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When purchasing items of clothing over the internet from Argos Additions and came to the delivery terms it was not detailed anough. For instance if orders are over 100, which mine was, the delivery is free. They also offer an express delivery of 48hrs. But my order because of cost is automatically sorted and I could not access into sight to request 48 hr delivery aswell. The item was delivered 1 week later which was just in time for an occassion. luckily the outfit looked very nice! How about an improvement with your online shoppoing Argos.

Mrs.N Goodman

Amazon AOL
BEME BTinternet
Freeserve Jungle
lastminute LineOne
QXL WorldOnline
General Section


The Internet is the fastest growing medium of current times. There are now more than 15 million web sites in the world and of all these sites on the "Super Information Highway", 17% of the traffic goes to just 10 top sites, these are the ISP's (Internet Service Providers) and Portals (information sites covering numerous topics of consumer interest), such as MSN, Yahoo and AOL. In the UK, the top ISP sites ranked by number of subscribers on 1st November 2000 are as follows:

ISP No. of Subscribers
Freeserve 2 Million
AOL 1.2 Million
LineOne 1.1 Million
BTInternet 0.5 Million

There are approximately 378 million users around the world, of which 106 million are in Europe. It is estimated that 70% of users are male and the average age is between 18 and 35. The global distribution of users is shown in the table below (as of September 2000):

Africa 3.11 million
Asia/Pacific 89.68 million
Europe 105.89 million
Middle East 2.40 million
Canada & USA 161.31 million
Latin America 15.26 million
World Total 377.65 million

The Internet's origins are in the US Defence establishment, with its subsequent nurturing by the international academic and research communities - publicly-funded bodies with an interest only in innovation, ease of use and robustness of the network, and not in making a profit. The first UK connection to the Internet was through an academic network, called JANET (Joint Academic Network) which connected hundreds of the UK's higher education and research institutions including all universities.

However, the Internet soon began to take on a life of its own. In the late 1980s, as the first public dial-up accounts became popular, more and more people at work and at home used the Internet as an economic way of communicating with the world and accessing a growing array of valuable - and generally free - information.

Just a decade ago the Internet was a vision of open, shared computing. In 1991, Tim Berners-Lee, at the European Particle Physics Laboratory, developed a graphically based subsection of the Net, harnessing the power of the infamous "www" resulting in the birth of the World Wide Web. By 1993 the Internet had grown to house approximately one million web sites.

The Internet is becoming an important part of millions of people's lives. Schools, businesses, hospitals, pubs, cafes and just about everybody else are "on-line". Companies are all scrambling to try and figure out just how they can make money on the Internet, with some eager to figure out how they can prevent the Internet putting them out of business.

Now there are essentially two types of uses for the Internet - the academic and the 'commodity'. These thrive and grow side by side, interconnected and inter-related, but also with different characteristics. The research community continues to develop the innovative, experimental, high-performance Internet connections and 'backbones', whilst the commercially minded tend to focus on extending and expanding the basic, standard connections to homes and offices around the world.

With the explosion of the Internet there has been an emergence of B2C (business-to-consumer) web sites that are effectively on-line shops, trading goods and services for good old-fashioned cash (usually via supplying credit card details to the site). These include the likes of Amazon, LastMinute and Jungle whose transactions run into millions of pounds. In the UK alone the number of on-line shoppers has more than doubled since the start of the year from 2.26 Million in January 2000 to 4.7 Million in October 2000.

However, all is not necessarily well with the Internet industry. Valuations for ISPs have slumped this year (2000) - Freeserve (the U.K.'s largest ISP, on a per-subscriber basis) shares have tumbled more than 80% from a high of 977.5 pence in March and are now experiencing problems with their service as they continue to add more users. How much value for money do the ISP's provide? How many ISP's have real 'unlimited' surfing packages? What about the quality of service these on-line shops provide? What happens when you want to return something to the 'store'? How fast and efficient are their deliveries?

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