"...the implosion of so
many dotcoms over
the last year seems to
have replaced the
with an amazing
amount of negativity"
Doesn't anyone believe in the Internet anymore?
Well, stock markets all over the world don't seem to. And venture capi-
talists nowadays don't seem to have much confidence in the Internet either.
Add to this the fact that some of the most popular Web sites have had to shut
down their services and free e-mail services are turning commercial.
Is Web content going to remain free? Are any of today's popular Web
communities going to be around one year from now? Questions like these
seem to dominate our thoughts.
But just look beyond these seemingly larger doubts and it is obvious that
Internet usage has been increasing consistently all over the world. More
people are spending more time on the Internet. This is primarily because
it provides them with a relatively inexpensive means to communicate.
However, the implosion of so many dotcoms over the last year seems
to have replaced the excessive optimism with an amazing amount of neg-
Despite any misgivings that might have been created due to the dis-
continuation of free e-mail services by USA.net and 123India.com, other
free e-mail services will always be available. While it is possible that some
e-mail service providers will decide that continuing those free services no
longer makes 'business sense', it is probable that many others will realise
that they have to continue to provide these services to keep traffic coming
to their sites. The Microsoft acquisition of Hotmail a few years ago is an
example of how free e-mail services helped to increase the popularity of
their MSN portal.
The Web also provides people with a means to share their ideas with
others. This is unique because it makes it possible to publish and distrib-
ute content at a negligible cost. Several Web sites like Anandtech.com and
Rediff.com have used the opportunity that this accessible medium of mass
communication provides t