AIM Speaker: Worst of Dot-Com Implosion Is Over

TAMPA, FL — The Internet marketing industry will not see a so-called “snap-back” as some on Wall Street have been predicting, but the worst of the dot-com implosion is probably over, said Internet analyst William E. Whyman, co-founder and president of the Precursor Group, Washington.

During a keynote presentation delivered to 50 or so attendees at the Association for Interactive Media's AIM Interact 2001 conference here yesterday, Whyman outlined what he said were the five forces that came together to create the dot-com boom:

· A simplistic view that the Internet would take over the world.

· Easy access to capital.

· “Business model muddle,” or experimentation.

· Hugely optimistic growth presumptions.

· The fact that the IT industry was responsible for one-third of economic growth in the past five years.

These forces came together to form a “perfect storm,” he said, adding that they will not likely come together again.

“People really made heroic presumptions about growth rates,” Whyman said. He also said there would be no more business model experimentation.

All is not bleak, however, according to Whyman.

First, revenue follows audience, and the Internet audience is still growing. In addition, he said, the Internet is taking share from television. “Tell me why this isn't an attractive audience [for marketing and advertising],” he said.

Shifting topics, Whyman predicted that “there will be privacy regulation and there will be Internet taxation. The good news is it ain't going to happen anytime soon.”

For one thing, privacy advocates will overreach by demanding opt-in data collection for everything — a demand Congress will be unable to meet, Whyman said.

However, there are some “done deals” that will affect data collection for which marketers should prepare, he said.

Among them:

· Notice that data are being collected.

· Choice for consumers to opt out of an initiative.

· Security of data.

However, Whyman said, “My own view is opt in will never happen. Otherwise it will shut down the free Web and turn it into a fee Web.”

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