By the end of 1999 there will be thousands of ?custom portals? providing tailored services to specialist audiences on the Web, proclaimed Jim Barksdale, Netscape?s chief executive, today.
Web surfers can go to such sites to get specific information that is tailored to their markets and businesses rather than being faced with useless information.
Speaking via satellite from New York to attendees at the Networld+Interop show in Paris, Barksdale said: ?The purpose of businesses is not to make money but to exist to create and keep customers. But how do you find customers in the first place? Portals are a great meeting place and by 1999 there will be thousands of specialist portals addressing unique individuals. You?ll get a real shot of the people who will see your products every day - much better than any ad in newspapers.?
Barksdale believes the Internet will have a ?pinball effect? for businesses on the Web because they will be able to ?find new friends, communities and phases?.
Business on the Internet has three challenges, he believes - utilities, ubiquity and economy. The Web needs to be ubiquitous to be successful, while utilities are needed to make using it easier to use - the browser was the first of these. Finally, economy refers to the cost which is spiralling downwards.
?How much does it cost to go global? It is expensive but on the Internet the cost is only incremental. You get hooked up and you?re there,? Barksdale enthused.
Fear and greed were the two key drivers to businesses going up on the Web, he continued. If people fear the security risks, he advises companies to ?have teams of people build your worse nightmare before outsiders do?.
One aspect of Net usage that is often overlooked is the ?virtual space? within the Web. Barksdale describes how online bookseller Amazon.com (mentioned by two keynote speakers today) ?keeps? an inventory of 2.5 million titles. Which other company can do that? he asked.
?Think what you can do with virtual space. The Internet can hold unlimited amounts of inventory,? he urged.
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