Is the Internet a dying tool?

The Internet Industry has been the focus of Wall Street investors for the past few years for good reason; it is a fledgling industry full of growth potential. However, like anything else that grows too fast, the scales must balance and growth must slow to a tolerable pace. In general, the slowdowns in the Internet-based companies have been a correction from the over zealousness and lack of technical expertise which had contributed to inflated stock values.

In the past 2 years, the forecasts for the Internet have all continued to see growth, just at a slower pace than we had seen from 1994-1999. However, the Internet as a communication tool has continued to expand and develop as a part of daily life in all market segments.

Media Metrix online traffic data show that total unique visitors grew by over 13 percent throughout the first half of 2001, despite the tremendous negative publicity surrounding the Internet. In addition, secured conversions at retail sites (i.e. the portion of online visitors to retail sites who go into secure mode, a proxy for online buying) are increasing steadily as well. In January 2000, less than one-quarter of visitors to retail sites entered secure mode -- a year later, in January 2001, 45 percent of online retail site visitors did so.

According to the Jupiter Media Metrix Report from July 2001, the top three categories in July 2001 were: portals with 85.1 million unique visitors; Internet services (i.e., message boards, chat and news groups, free hosting services, wallpaper and clip-art downloads, coupon and incentive sites and e-mail) with 79.5 million; and entertainment with 74.3 million.

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