Donna Hoffman:

I think it's becoming increasingly clear that the emerging business model of the Web is what we call the "sponsored content" model. People have shown a remarkable reluctance to pay for access to information on the Web, they don't even want to register for free to look at things. Thus, advertiser- supported content is an obvious way to go and I think it makes a lot of sense. What we don't know well, yet, is what works and how to do it, and that's going to take some time to figure out. We'll still grappling with how to measure how many people are coming to a site, let alone how to tackle the issue of whether the ad is effective. Yet, the Web as a marketing medium is very exciting because we have the potential to acquire a lot of information about how consumers use the environment. And this potential is greater than for any other medium. I don't see this as sinister - instead I think it means that -- if done right -- we have a chance to know our customers and meet their needs better than ever before.

I think the most importants thing people need to keep in mind as they are working in this exciting new computer-mediated environment are that

this is a many-to-many medium and the user expects a degree of control unheard of in traditional one-to-many media, that people should take advantage of interactivity, and above all strive for a relationship with your visitors, one that must be continuously updated.

This has enormous implications for everything from Web page design to the best commercial opportunities on the Web.

The Internet is a fascinating and exciting new frontier. But it's not all boundless opportunity and unbridled enthusiasm. The Internet is very complex and along with the hype is a tremendous amount of misinformation and confusion.

Taking advantage of the enormous potential of the Internet as an agent for social change is going to be very difficult. We only have to look at the enormous struggles to keep the Net free from censorship to see what we have in store as the medium develops and grows.

The Internet as a commercial medium is in its infancy. We barely know what people are doing while they are online or what they think and feel about these activities.

In fact there is an awful lot we don't know.

We believe that at this stage of the development of the Internet as a commercial medium - and make no mistake but it is commercial development that will enable critical mass and put the Net into the reach of the general population - individuals and firms must cooperate and share information in order to move the market ahead.

This is one reason we started Project 2000. Through the Project 2000 Web site, we can disseminate globally, efficiently and continuously the results of not only our own research, but links to related research, as well.

The Web is exciting because it stands as a working example of a many-to-many communication model where individuals are active participants in an interactive exercise of multiple feedback loops and immediate communication.

If we keep at it, it offers us the dynamic potential for growth, development, a literally a virtual revolution in the way society approaches the varied and interesting struggles and endeavors that make up the business of everyday life.

Brainstorms Tomorrow Mind to Mind