Only a third of UK Web sites are set up to generate revenue, according to a survey published last week by Fletcher Research. The UK Internet Survey February 1998 looked into the on-line strategies of 250 UK businesses and Web sites, including the 78 FTSE 100 companies that have a Web presence, and at Web sites aimed at the UK market. It found that most UK Web sites are created purely as a communications tool and have no commercial aspect. Of all the sites analysed, 30% were created simply as public-investor relations sites, and represented no more than "glorified annual reports on-line". Another 35% of sites are used as marketing tools, to strengthen the company's branding and act as an on-line advertisement. They do not allow users to buy products on-line, however. Of the 35% that actually make money, more than half employ advertising as a means of generating revenue. These tend to be the media and entertainment sites, which attract a larger audience due to the emphasis on content. Less than half of the money-making sites actually sell products on-line, but only 73% of these use secure methods for sending personal details on-line. The report is also critical of the design and implementation of UK Web sites. Fletcher Research finds, in general, that UK Web sites "are fairly simple in design, contain pre-published material, and make little attempt to develop relationships with users". Only half are updated more than once a week, and the same percentage contain under 100 unique pages. Only 25% know who their users are or track them through the site, and some do not even include Email links. The industries in the UK who least exploit the Web are financial services, who seem "surprisingly underdeveloped in the provision of on-line services", business services and products, utilities and health. The UK Internet Survey February 1998 is currently available from Fletcher Research and costs #295. To order the Report call 0800 0681101 Fletcher Research: 0171 565 8156.
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