Masthead CMC Magazine / February 1, 1996
 The Electronic Colonization of the Pacific, by Spennemann, Birckhead, Green, and Atkinson

Commercialization of the Web

Marketing companies have entered the scene, with market research (such as GVU Center 1995; O'Reilly & Associates 1995), as well as billboard-type advertising in "public spaces" (cf. Netscape's search engine page). To date, the most common commercial applications of the Web have been promotion and advertising. The predominant model is the "honeypot effect" in which organizations provide interesting or useful information (the "honey") to attract users (Green 1995). Hence, the provision of information is seen as a marketing strategy, rather than an end in itself. As a typical example, a tourist agency might provide online information and pictures about (say) the Pacific Islands as a means of attracting potential clients. Such services may provide some useful information, but the emphasis is on making the service appealing rather than being reliable, complete or authoritative. The competitive approach also leads to much duplication of effort, and leaves many gaps.

A significant development is the provision of country-focused home pages by commercial providers. Presently, the material provided on these pages is free for all. This is of little surprise, however, as most of the pages are still under development and as there is a need to (i) attract more users to these pages, and (ii) to attract new material, either as documents or as links to the site. The problem posed by these commercial sites is not only that the material is provided by outsiders (which in itself may be culturally inappropriate), but also that, with the introduction of charges to access these sites, outsiders will profit economically from the information thus amassed. --

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