Webonomics, by Evan I. Schwartz, is a practical, strategic tool for positioning
and growing your business in the today’s exploding World Wide Web economy.

Schwartz addresses the unique problems and rewards businesses can expect to
encounter when conducting business in cyberspace. He also dispels some of the
most common misconceptions about doing business on the Web. More importantly,

Schwartz targets the key to business success on the Web: understanding consumer
behaviors and expectations. From scores of case studies, Schwartz has formulated
nine guidelines for growing your business on the Web. Schwartz’s analysis of
these cases clearly explains why some businesses thrive and others fail
miserably on the Web. To illustrate Schwartz’s nine principles of Webonomics,
this synopsis includes only a handful of his case studies. To apply his nine
principles, Schwartz warns that we must first understand the motivations behind
four main groups involved in the Web economy: The consumers, the content
creators, the marketers, and the infrastructure companies (3). The consumers are
in the driver’s seat. They expect to make the Web a place of their own, a
place of customized information and relationships. The content creators are
those ventures that inhabit the Web and attempt to inform and amuse visitors.

Content creators attempt to enhance their brand image and somehow make their Web
sites profitable ventures. The marketers represent the thousands of companies
that are promoting and selling products and services. The marketers who use a
traditional approach to advertise, market, and sell their product on the Web
will fall short of success. Finally, the infrastructure companies are selling
the tools (hardware and software) to reach this digital landscape. Keeping these
four main groups in mind, we now examine Schwartz’s nine principles of

Webonomics. Principle 1: Quality of Experience, Not Quantity of Visitors Web
surfers base the quality of their experience on the total experience of visiting
a Web site. The visitor to a site wants a place where he or she can identify and
communicate with others who have similar interests. Schwartz refers to this as"community." The goal is to offer something that causes visitors to return
repeatedly to your site; something that grabs and keeps their attention. One of
the most common misconceptions about the Web is that sheer numbers are proof
that your site is successful – that all you have to do is run up big numbers,
then sell advertising space on your site to marketers who want to reach your
audience (36). But reliance on sheer audience size is a recipe for success on
television (mass media), not the Web. For content creators, the top priority
must be to form a lasting bond with individual consumers and making sure that
they are satisfied enough to return again and again. If consumers pay a
subscription fee for some of your content, this serves as tangible proof that
you are providing a quality Web experience. The Wall Street Journal is one of
the few content sites on the Web that actually manages to do both – attract a
large audience and provide a high-quality, interactive experience to a core
group of consumers. To illustrate the importance of a quality experience,

Schwartz contrasts two adult Web sites: Playboy and Bianca’s Smut Shack. Given
its well-known brand name, it is easy to understand how Playboy’s site has as
many as 100,000 visitors daily. In contrast, Smut Shack attracts only a quarter
of the number of daily visitors experienced by Playboy’s site. But numbers do
not necessarily equate to success or quality! Here are some of the reasons: The
average Playboy visitor spends eight to ten minutes at the site, while the
average Smut Shack visitor returns ten times per month and spends an average of
an hour each time (25). However, it is unknown how many of Playboy’s daily
hits are repeat visitors because of information not disclosed by Playboy

Enterprises. Essentially, Playboy’s site has very few interactive features
that allow visitor participation and the site is only updated an average of
twice monthly. The Website, which allows visitors to view a few photos from its
magazine, is mainly an advertisement for its print edition. On the other hand,

Smut Shack is built around the ability to let people interact and contribute to
the ambiance through its many interactive features (26). Visitors choose an
online name and can become part of the intimate activities in different"rooms" on the site. Visitors have an opportunity to actively participate in
ongoing bulletin board discussions and chat sessions with other people hanging
out there at that moment (24). Unlike Playboy’s site, Smut Shack’s site is
constantly changing, which enhances the total experience