Case study 32 the web

multimedia. At least 100,000 companies around the world launched websites during 1995-96.

Firms can design and run a website themselves. The big investors include companies with international brands, such as drinks manufacturers, which recognise that the Web is a cost-effective global communication tool. Another website is the Yell International directory site for Yellow Pages. Other companies include Rank Xerox, whose site has already generated sales worth nearly £200,000. Rank Xerox markets colour laser printers and multifunctional faxes - which means it needs to target early adopters. Research showed the firm that these are exactly the sort of people who are likely to be using the Internet. The Glaxo Wellcome site invites you to choose from the following options:

• Science: browse a selection of information relevant to those involved in pharmacology, or find out about scientific research at Glaxo Wellcome.

• Healthcare: take a look at this collection of informative reports relating to disease and disease management issues.

• News: keep yourself up to date with our latest developments.

Perhaps one of the faults with many sites is that they try to be all things to all people. Many website launches promote the fact that a company's information is being presented to 20 or 30 million people worldwide, as if it were some kind of global television broadcast. However, the Web is different to TV and press communication. It is 'narrowcasting' in the sense that the audience is self-selecting: the audience chooses to visit the site and, once in, the user chooses what information they want to look at.

Running a site is time-consuming if it is to be done properly and it is imperative to keep information up to date. Virgin Atlantic fell foul of a US court for failing to update its fare information.

Source: Working on site15

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