeps Netscape as a separate entity from its consumer service, warns the study.
"Our surveys show that Netscape's typical customer is far more businesslike and oriented toward efficient use of the Internet," said Thomas Miller, Cyber Dialogue vice president, in a statement. "They're not likely to tolerate a barrage of unsolicited online merchandising offers."
Part of AOL?s reason for acquiring Netscape is to get its Netcenter Web portal, which the online giant believes will fit in well with its portfolio including Compuserve, ICQ and AOL.com.
It also enables AOL to push its multibranded portal strategy, whilst reaching 70 per cent of Net users.
?The extensive reach that the deal gives AOL is going to be very compelling for advertisers and merchandisers who are looking for one-shot deals that reach a lot of people," Miller said.
The study, however, concludes that marketing to Netscape users will be very much a case of walking on shells. Although Netscape users are avidly shopping online, they are far more likely to choose an Internet service provider over an online service provider to surf the Internet when it comes to the crunch, said the report.
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