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ignorance isn't bliss

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It is wise never to underestimate people's ignorance, and a recent report from the Internet Marketing and Development Agency (imda) reinforces this truism. As our series of articles by Ken McGaffin and Paul Hyett (see above) has been explaining, the Internet is of growing importance to everybody, and professionals like architects ignore it at their peril. But imda's telephone survey of 1000 businesses in Essex and East London found that, although 98 per cent had 'heard of the Internet', only 12 per cent believed it had any bearing on their present business.

Only 14 per cent had registered domain names, and half of these had done so as a result of being 'canvassed by one of the numerous telesales companies who have moved in on the territory - some of whom operate from desks alongside colleagues selling double glazing'.

imda says that fewer than five per cent realised that there was any issue of brand or marketing strategy when picking a domain name, and only 2 per cent knew that it was possible for a business to operate with multiple domain names that all pointed to the same web site or mailbox. Of the respondents, only 16 per cent were aware that Internet domain names were offered on a first-come-only basis, and that there was no guarantee of easy availability, even if the name was trademarked. Twenty-eight per cent believed that the Internet would have an impact on their future business, but were not sure quite how, although 65 per cent agreed that e-mail was likely to become an important medium of business communication (us sources claim that e-mail overtook fax as the leading business-to-business 'specific' communication medium in October 1995). A staggering 93 per cent of respondents said they didn't know of any examples where a business was making money from an Internet presence. Whether this was ignorance or a true reflection of the current situation, the survey does not say.

imda has developed a free search facility for companies to discover if their trading name is still available. For more information contact William Poel on 01245 495896, web site http://www/imda.co.uk

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