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Marketing in the internet – as seen from Italy

No. 55 – January 28, 2001



loghino.gif (1071 byte) 1. Editorial: The technology conflict

People “take sides”, often for no reason except that they enjoy doing so. This or that football team, style of clothing or musical taste. Even in politics several conflicts are based more on personalities or allegiance than on issues.

There is a lot of debate about technology. The subject is serious and relevant, because scientific and technological development has always had a great influence on our lives and our civilization, and at this time it’s even greater. But I don’t think it makes any sense to be “for” or “against” technology as a whole.Even the most aggressive enemies of technology aren’t really willing to give up electricity, motorcars, telephones – or medical care.

“Taking sides” gets in the way of understanding. The issue isn’t if, but how the development of technology must continue. Is there a conflict between a “new” and “old” economy? The more I think about it, the less I understand. It may be better to get rid of those definitions and think about how economies (and societies) are evolving.

Does it make sense to be “pro” or “against” the internet? In spite of the hype many people don’t like it. Simply because, personally, they have found no real use for it; or, more importantly, because established powers (in politics, in economy, and in culture) are uncomfortable with an environment that they can’t control as effectively as mainstream media.

Can the issue of information technology be reduced to proprietary versus opensource, Microsoft versus Linux or Windows versus Macintosh? It’s not as simple as that.

We can all have our likes or dislikes – and change them (for instance ten years ago I liked mobile phones, now I’m beginning to hate them). But “taking sides” doesn’t improve our understanding. And “the middle of the way” between extremes is no solution, either; compromise can be even worse than prejudice.

We must learn to live with turbulence, use the benefits of technology and solve (or avoid) its problems. That can be quite difficult – but it isn’t made any easier by “taking sides”.

That said... there are a few principles on which, I think, we should be as one-sided, obstinate and militant as we can. One is that technology must work for people, not vice versa. Another is than nobody and nothing must get in the way of our freedom to think, say, write and read whatever we wish – in all environments and especially on the internet.

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loghino.gif (1071 byte) 2. Ten internet “nations”

Since November 2000 updates on internet statistics are no longer in this newsletter but in the dati/dati1.htm data section of this site. They are in Italian – but charts and graphs are easy to understand in any language. In netmar50.htm October last year I had reported some changes on worldwide data. Now there are more in the European statistics; confirming the fact that Italy is no longer the “underdog” in internet activity that it was a year ago.

More changes in other counties are likely to be reflected in the next worldwide hostcount report, that will be published some time in March. In the meantime an analysis of existing data reveals an interesting fact. Two years ago there were five countries with over a million internet hosts. Now there are nine; but really eleven if we consider two “nations” beyond political borders: the Spanish-speaking community (with considerable growth in Latin America) and the Chinese (with strong internet development everywhere except mainland China). Here is the picture (not including the United States to keep the size of the chart readable).

Ten “nations” with over a million internet hosts
(US not included)
Numbers in thousands

10 paesi

The red part of bars is growth in two years (from 1998 to 2000)

(An analysis of the two “large ethnic communities” is online in Italian and Spanish
with charts and graphs that are clear regardless of language)


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loghino.gif (1071 byte) 3. On “portals”

Here is another cartoon – from the same source as the two in the last issue.
It was published by Illiad on January 14, 2001.


Lerge web “portals” around the world are trying to do the same thing. But there is a difference. In the United States there were online services with millions of customers (America Online, Compuserve, Prodigy) many years before there was a world wide web or a widespread access to the internet. That is not the case in most other countries. It's much more difficult for several “portals” or centralized web services, competing with each other, to gain control of internet users. People may bookmark a list of preferred sites, but there is no relevant “loyalty” to any website as a basic access to the internet.



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