Monday, 22 October 2001
The dotcom hype is over and out, says Dutch journalist Fransisco van Jole (2525.com). Well, not a real striking statement, but where to go from here? Will the Internet be a success? Could it be that it's a success already? What are the opportunities?

Replacing old means

At the start of the dot com hype e-prophets claimed that the Internet would change the world, turning everything upside down, introducing a completely new way of doing things. It appears not to be true.
  • Buying remote

    E-commerce sites are not a real success yet. Most E-commerce sites are an electronic version of mail order services.

    Thesis: Succesful E-commerce items are the same as those in mail order services. Typical properties of such items:

    • mass items, with a uniform quality
    • no need for service or warranty, and no real need for a strong relationship between consumer and shop
    • a low emotional attachment
    • consumables, things that you need again and again.
    Typical examples: Books, CD's, air tickets, copy paper, printer cartridges, paperclips.
  • Source of news

    Internet would make the newspapers redundant. Hm, it is handy indeed to quickly scan the most important Dutch news. Yet I still prefer to read the big Saturday newspaper. Stretch out somewhere in the grass, on a bench in the sun, or at home in the hammock. Add a pot of tea and it's another great Saturday. Ever tried to make yourself comfortable reading from a monitor?
  • Lookups

    Internet did succeed in replacing all kinds of lookup media. I hardly ever call an 0800 number. he online Dutch yellow pages, online zip codes and the online phone directory all appear under my bookmarks. The paper equivalents are just collecting dust.
Conclusion: The Internet only replaces old look up media. It is not a threat to the physical world.

New possibilities

The Internet really comes in handy when it has to do a bit of puzzling for you. The Dutch railways (NS) journey planner really is one of my favourites, an intelligent online lookup medium.

The Dutch public transport (9292OV) journey planner is even more impressive. What makes this website unique is that it nicely encapsulates the different transport companies. A traveller just wants to get from A to B, and could not care less about the individual transport companies.

Hm, there are big chances for website designers in the information area.

  1. The time of company specific websites is over.
    Thesis: Surfing past the websites of several companies is old fashined, too much like walking along several windows of physical shops.
  2. Current websites are too primitive.
    Most sites just offer words-and-pictures, supplier specific, with a search function and an order button. Still it is a quest to find the best offer.
Automated Commerce.
  • Where are the independent A-Commerce websites?
  • Where are the intelligent sites that work in the interest of the consumer?
State-of-the-art expert system technology must be able to automate the search and puzzle job. Where is the website that
  • inds the best airticket for me?
  • determines which mortgage, insurance or investment suits me best?
  • searches the complete selection of properties on offer for me?
  • offers a complete selection of second hand cars?
  • finds me the most opinionated Java scribbler with experience in expert system technology?
    No, this answer is too easy :)
Till next week,