Differences In Public Web Sites: The Current State Of Large U.S. Firms


Dale Young
John Benamati


In the summer of 1999, the public Web sites of all the Fortune 500 were visited to identify the predominate types of site content and determine the extent to which the sites are transactional. The study found that these Web sites are largely informational - they focus on publishing product and financial materials about the firm. Four categories of site content emerged - Customer Sales, Customer Service, Communication, and Informational. The types of content provided on Web sites vary significantly across industries. Thus, the research contributes to the understanding of the content large companies provide via the Web. The study also found that over one third of the public Web sites are transactional. Transactional sites allow visitors to place an order or perform some type of financial transaction, and may force them to log on. The use of the Web to perform business transactions varies across industries. A cross-industry comparison reveals that the industries most likely to offer transactions over the Web are airlines, commercial banks, computer hardware and software, network and telecommunications, and retailers. Thus, the research also contributes to the understanding of the level that public Web sites are used for business transactions.

Published Date: 

August, 2000

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