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 conditions. 

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.

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