This is from the May 2003 issue of FORTUNE magazine. Brief commentary/report on E-Commerce and E-Marketing. I thought it was too important not to share this piece:
"Sales in U.S. retail stores are just barely up. Meanwhile, online sales grew 27% last year, to $45.6 billion. eBay, where you can buy practically anything online, more than doubled its profit in the first quarter, to $104 million, while revenues were up 94%, to $476 million. Despite the burst dot-com bubble, e-commerce companies that understand what consumers want and can deliver it are still growing at a rate that few other consumer businesses their size have ever attained.
Advertising and marketing are simultaneously being transformed. Google, which only months ago, it seems, was accused of having a useful service that could never make money, is now rolling in so much dough that CEO Schmidt says going public was not even discussed at the most recent board meeting. Google makes hundreds of millions of dollars selling advertising keyed to the words that people search for. Advertisers only pay if people click. "What we're doing is using computers to solve one of the unsolved problems in marketing, which is the measuring of things," says CEO Schmidt. Advertisers clearly prefer a medium in which they know exactly who looked at their ad, and in which they only pay if the ad is seen. Industries like TV and magazine publishing, which rely on a quasi-religious faith that the ads they carry really do reach the people they're meant for, could find themselves pressured by the new technologized models. Major advertisers like Ford and McDonald's are upping the amount they spend on online advertising.
In the face of this user-friendly, industry-jamming world of networked technology, only the most culturally nimble, clear-thinking, and specialized tech companies will survive and thrive. If you insist on investing in tech, stock up on antacid. And it won't hurt to have a few Tibetan chants thrown your way."