Push Technology Is for the Birds, Reader Survey Says

Quick, somebody send a memo to Microsoft Corp. and Netscape Communications Corp.: Stop developing push solutions -- most users hate them with a passion. Oops, too late.

Quick, somebody send a memo to Microsoft Corp. and Netscape Communications Corp.: Stop developing push solutions -- most users hate them with a passion. Oops, too late.

According to 1,900 people who responded to US PC World Online's survey last week, push deserves an award for being the second dumbest idea in high-tech history after Microsoft Bob.

You'd think that a year of hype and plenty of products from PointCast Inc., Microsoft, Netscape and others would get people to bite. But of all the readers we surveyed, only 28.7 percent have subscribed to any push "channels," and of those who have subscribed, many aren't thrilled.

Other interesting findings: Of push subscribers, 41 percent use Microsoft's Active Channels most, 29 percent use PointCast most, and 15 percent use Netscape's Netcaster most. And 73 percent of people answering our survey admit that they subscribe to push channels for personal interests, while only 27 percent say they subscribe to business-related services. The reason may be obvious: Many organizations forbid or limit the use of push on their networks because it tends to choke the gateways.

Among subscribers' most popular sites are CNN, Disney, MSNBC, USA Today, ABC News, ESPN, and the Weather Channel.

But here's the clincher: 92 percent of people surveyed prefer using their browser's Bookmarks or Favorites features -- only eight percent would rather get their information via pushed channels.

One comment from a survey participant sums it up succinctly, "Having Web content shoved down my throat completely defeats the interactivity I enjoy from the Net. If I wanted that, I'd watch TV."

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