Top 10 Ways to Scupper Your Ecommerce Business

1. Don’t plan, Just dive right in!

If you don’t plan for success you’re planning for failure.

An incredibly common mistake made by rookie ecommerce webmasters is to dive straight in and launch a site with an expensive URL long before they’ve actually taken the time plan out what their business proposition actually is!

Without a clearly defined business model and a well-formatted business plan you are inviting problems at every step of the way. Without having your company ethos, your funding details, your policies and procedures recorded clearly in black and white you really will have nothing to go on. After all, you can’t exactly show your expectations and optimism to investors or, worse, the dreaded bank manager.

Do your homework, plan your attack, refine your plan and then refine it some more. Seek help from a business professional with the formatting of your business plan and make several back-up copies!

2. The internet is huge! There’s an audience for everything, right?

Well, yes and no. The internet is huge and is, of course, bigger every day. No matter how unusual the site you can bet there’ll be at least a small number of people interested in it somewhere.

But will they be willing to pay for whatever it is that you’re selling? Or if you’re not strictly in the ecommerce game, can you be sure that your pride and joy will get enough visitors to stay afloat on advertising revenue alone?

Domains cost money, server space costs money, EVERYTHING costs money.

If you don’t take the time to get to know who your prospective audience is well in advance of launching your site you may as well dig a hole at the side of the information superhighway and pour all of your money in to it.

Study the market, learn from your competitors, find your online niche and make sure that your site really stands out from the crowd. Find a good, reputable web marketing firm who can advise you and listen to what they say!

3. Flashy borders, big pictures, lots of frames, job done, yes? No!

Have you heard the story ‘the emperor’s new clothes?’ To make a short story shorter it is the tale of an emperor who relies so much on style over substance that he doesn’t even notice when some mean-spirited (but enterprising) tailors sell him a whole heap of nothing, describing it as a stylish and trend-setting new outfit that only the wisest men can see.

Is that how you want your online presence to be viewed? If it is, you may as well stop reading now.

On the modern internet, content is king! End of story. The big winners of the last decade of web evolution have been those sites that populate their sites with interesting, unique content and keep adding more and more interesting, unique content.

Think about it!

How successful would Facebook be if it was never updated by anyone?

What if the Internet Movie Database decided to stop writing about new films?

Flashy graphics, a cool URL and all the whistles and bells you can muster will draw some traffic to your site, but top quality content is what is going to keep those visitors coming back for more and, crucially, telling their friends about your amazing site.

Be interesting. Be unique. Be prolific!

And if you can’t write good copy yourself, employ someone who can!

4. No SEO, No Problem?

Imagine a clothes shop. One unlike any you have ever visited. The staff is friendly and funny and make you feel really welcome from the second you walk through the door. They have the latest fashions at unbelievably low prices, much lower than any of their competitors and they have exclusive designs from some of the biggest names in fashion.

Now imagine if that clothes shop isn’t situated in the heart of a busy city centre shopping street but is actually located at the back of a dark field, in the middle of an impenetrable forest, in the middle of nowhere with no sign pointing towards it.

How long is that shop going to stay in business?

Exactly.

A sad fact of modern internet business is that in 99.9999% of cases whatever it is that you’re doing has been done before by people with more experience and more financial backing than you. People who are more established and who know how to get people to visit their online business and who strive everyday to do so. These are the businesses that succeed, the ones that know how to play the game with the big 3 search engines and how to climb up those rankings!

Launching a site with no understanding of SEO is a guaranteed way to fail, and fail quickly.

Search Engine Optimisation is not witchcraft, but to people who don’t understand it, it can often seem like it is. Do your homework, seek advice, do some more homework, get more advice and then integrate SEO principles into the design of your site from day one, and on every day that follows!

5. There’s no such thing as bad advertising.

Want to bet? Just ask some of the many, many famous politicians who are no longer politicians but remain very, very (in)famous.

Yes, there are many ways to advertise, but some really are worth their (virtual) weight in (real) gold!

Good PPC campaigns (pay-per-click, like AdWords, those four-line adverts you see at the right hand side of Google’s results pages) are used by all the big companies and used to tremendous effect.

When Google AdWords campaigns are run well they work really, really well. And when they are run badly they are an excellent way to burn through your whole advertising budget in no time at all, and with no benefit to your business to show for it.

With AdWords, as with everything else in the online world it is vital that you don’t just jump right in with the best of intentions and nothing in the way of planning.

Do MORE homework, understand your product, know your place in the market and seek advice from a reliable source with experience of running successful PPC campaigns.

6. Small companies don’t need to worry about branding.

Hang on, I’ll stop you there!

Every business needs to think about branding. Why? Because it is your brand that communicates everything about you to everyone out there!

Google’s online dictionary says that “The branding of a product is the presentation of it to the public in a way that makes it easy for people to recognize or identify.”

Easy to recognise. Easy to identify.

Is it a coincidence that the logo for Microsoft Windows looks like – hello! – a window?

No, it was carefully considered, probably by a team of highly skilled designers and marketers. It was then, no doubt, refined, experimented with and finally locked down as the design that we all know and see everywhere. Since then it has been used in a consistent manner to reinforce the brand. And let’s face it; there aren’t many brands that are more recognisable in the computer software business than Windows.

So take this away with you: your branding communicates everything about you to everyone out there, right? Well that door swings both ways. It’s just as easy to repel internet users as it is to attract them; in fact, it’s probably a whole lot easier.

Think about your brand from day one. Carefully design and refine it and then make sure that it is used in a consistent manner to reinforce your brand in the minds of your visitors. Research other brands and how they came about and remember that brands need to evolve. You don’t get anywhere by standing still!

7. Lights, Camera, Call to ACTION!

You’ve designed a beautiful, elegant site.

You’ve populated it with unique, interesting content that you toil over long and hard, and update regularly.

You’ve tempted a multitude of visitors to your site and in return you’re getting…

Nothing?

That can’t be right.

And it isn’t!

One of the easiest mistakes to avoid is to not let these visitors take what they want and then leave without giving you something in return.

If you’re in ecommerce, you want sales! If you’re promoting a hotel, you want bookings! If you’re trying to promote your beloved rock band you want people to pay to come to your gigs, right?

Without a clear ‘call to action’ on EVERY PAGE of your site, you can’t blame any of those visitors for taking what they want from your site and then just leaving.

Now think how many times you’ve seen examples like the following on websites:

– Click here to sign up for our free newsletter!

– Item out of stock? Click here to be notified when it’s back in stock!

– Register now for updates!

– Click here to download our latest brochure!

This seems so simple when you see it in black-and-white but you’d be amazed how many webmasters make the mistake of forgetting to call their visitors to action.

Now make sure you’re not one of them!

8. Customer Relationship Mismanagement.

So your visitors are now all obediently leaving their details so you can contact them (soon!) with the exciting news of how your site is surging ahead into the glittering future of internet superstardom?

And how are you keeping track of all those names, email addresses and the like?

In an old, dog-eared notepad?

Scrawled on napkins and thrown into a drawer?

Good luck with staying in business!

A good Customer Relationship Management (CRM) System will help you to keep track of all of your contacts. It will let you collect relevant data about them and help you to better streamline your marketing programme.

In short, a good CRM package will help you to better serve your customers and to keep attracting new ones.

And if you can’t be bothered with all of that, think about this old cliche:

Look After Your Customers Or Someone Else Will!

Still don’t think it matters?

9. “Our operators are not standing by!”

Yes, more and more business is conducted online every day.

Yes, ideally a great website (SEO optimised & marketed well!) will be all you need to become the next Donald Trump.

BUT!

As far as your customers are concerned, the best website in the world is very often no match for a friendly and well-informed voice on the phone.

Everybody expects it to take hours if not days for a corporate site to respond to an email enquiry, and THAT can be a very big turn-off when they’re choosing who they’re going to spend their money with.

That’s why even the most dyed-in-the-wool internet businesses have telemarketers, customer service advisors and other telephone operators working for them!

People will always use the phone, and there are many millions of people out there that will always prefer to pick up the phone than to send an email or fill out an online contact form.

I’m not saying that you should open a huge call centre, employing thousands of advisors in a state-of-the-art modern facility, but you should make it easy to have your customers contact you by phone, if not 24 hours a day then at least during the traditional business hours of 9 to 5, Monday to Friday.

And how would you feel if you had to repeatedly call a business whose operators don’t:

– Answer the phone in a polite and consistent manner?

– Mention the name of their business so you know you’re through to the right people?

– Speak politely?

– Listen attentively?

– Try to be helpful?

– And, most importantly, have all necessary information to hand there and then?

Exactly!

Distinguish yourself and your company by being approachable on the telephone; by being polite and helpful and by getting help and advice from a company that can oversee all this for you if it is just not practical for you to do it yourself.

Just as well you took my advice about getting a good CRM system, eh?

10. Just sit back and hope for the best!

Are you mad??

You will get NOWHERE by sitting back and simply expecting things to go your way, all the time.

You need to know who is visiting your site!

You need to know how they found you!

You need to know which pages they looked at!

You need to know to this so you can streamline your business and MAKE MORE MONEY!

But that’s all impossible, isn’t it? How could you possible know those things?

Simply, by employing a Web Analytics tool (or company) to do all that for you!

By analysing all aspects of your site’s performance you can make it perform better. Just like a coach scrutinises every pass and every tackle made by the members of his football team.

You monitor, you analyse and then you plan a way to improve.

This last point is something that you really will need help with so find yourself a good authority on web analytics and let them take the strain for you.

Only THEN will I let you sit back and hope for the best!

India – A Future Warehouse of the World

Abstract
India has the world’s second largest population and one of the fastest growing economies in the world. India has a promising future, given the unprecedented growth in economy and its clout in the global issues. India is now riding on the wave of a gigantic boom in computer driven new economy. Many developed countries of the world are seeking the huge pool of English speaking talented software professionals in India. As the world is transforming towards knowledge society, India too is moving proportionately competing with the world. With the increase of Internet users and the advancement of information and communication technology in India had boasted the development towards e-commerce in global economic society. In IT sector India is booming as a super power. In the last few years India has made rapid strides in the IT sector especially in the software services and IT enabled services. In this paper we analyses the picture of IT industry in a very near future in India & contribution of India in world’s Information Technology Sector.

Introduction
From the 1950s, IBM had a virtual monopoly of computers in India. The 360 series release in 1960s was the major workhouse of the large organizations. They even maintained a chain of programmers who could write down software’s for their machines. However in 1978, when George Fernandes, ministry of industries at that time, commanded IBM to take local shareholders into its subsidiary, the company refused strictly and went back after winding up its all operations in India. Its ex-employees then set up Computer Maintenance Corporation, with the primary object of maintaining IBM computers.
During the period of 1995-2000, the Indian IT Industry has recorded a C.A.G.R. (Compounded Annual Growth Rate) of more than 42.4 percent, which is almost double the growth rate of IT industries in many of the developed countries. For Details contact AMCHAM National Secretariat, New Delhi Foreign companies particularly American companies have played a vital role in making India an emerging IT super power in the world. These MNCs account for nearly 22 per cent of Indian software exports. According to the latest NASSCOM estimates, in 2001-02, multinational infotech companies exported software worth Rs. 6500 crore from India. Country’s total software export was pegged at Rs. 29400 crore. In terms of investment and growth, U.S. companies like Cognizant Technologies (largest export revenue earning MNC) IBM, Oracle, GE, Cisco, Compaq, Intel amongst others lead the MNCs in the Information Technology sector. Nine out of top 20 Indian IT firms are from United States. These account for over 37% of the turnover of the top 20 firms operating in India. Despite their significant contribution to the IT sector, these companies have to face a number of procedural and operational problems in India.
However, the volume of e-commerce, in India, is far below the levels achieved in USA, which was about 1 percent of the total GDP in 1999. Further, the expected volume of e-commerce in India in 2001 (US$ 255.3 million) is also below the levels expected to be achieved, which in comparison to Australia (US$ 3 billion), China (US$ 586 million), South Korea (US$ 876 million) and Hong Kong (US$685 million) is quite less.

Time has changed the way businesses are carried out. What was supposed to be known to few and limited to the home towns, appears to be an ancient methodology of carrying out the work. The present day brands work on world wide scale, that is they are successful in not just one particular region but have deepened their roots to all the corners in the globe that you can think of.
Information Technology is what constitutes the most important sector in the present day trend of carrying out business. It is because you can not be present everywhere to monitor the work, but with networking and communications, you can always stay in contact with the other business sites of yours.

ICT Approaches of India
A spate of reforms-post-1991 economic crisis-have given impetus to the Indian economy, particularly to the ICT sector. As part of the reform agenda, the Indian Government has taken major steps to promote ICT including the creation in 1988 of a World Market Policy, with a focus on software development for export; telecommunications policy reform; privatization of the national long-distance and mobile phone markets; and development of a more comprehensive approach to ICT. Although India’s success is commanding increasing attention and investment, it has yet to result in the distribution of social and economic benefits across a broader base of the population. Challenges-including the perception of an unfavorable regulatory climate, an overloaded judicial system, poor infrastructure and costly access, and limited use of ICT-remain. The emerging shift in government strategy, toward knowledge-intensive services, has created a climate more conducive to addressing enterprise, domestic infrastructure, education and the use of ICT to meet development needs.
Policy: India’s focus on self-reliant industrialization in the 1970s and 1980s has been replaced with reforms aimed at positioning India in the world economy: the foreign direct investment process has been streamlined, new sectors have been opened up to foreign direct investment and ownership, and the government has exempted the ICT industry from corporate income tax for five years. These reforms have helped India to become increasingly integrated into the global economy through growth in the export of software and skill-intensive software services, such as call-centers.
In 1986, the Indian government announced a new software policy designed to serve as a catalyst for the software industry. This was followed in 1988 with the World Market Policy and the establishment of the Software Technology Parks of India (STP) scheme. As a result, the Indian software industry grew from a mere US$150 million in 1991-1992 to a staggering US$5.7 billion (including over US$4 billion worth of software exports) in 1999-2000-representing an annual growth rate of over 50 percent.
The establishment of the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) was a key step towards effective implementation of telecommunications reforms. In 1992, the mobile phone market was opened up to private operators, in 1994 the fixed services market followed, and finally in 1999, national long distance operations were opened to private competition. Prior to these reforms, the Department of Telecommunications had been the sole provider of telecommunications services.
In addition, to attract foreign direct investment, the government permitted foreign equity of up to 100 percent and duty free import on all inputs. Government-created technology parks also offered professional labor services to clients, a cost-effective program for India since ICT labour is so inexpensive by global standards.
Infrastructure: Teledensity in India has reached 3.5 percent of the population. Approximately 1 percent of households have fixed line connections, compared to 10 percent in China. The mobile sector has approximately 3 million users, growing at 100 percent per annum, and is expected to outstrip the fixed line market in the near future. The number of Internet accounts is around 1.5 million, growing at 50 percent per annum. India also has very high penetration rates of terrestrial TV, cable and radio. Voice and data wireless solutions, for both domestic and export markets, are increasingly produced and used locally.
Access to telephones in Indian villages has improved in the last five to six years through the introduction of the Public Call Office (PCO) run by local shopkeepers. More than 60 percent of the villages in India have at least one phone. This also includes over 800,000 Village Public Telephones (VPTs). Worldtel is undertaking a pilot in four states to secure financing to upgrade the Village Public Telephones so they will soon be Internet-accessible.
In some urban locations, India’s Software Technology Parks (STPs) provide infrastructure, buildings, electricity, telecommunications facilities and high-speed satellite links to facilitate export processing of software.

India also has a number of progressive computerized networks in place, including a stock exchange, the Indian Railways Passenger Reservation System, and the National Informatics Centre Network (NICNET), which connects government agencies at the central, state and district levels.
Enterprise: India’s well-established framework for protecting intellectual property rights has been an important inducement to business investment: well-known international trademarks have been protected by Indian laws, even when they were not registered in India. In 1999, major legislation was passed to protect intellectual property rights in harmony with international practices and in compliance with India’s obligations under TRIPS.
Much of the initial domestic demand stimulus for ICT and ICT services industries in India has come from government: 28 percent of total IT spending to date can be attributed to government and public sector expenditure. Major areas of government expenditure include: financial services, taxation, customs, telecommunications, education, defense and public infrastructure. As a result of the growth in ICT use in India, the ICT industry itself has also increased its domestic economic activity, for example, a number of ICT companies have developed accounting and word processing packages in Indian languages. The potential impact of this growth on the domestic economy is much broader than developing software for export only.
Human Capacity: In spite of relatively low literacy rates among the general population, India has several key advantages in human capital: a large English-speaking population and world-class education, research and management institutions-a direct result of investment in self-reliance in science and technology. In addition to establishing Indian Institutes of Technology in various cities around India to create a large pool of technical skills, the government has a computer policy to encourage R&D in personal computers. The IT training sector continues to grow at a rapid rate: total training revenues in 1998 were estimated at US$225 million, 30 percent up on the previous year. However, one of the biggest challenges to the Indian software industry remains the difficulty in attracting and retaining talented professionals.
Content and Applications: India has a large population with great linguistic diversity. Creating and maintaining locally relevant content for a country with 418 languages is a challenge. Nevertheless, local language content is slowly making ICT more relevant and accessible to a broader cross-section of the population. For example, India’s Center for Development of Advanced Computing has recently launched a scheme called iLEAP-ISP to create a free multilingual word processor to be made available to all Internet subscribers. On other fronts, some states such as Tamil Nadu have launched their own initiatives to support the standardization of local language software through interface programs that can be adapted to word processors, dictionaries, and commercial keyboards for use in schools, colleges, government offices and homes.
An emphasis has also been placed on the development of relevant e-government applications in India. Some states such as Madhya Pradesh and Andhra Pradesh have started to introduce applications which allow citizens to have faster and more transparent access to government services-for example, the provision of information on laws and regulations, and the procuring of licenses and official documents online.
Strategic Compact: Public-private partnerships, catalyzed by the IT Ministry, have played a key role in India’s ICT-related development. One of the positive results of this effort has been the IT Act of 2000, which was based on the recommendation of the National IT Task Force, and aims to set the overall strategy for the IT sector. In addition, the government and the private sector are starting to come together to foster ICT development. For example, a joint effort by the Computer Science Automation Department at the Indian Institute of Science and a Bangalore-based private company have developed Simputer-a cheap micro-computer that enables illiterate users to browse the Internet.
India’s development and contribution in world’s information technology sector is of highest reputation. Cities like Bangalore have become the favorite(most preferred) destinations of all the big banners like HSBC, Dell, Microsoft, GE, Hewlett Packard, and several Indian multi national firms like Infosys Technologies, Wipro, and Microland who have set up their offices in the city. It is because the city offers good infrastructure, with large floor space and great telecom facilities. This can be judged on the basis of the high growth statistics of India and the changing outlook of the companies towards India .

It is because of this growth many popular brands that have not yet build up there rigid offices in the country are making it fast to have a destination in India too. For example, Sun Microsystems, a global IT major, announced in Bangalore to double the present workforce of the company’s Sun India Engineering Center (IEC) from the present 1000 to 2000 in the next two years time. IEC, which is the largest R&D center for Sun outside the US , would also focus on developing products in India to suit the needs of the Indian market, which would be benchmarked globally.
This speedy growth of IT Sector is undoubtedly due to the efforts of Indian government and the other developments that took in the other parts of the globe.

The country has seen an era when after the IBM shutted its shop in India in 1950, the mainframes that were imported into the country were all from Russia . Western computer could not be imported because of an American embargo on export of high-technology equipment to India , which was considered an ally of the Soviet Union .
Slowly, with the time the country could develop its first powerful parallel computer in 1991 known as CDAC, by connecting together a string of less powerful computers.
With time and the continuous growth across the world, the country continued struggling and came up as the world leader in Information Technology Sector.
The industry has grown up to US $ 5.7 billion (including over $4 billion worth of software exports) in 1999-2000, with the annual growth rate not sliding below 50 percent since 1991.

It exports software and services to nearly 95 countries around the world. The share of North America ( U.S. & Canada ) in India ‘s software exports is about 61 per cent.
The Indian labor is not only cheap but is technically skilled too to the world class level. It is due to the Indian Education System that includes in its course curriculum the practical knowledge of the latest technology that is developed in world along with the fluency in English Language that imparts compatibility in an Indian technician to communicate and work through out the world.

Further the geographical location of India serves it the advantage of being exactly halfway round the world from the US west coast, which is another reason why India is preferred destination of many big brands.

Also, The presence of a large number of Indians, especially engineers, in the US gave India an easy entry into the US software market.
What adds more to the dominance of India in Information Technology Sector is the government policies like the enactment of cyber laws to protect and safeguard the interest of software companies in India .
Setting up of the Software Technology Parks of India (STPI), by the Ministry of Information Technology, Government of India and the International Technology Park in a joint project by the State Government, the TATA Group and the Singapore Consortium to promote and facilitate the software exports is another major step towards the growth of Indian Information Technology Sector.
Similarly an industrial park, known as Electronic City , was set up in 1991 takes more than a hundred electronic industries including Motorola, Infosys, Siemens, ITI, and Wipro, in an area of around 330 acres.
The Export Promotion Industrial Park , built near International Technology Park , gives an exclusive 288 acres of area for export oriented business. GE has its India Technology Center located at this park and employs hundreds of multi disciplinary technology development activities.
The other promotional activities that brought up India to this position include the IT Corridor project. Conceptualized by Singapore ‘s Jurong Town Corporation Private Ltd, the IT corridor Project was initiated by the Department of IT and the Bangalore Development Authority in order to develop state of the art facilities for the development of knowledge based industries.

Thought’s of some World’s IT leaders about India

“Economic growth will force better governance, and better governance will feed more economic growth”

SV, NYC, USA
The people and communities at large feel that they don’t have the ability to make a difference

Juzar Singh Sangha, Bedford
India has to take more care of the village population who are still struggling to live properly

John Karondukadavil, India, Living in Poland, Jaslo
India can become a superpower if she concentrates on the technology market niche

Devyani Prabhat, Jersey City, USA
India must counter its skills and wage crisis

Pallavi, Sydney, Australia

Hopefully India will lead the world towards a more humane and tolerant future

Nilesh, Antwerp, Belgium

India needs to take strong and clear cut decisions to emerge as a global player

Nivedita Nadkarni, Madison, USA
India is a country gaining economic ground in the world

Justin, Bristol, UK
Indians now have to develop a sense of national pride

Leila, USA
India will never be a superpower, much less a global power

Jonathan, Boston, USA
India has had a sharp increase in the estimated number of HIV infections

Sezai, Eskisehir, Turkey
India’s economic success is built on the sacrifices of previous generations

Shekhar Scindia, Edison, NJ, USA
While India’s economic growth is encouraging, its sustainability is doubtful

Sigismond Wilson, Sierra Leonean in Michigan, USA

Conclusion
India is a perfect solution for all those companies, which seek for cheap, yet technically skilled labor who have innovative minds and state of art to work over a project. The ample of facilities provide in a perfect working conditions. For rest, cyber laws are there to monitor and safeguard everyone’s interest related to IT sector.
All these reasons contribute for India to be as the most adored destination to many companies. . So we can conclude:

•India poised for an explosive growth in ICT
•India emerging as a global R&D Hub
•From brain drain to brain gain
•Millions of jobs will be created in ICT & other emerging technology areas
•Quality issues will have to be addressed
•Private Sector world class institutions will emerge with global collaborations
•India will reclaim its ancient heritage of the world’s most advanced knowledge-based civilization called “Bharat”.

India will become Warehouse of IT in the world
.

References
1. Goodman, Seymour E.; Burkhart, Grey E.; Foster, William A.; Mittal, Arun; Press, Laurence I.; and Tan, Zixiang (Alex), The Global Diffusion of the Internet Project, Asian Giants On-Line, Chapter 3 (India) and Chapter 4 (China), The Global Information Technology Assessment Group, Fairfax, VA, November 1998.
2. Press, L., Developing Networks in Less Industrialized Nations, IEEE Computer, vol. 28, no. 6, June 1995, PP 66-71.
3. [http://www.stpn.soft.net]
4. An Indian Perspective on IT & Engineering Programs ,Vijay Bhatkar, International Institute of Information Technology, Pune, India
5. Nasscom
6. Anuranjan Misra ” Software outsourcing from India” National Seminar on Strategies in Business Process Outsourcing”, IIMS, Bareilly, INDIA, Dec. 08-09 2004.
7. Anuranjan Misra” India – An Emerging IT Super Power” International Seminar on India 25 Years and Hence, IIMS, Bareilly, INDIA, Fev. 08,2006.

Internet and Business Online – Dealing With Entitlement Issues

Let’s face it; the web is filled with entitlement issues. For a few dollars a month we gain access to the world via an Internet connection. We want sports scores and we don’t want to wait for the sports networks on television to scroll their list, so we log on and get the score. We missed a portion of a television show we like so we log on and often find the program available to watch on demand.

We gain free access to online encyclopedias and dictionaries.

We play along with game shows and sit at the computer to find the answers before the contestant does.

We want to know more about the weather and a few clicks later we know.

We want the ratings on a car we’re thinking about buying and we find it online.

There is often one underlying prerequisite to our online perusal. We do not want to have to pay to get the information. This information is typically thought to come at no cost when we pay to log onto the Internet.

The entitlement issues have largely been managed by websites competing with other forms of media for your attention. If a site is brokering knowledge they will typically offset the expense by infusing Google AdSense Ads or other PPC or banner ads into the site thus allowing the visitor to have access to the information without the concern of payment.

Even fee-based sites generally have a free tier of service for anyone. A perk-filled membership is generally available at a modest price. If a visitor gains significant value from the free tier they may be inclined to purchase a membership if they feel the extended value is worth it.

Interestingly many sites that are entirely fee-based may struggle more than those with at least a most basic free tier of service.

Whether the mentality is correct or not the Internet has accommodated those who may have a feeling that the world owes them something. Obviously businesses online can’t give product away, but they can and are infusing their sites with information and free downloads that add incredible value at no cost to consumers. This strategy has become a primary component to improving trust between online business and potential consumer.

Websites are filled with free podcasts, video streams, game downloads, teaching materials, recipes, home improvement tips, garden development plans and information on virtually any subject you can think of.

To online businesses it may seem unfair to have to find alternative ways to fund free information and advice, especially when you may be used to being paid for the information you can provide.

In most cases the information provided is designed to work as part of a marketing strategy pointing visitors to products and services you make available. The knowledge-based content provides information that coincides with something you can offer the customer.

Since face-to-face connections are not easily managed online this strategy not only tackles the entitlement issue, but it is useful in developing a trusting relationship with those who do not easily pass on their trust.