Tied to the mast
…but orange now and black

Teh 1n+3rw3b$$$$

Not sure what it means where this Computer World article claims that a study has shown that the Internet has “created 1.2 million jobs.” The Internet bears on so much of the economy that I would be curious exactly where they draw the line. Adding to the ambiguity, the IAB (who funded the study), in presenting it on their website, give a completely different number… putting the Internet’s employment numbers at upwards of 3 million.

Here’s their summary of the study’s findings:

The study looks at the entire interactive marketing ecosystem, which includes:

  • The ad-supported Internet, narrowly defined as the content and usage supported by an estimated $23.4 billion of Internet advertising in 2008
  • E-commerce
  • E-mail, the cornerstone of lead generation and customer care for many companies
  • Enterprise websites, the Web sites that businesses, large and small, develop and maintain for communication.

Among some of the other important findings:

  • Small businesses have thrived as a result of the Internet:
    • There are more than 20,000 Internet-related small businesses in the U.S. that provide a variety of services such as web hosting, ISP services, web design, publishing, and Internet-based software consulting. Many of these businesses have 10 or fewer employees.
  • Internet-related employment is particularly important to certain areas of the country but exists in every one of the 435 U.S. Congressional Districts. Some Congressional Districts have more than 6,000 Internet-related employees.
  • Interactive advertising has substantially reduced what consumers have to pay for access to the Internet and for e-commerce products and services. In addition to its financial contribution to the U.S. economy, the Internet has produced large social consequences as an infrastructure and platform, providing American society comprehensive qualitative benefits that include:
    • Universal access to an almost unlimited source of information
    • Increased productivity (output per unit of capital or labor, or increased consumer utility at a lower cost)
    • Innovation in business practices, consumer behavior, commerce and media
    • Empowerment of entrepreneurs to start small businesses, find customers and grow
    • Environmental benefits derived from saving natural resources lowering pollution through the reduced use of petroleum-based fuels and paper

“The results of this study confirm the vast influence and driving importance of the ad-supported Internet to the overall economy,” said Randall Rothenberg, President and CEO, IAB. “By understanding the total contribution of the Internet to the U.S. economy, we can more accurately assess the impact of potential legislative changes on the Internet’s operations, particularly the consequences of any actions that would alter ad-supported business models.”

Apparently, though the study is considered to have been independent, the political agenda of the funding boday (the IAB) is towards self-regulation in terms of issues like privacy and piracy. Presumably they’re looking to  present the Internet as a vibrant market in order to leverage neo-classical arguments against regulation advocates.

I would be interested in exploring their findings more closely.  Don’t have time now, but maybe later I’ll see if I can turn up a copy of the report itself.

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