timone NetMarketing
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Marketing in the internet – as seen from Italy

No. 68 – April 4, 2003

Other articles on similar subjects
are published in English
in the monthly Offline column


loghino.gif (1071 byte) 1. More online swindles

It’s going from bad to worse. Spam isn’t just a nuisance. It’s infected with an increasing variety of swindles. Most spammers are crooks, in varying degrees, shades and styles – from those who disguise commercial offers as personal messages to all sorts of criminal frauds.

Some are online variations of traditional scams, such as the “African” confidence game (see the July 2001 issue) that continues to multiply, with variations in other continents, such as parts of Asia. There was even one pretending to be in Iraq, during the war. It’s hard to believe that anyone could fall into such an obvious trap – but someone, somewhere, must be biting the bait, as the fake messages continue to spread.

There are countless types of scams in the ever-increasing tide of spam. Some are endless repetitions or adaptations of old online tricks – and some are relatively new. Including internet domain peddlers (see off52-en.htm Domain carpetbaggers) who send fake “expiration” notices to trick domain owners into a change of supplier (often for a higher-than-market price.) Or those who offer for sale domains that they don’t own. Etcetera.

There are also new variations of the old trick of diverting connections to expensive pay-by-time lines – made easier by new “dialer” devices and by so-called “added value” numbers offered by phone companies, who do not organize the swindles directly, but quietly make money in the process.

Uncomfortable as I am with any form of regulation and control, in this case I think authorities worldwide should be much more aggressive against swindlers and spammers. Also providers and connection suppliers should take the issue much more seriously, providing their customers with effective tools to protect themselves (the anti-spam devices developed so far have not been able to solve the problem, which is getting worse every day.)

The business community, which is often too lenient about unfair practices, should be seriously concerned. Spam, swindles and a variety of “invasive” devices are destroying a vital factor in all transactions, online or off: customer trust.

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loghino.gif (1071 byte) 2. The internet isn’t military

With the intense worldwide coverage of the Iraq conflict and other military activities, as well as the ongoing reports and comments abiut terrorism, the internet is often quoted as a weapon (or an espionage device.) It isn’t. Of course anything, including a hammer or a postcard, can be used as a weapon or as a tool for crime. But that doesn’t mean that they are designed for military use – or that they are particularly efficient for that purpose. Some reporters (or self-appointed warfare “experts”) don’t seem to understand the difference between the internet and espionage systems such as Echelon.

One of the reasons for these misconceptions is the fact that the first development of the technologies on which the internet is based was organized by the Advanced Research Project Agency of the US Defense Department. But that doesn’t mean that the net was conceived as a “cold war” weapon. Even in its early development it was understood that it would serve much wider needs – initially for the scientific community and then for all forms of human communication. In any case, a totally transparent, open and free system, available to all, is the absolute contrary of a military or espionage tool. But many in the information business (and power systems of all sorts) are still uncomfortable with the net’s openness and they seize every opportunity to make it seem like a mischievous and dangerous device that must be brought under control.


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loghino.gif (1071 byte) 3. New international data

This is a summary of a more extensive report published in the data section of this site. It will remain here as a “historical” reference when the full report is updated.

The latest international domain survey, published on March 5, 2003, shows a further large increase of hostcount in some countries. In at least one case, Italy, the figure is surprising. It's hard to believe that it's much larger than in the UK or Germany. In any case, this analysis is based on figures as they are. Trends always need to be followed over time. The next update will probably be available in six months’ time.

The general growth of the internet worldwide isn’t as fast as in prevuous years, but it isn’t “slow”. This is the evolution from 1994 to 2002.

of hosts
1994 5,800,000 + 119 %
1995 12,900,000 + 104 %
1996 21,800,000 + 104 %
1997 28,700,000 + 52 %
1998 42,200,000 + 46 %
1999 72,400,000 + 68 %
2000 109,600,000 + 51 %
2001 147,300,000 + 35 %
2002 171,600,000 + 17 %

The next chart shows figures for the 22 countries (of 240) with over 500,000 internet hosts.

  Number of hosts
December 2002
% Growth
in a year
% of
Per 1000
United States 104,938,665 + 10.0 64.7 369.6
Japan 9,260,117 + 28.8 5.4 72.9
Italy 3,864,315 + 69.2 2.2 68.6
Netherlands 3,148,098 + 19.6 1.8 196.2
Canada 3,129,884 + 8.3 1.9 104.3
United Kingdom 2,936,622 + 19.2 1.7 48.9
Germany 2,923,327 + 9.0 1.7 35.5
Australia 2,564,339 + 12.0 1.5 135.2
Brazil 2,237,572 + 36.1 1.3 13.0
Taiwan 2,170,233 + 26.7 1.3 97.1
France 2,157,628 + 29.1 1.3 36.7
Spain 1,694,601 + 13.2 1.0 41.2
Finland 1,220,062 + 29.2 0.7 234.8
Sweden 1,209,266 + 6.0 0.7 136.1
Denmark 1,154,053 + 63.2 0.7 215.8
Mexico 1,107,795 + 20.6 0.7 11.2
Belgium 1,052,706 + 57.5 0.6 102.6
Poland 843,475 + 28.9 0.5 21.8
Austria 838,026 + 27.5 0.5 103.9
Russia 800,277 n,a,   0.5 5.5
Switzerland 723,243 + 17.8 0.4 99.1
Norway 634,098 + 0.7 0.4 140.3
Total 171,638,297 + 16.5   11.5

This graph shows the picture, at the end of 2002, for the twelve countries with over a million and a half internet hosts.

Internet hosts in 12 countries
countries worldwide with over a milion and a half hosts


If, for better readability of the graph, we leave out the United States, these are the other 21 countries with over 500,000 hosts.

Internet hosts in 21 countries
countries worldwide with over 500,000 hosts   (US excluded)


This is an update of the density graph (hosts per 1000 inhabitants) in the 22 countries with over 500,000 internet hosts.

Internet hosts per 1000 inhabitants in 22 countries


And this is the worldwide density picture seen as a map.

Internet hosts per 1000 inhabitants

world map

This is the situation in relation to income (GDP) in the 22 countries with over 500,000 internet hosts.

Internet hosts in relation to income (GDP)
in 22 countries


A more detailed analysis is online in the international datareport.

Anither analysis on this site about online language communities includes an approximate evaluation of the nine languages that are relevant poresence in the internet..

Languages in the internet


English is obviusly dominant, but eight other languages have a relevant presence online. If we consider that Japanese in’t much spoken outsode Japan, and that there are varying speeds of growth, the second online international language is, or soon will be, Spanish. The Chinese cuture would have a much larger presence if restrictions of internet use could be removed in maižland China.

A new worldwide update will probably be available in July or August 2003.


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loghino.gif (1071 byte) 4. New European data

There have been some relevant changes since an update was published in issue 67 (December 2002). as usual, a more detailed analysi is online in thedata section.

The total hostcount in Europe is over 27 million. This is an update of the sitation in the 22 European countries with over 100,000 internet hosts. As indicated above in the comments about international data, the figure for Italy may be exaggerated (and-or the figures for the UK and Germany could be underestimated). But the analysis is bvased on data as they are – trends will be confirmed or adjusted over time.

  Number of hosts
February 2003
% of
Per 1000
Italy 3,864,315 14.1 68.6
Netherlands 3,325,645 12.1 204.2
United Ki9ngdom 2,990,013 10.9 49.8
Germany 2,923,327 10.7 35.5
France 2,157,628 7.9 36.7
Spain 1,694,601 6.2 41.2
Finland 1,220,062 4.5 234.9
Sweden 1,209,266 4.4 136.1
Denmark 1,154,053 4.2 215.8
Belgium 1,052,706 3.8 102.6
Poland 843,475 3.1 21.8
Austria 838,026 3.1 103.9
Russia 800,277 2.9 5.5
Switzerland 723,243 2.7 99.1
Norway 634,098 2.3 140.3
Czech Republic 362,083 1.3 35.2
Portugal 291,355 1.1 28.1
Hungary 254,462 0.9 25.0
Greece 202,525 0.7 18.5
Ireland 138,280 0.5 36.1
Ukraine 130,569 0.5 2.6
Estonia 109,643 0.4 80.2
European Union 23,029,644 83.9 61.7
Europe 27,432,079   39.1

As usual, this graph shows the 15 European countries with over 500,000 internet hosts.

15 European countries

15 countries

This is an update of the density graph for the 22 Euopean countries with over 100,000 internet hosts.

Internet hosts per 1000 inžhabitants
in 22 European countries


And this is the density map.

Internet hosts per 1000 inhabitants


And, as usual, a graph of hostcount in relation to income.

Internet hosts in relation to income (GDP)
in 22 European countries


Some large European countres appear quite weak in online activity in proporttion to their economies. The situation continues to evolve. but some “historical” facts still prevail, such as the concentration in northern Europe (especially Finland)..




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