Groups wanting to build communities of like-minded people should start free Internet service providers, suggests Brian Milnes, Pacific region managing director of Nielsen/Netratings.
This will be the next move beyond the portal. Already there is a launch pending in New Zealand, he says, with "someone involved in direct marketing" scheduled to make an ISP announcement soon. He declined to identify the organisation.
Providing the connection itself could be a powerful way of attracting people into a community of buyers, says Milnes. It would be an attractive tactic for a direct seller like Amway to attract members, for example; but trade unions and even churches in Australia had mooted the strategy. They may, however, prefer to team with an existing ISP rather than go to the expense of starting one from scratch.
Nielsen recently published its April figure for use of the Internet in New Zealand, confirming that of the countries surveyed, Kiwis trail only the US. The survey rates New Zealand against Ireland, Australia, Singapore, the UK and the US.
Although Nielsen/Netratings surveys Japan, figures from that country are not included in the latest survey, because they are still slightly at odds with those from English-speaking countries, and the latter provide a more meaningful comparison, Milnes says. New Zealanders with an Internet link available in the home rate on the average 15 hours' use a month (as against Australia's 12, UK 11 and 19 for the US).
The Nielsen figures are based on the activities of user panels, who volunteer to have their Internet usage tracked. The New Zealand panel now numbers about 3780.
New Zealand leads in the average number of unique sites visited by home users (19, as against 11 for the US). Milnes suggests this might be because "brand loyalty" to sites and firms is not as advanced here as in the US.
But New Zealand's mix of relatively new immigrant communities could also play a part, with people from overseas frequently visiting sites linked to their origins. Time will bring more brand loyalty, he says, and the "unique sites" figure will diminish.
Big brands continue to dominate Nielsen's figures on Net activity, with the number of unique visitors estimated as follows on the basis of the panel activity (time per person in brackets):
- msn.com 287,855 (0:33:40)
- Xtra.co.nz 215,336 (0:09:31)
- Yahoo.com 211,570 (1:01:08
- Microsoft.com 158,724 (0:08:33)
- Passport.com 147,136 (0:12:00)
Nielsen/Netratings is about to take on board one of its own lessons, by starting a myNielsen//Netratings site.
Like other “my …” sites, this will give the individual Netratings client a customised picture of the Internet behaviour of the sites and sections of the population he/she is particularly interested in, without encumbering the interaction with unwanted data and prolonged searches.
It will allow clients to combine the views of data they need on to a single screen. International comparisons of organisations in the same business could, for example, be placed on a "home page”.
The myNielsen service will be launched in August.