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The Web: Weaves Tapestry of Free Advice, Research
by Paul Schneider

This article originally appeared in the Arizona Business Gazette, (October 10, 1996) and is reprinted here with permission.

I suspect most small business operators would be pleasantly surprised at the amount of market research and advice available free on the Web. I know I was when I looked up There, Dataquest quantifies its forecasts for the substantial growth in the U.S. cellular market. The article goes on to explain the marketplace confusion caused by PCS (personal communication services) operators, the continuing fall of average monthly revenue per subscriber and the coming explosion in "smart" phones that do everything but the laundry. The Dataquest item, like many of the articles I saw, is a teaser for the sale of full-blown reports. But even the truncated articles seemed to be pretty good starting points for decision-makers trying to size up markets for entry or expansion.

Sometimes you enter cyberspace only to come right back to town. That was the case with the Web sites operated by high-tech research outfits In-Stat of Scottsdale and Forward Concepts of Tempe. At, I learned about the price wars under way in the satellite TV business. Meanwhile, the future of cable modems is explored at

Then there is, the Internet home of Gartner Group Inc., which ranks itself as the world's leading independent adviser of research and analysis to business professionals making information-technology decisions. In an article titled, "What will become of the information resource center in 2001?" Gartner concludes that an IRC should question all of its operating principles. More Gartner advice: Never market IRC capabilities. Instead emphasize end-user benefits.

Jupiter Communications at had an insightful piece on IBM's aggressive move into online commerce and banking. I also checked out the home page of Hambrecht & Quest, the San Francisco-based investment banker for emerging growth companies. In "PC Hardware: Corporate and Consumer Demand," H&Q recasts strong demand for the rest of the year and accelerated demand in 1997. Sales will be driven in part by aggressive vendor price points, the transition to Pentium and migration to the 32-bit operating platform. In fact, spending on technology by the retail industry is expected to grow 22 percent this year, according to a report in Ernst & Young's site at

I found these sites on a list of about 2,200 URLs I picked up at a recent IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers) conference in Phoenix. The list, "Technology, Telecommunications, Policy and Research Resources on the Internet," was compiled by Mark Goldstein of the International Research Center in Tempe. He sells it for $12.95. To get one, call (602) 470-0389 or e-mail

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