Working via the Internet is work. Some would argue it's the work of the future. Jaclyn Easton, a columnist for the Los Angeles Times, offers intriguing insight into the emerging world of online commerce in Striking It Rich.

Com: Profiles of 23 Incredibly Successful Websites That You've Probably Never Heard Of. While it's been claimed that there's not yet a clear business model for the Internet, Easton's subjects simply rolled up their sleeves and got to work. Their e-commerce ventures are not household names and their level of financial disclosure varies, but all are showing significant growth. Their offerings (power tools, perfume, printing services) and sources of revenues (sales, advertising) are all over the map. Easton knows the territory and these short case studies are highly recommended for anyone contemplating making the plunge to the Web. These early arrivals are doing quite well.

(One of the things I learned from the book is this: hits are not people. The nomenclature of Web sites is filled with references to how many hits a site receives in a month. You'd think that means individuals going to the site. But hits relate to the number of files needed to connect you to a site, with text and graphics making up individual hits. So calling up one home page one time might register any number of hits for that site.) Neal Lipschutz is managing editor of Dow Jones News Service.

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