Is this all there is? A New York research firm says regular usage of the Internet by U.S. adults has flattened out at 63 percent of the population. Further growth will require the conversion of “unconnected” consumers and Internet “resisters,” according to analysis from Mediamark Research.
At the end of April this year, the firm said almost 80 percent of adults had access to the Internet at home, work or another location.
The “resisters” have access to the Internet but do not use it. The “unconnected” lack access. “Resisters” have a median income of $23,934, while the “unconnected” earn $19,571. The “unconnected” are also more likely than Internet users to be African American or Hispanic.
Arthur said growth in Internet penetration is unlikely without cheaper connections, more Spanish-language services and compelling reasons for nonusers to get online.
Nextel goes to the races
A new wireless service by Nextel Communications Inc. promises to let NASCAR fans listen in on the race track chatter even if they are miles away from the track.
The FanScan In-Car Audio service will allow Nextel customers to call a number and listen to the live radio communications between drivers and crew. Subscribers will be able to manually switch between the channels of any of nine featured teams or use an “all-scan” option for those nine teams and 15 others. The cost is $4.99 a race or $9.99 per month and does not include per-minute usage charges.
Some spectators already use special short-range scanners to catch the radio back-and-forth, and NASCAR offers a feed over the Internet.
New CD tunes out copiers
A music CD wrapped in copy-protection technology has become a best seller, fueling speculation that U.S. music fans might be ready to accept such restrictions.
Velvet Revolver’s “Contraband” has sold 380,000 copies since its release, according to Nielsen SoundScan.
It’s one of a few CDs issued in the United States equipped with such copy-protection measures, which the recording industry has been cautious to implement.
“Obviously, this is our highest-profile release to date with copy-management technology, so there’s a sense that the technology has matured and our research shows us that consumers are receptive,” said Nathaniel Brown, a spokesman for Bertelsmann Music Group.
Fans bought the CD despite clear warnings on the jewel case about the copy restrictions.
Domain are names booming
There are more than 63 million domain names registered worldwide, a 21 percent jump from a year ago, registry operator VeriSign Inc. reported in its quarterly Domain Report ( www.verisign.com). That’s about one domain name for every 100 people on the planet, a record total of those easily remembered words that direct computer users to sites.
Fueling the boom was the registration of more than 4.7 million new domain names in the first quarter, the highest quarterly number in the history of the Internet, VeriSign said.
“It used to be that it was a good thing to have a Web site,” said Bob Parsons, founder and president of Go Daddy software, which oversees more than 5 million names for more than 1 million customers. “Now, we expect businesses to have Web sites.”
Women get new shopping site
Off-price retailer Loehmann’s will begin selling its fashionable women’s clothes online, becoming the first in its retail sector to venture there.
The 83-year-old retailer says it will team with online discount retailer SmartBargains, which will handle fulfillment and shipping. Financial terms were not disclosed.
Loehmann’s sees the deal as a way to broaden the appeal and customer base of the value retail sector to younger consumers, who increasingly are turning to the Web for their shopping.
Off-price retailers buy assortments of brand-name, fashion-oriented merchandise, including overstocks, from vendors who typically sell to mainstream merchants. They then resell the goods at discounts often ranging from 30 percent to 65 percent. Other top off-price merchants include Ross, Tuesday Morning and T.J. Maxx.
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