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Study: Users trust Net info

According to the results a study released by the UCLA Center for Communication Policy, many Net users surveyed said the Internet is a more important source of information than either radio or television.

The UCLA Internet Report found that 67.3 per cent of the study's Internet users think the Web is an "important" or "extremely important" source of information, while 53.1 per cent of those surveyed ranked television and 46.8 per cent ranked radio at the same levels.

Most Internet users - about 73.1 per cent - said they think books are more important sources of information than the Internet is. Internet users ranked newspapers second, with 69.3 per cent reporting that they're important information sources; the Internet was ranked the third most important source of information.

Non-Internet users ranked the Internet as the least important source of information, with only 25 per cent saying it's an "important" source of information.

Some Internet users (35.7 per cent) and almost half of non-Internet users (45.7 per cent) said that only "about half" of the information on the Internet is reliable.

"About half - 52 per cent - said most of the information is reliable and accurate. Basically, people are sceptical about what they can believe in what they're reading [on the Internet]," said Michael Sumuna, research director of the Center for Communication Policy.

He said that people seem to have a realistic approach toward what they find on the Internet. The wide publicity of Internet publications like the Drudge Report, which is reputed to be reliable only part of the time, has led people to carefully evaluate the information they get from the Internet, he said.

Both Internet users and non-users agreed that there are risks in going online - 63.6 per cent of Internet users and 76.1 per cent of non-users either agreed or strongly agreed with the statement.

ASP market yet to settle

Industry analysts Gartner have predicted that the worldwide application service provider (ASP) market will hit $25.3 billion by the end of 2004, but some early adopters and providers will be burned along the way.

"We see the beginning of what Gartner calls the "trough of disillusionment" stage of the market," said Audrey Apfel, Gartner research director. She went on to predict an increase in vendor consolidation, market restructuring, resegmentation and renaming of the market.

According to Gartner, there are currently 480 retail ASPs, 60 per cent of which will fail or be gobbled up by competitors by the end of 2001. Gartner believes those that survive will concentrate on delivering business services rather than just applications.

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