I have been investigating informational portals and business to business as
well as business to customer base sites on the internet. I wanted to find
out how well "organised" information about any given region of say the
UK was. Could the average Joe find the best coffee house in the area of
New York when they visit? When one goes to visit family in Australia can
you look up some information on the subject first?
I focused my search on the UK where I could best judge the results.
This is the opinion that I gained after several months.
The need yet to be met
There is a crying need for a single method of locating quality information,
not just about the area you live in but about the area you spend your leisure
time or even plan to move too. This need goes unmet because of a lack of understanding about
the nature of information and the ability to disseminate this information over
the "new" media of the Internet and older media within the context of new
techniques and technology.
The storage and retrieval of relevant information is a classic grey area that
no-one seems to have the time to study in any sufficient depth that would allow
it to be applied to enhancing commerce other than for the few super sized
companies able to employ data mining experts.
Furthermore, there is widespread ignorance about
such simple factors as the data protection act and the need for searchable
media. The result is that poorly
founded companies, con-men and those badly placed to challenge the market are
able to corner whole sections of the market while the traditional giants fumble
around failing to understand the requirements for trading under these new
While the giant corporations continue to fight
over rapidly depleting market-shares, there arises the opportunity for local
companies to take on these giants and win. This is the need yet to be met
Half hearted attempts
It would be untrue to suggest that there are not
already attempts to meat this need but each fails in a simple and obvious way -
lack of sustainable effort or half-heartedness.
No single organisation has successfully grasped the nature of the new media
of the Internet and the unabated hunger for information that there is. Traditional companies like Thompson and the yellow pages simply digitise
the existing product and add a search box.
While this meets a need, it falls far short of the true potential of this
method of information dissemination.
It is a fallacy to assume that solutions that have
so far met the market needs can simply be re-formatted for this new media. This older media met the needs of the market by optimal alignment to the
limitations of the media. For
example - news papers cannot dynamically react and listings cannot afford to carry
news, view and product reviews.
Lack of knowledge and planning
Other attempts fail further by not having access to the relevant
technological understanding and knowledge. When it is available it is often overlooked or ignored by
lack of understand, poor management or the absence of planning.
Ironically, there are some solutions that seem to
have grasped the nature of web media only to fail at the technological level.
In order to use this media there must be the power such as is available
with PERL, PHP, ASP and other related technology to delivery dynamic, relevant
information attuned to the needs of each and every customer.
Because "good enough" simply isn’t
The only conclusion that can be draw from this is that
the so called market leaders in this field are in that position not by virtue of
ability but simply by being the best there is – they have become the leaders
"good enough to win" race.