Saturday, February 16, 2013

Marketing Forces in Hardware and Software

Similar to how the forces of nature and history determined where rivers flow across the earth's surface, the history and forces of the Internet have shaped how Internet traffic flows across the wires and ether. For the most part, people make their initial connection to Cyberspace in one of two fashions: they either dial in from home or work, or they connect through a network at work. In order to do this, they have to have software that creates a TCP/IP socket. To view the World Wide Web, they also need software called an Internet browser. That socket and that browser are the first opportunities for anyone to get their attention in Cyberspace. Some socket software allows for ads to be shown as the Internet connection is established.
Browsers have three features that control Internet traffic. Those three features are "Home Page", "Favorites" or "Bookmarks," and "History." The Home Page is all important. That is the first page you see when you open your browser. You see this page over and over on a daily basis. Internet Service Providers (ISPs) provide their subscribers software which sets the ISP's page as the subscribers' home page and even sets some of their favorites. Even though many subscribers may eventually change their home page, ISPs, by their very nature, have a natural tap into much of the Internet's traffic. ISPs that provide an expansive and encyclopedic digital environment along with their access, such as AOL, really have a tap into the traffic. Software companies that make browsers (and there are really only two players here - Microsoft and Netscape) can have pre-set bookmarks and favorites. Operating systems can control consumers' choices of an ISP by having software built into the operating system. (Sometimes it seems like there is a battle for your attention going on inside your computer when various software packages pop up and ask to be made the "default" software.) The fairness of this type of competition has been the subject of a major antitrust action by the Justice Department against Microsoft.
The History feature of a browser, on the other hand, just makes it more likely that you will return to a page once you have been there before. This, in addition to the other features, makes it more likely that pages with traffic will gain even more traffic.
Other types of software-based online marketing include software that resides on your screen independent of a Web browser and displays ads while you surf. You are paid or otherwise rewarded for the time you spend using this software. An example is AllAdvantage.

from George Little's Internet Income Course. Register to SFI for free and get immediate access to the complete 79-part course.

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