Dot-coms rely on 'dubious' business information

A new study finds Internet workers rely on biased, incomplete information to make business decisions

Internet workers are relying on inaccurate information to make business decisions, exchanging objectivity for speed and convenience, a new report claims.

A new MORI survey, commissioned by business information service Hoovers Online Europe, suggests that while the Internet has made information easier to obtain, it often provides biased information. For example, many in the survey revealed they depend on information obtained from a company's Web site, even though they realise the information may not present an accurate picture of the company's operations.

The report comes at a time when Internet companies are being re-evaluated to the standards of traditional companies, and often found wanting. Investors have placed a new emphasis on dot-coms presenting a clear path to profit, while a recent study found Internet companies are more likely to hire executives with questionable backgrounds.

Compared with mainstream workers, dot-com companies "...are heavily reliant on information obtained from companies' own Web sites and appear to be less aware of [the sites'] shortcomings", the report found.

But mainstream workers have also fallen prey to the lure of easily-available, but incomplete information, the study found. "The perceived dubious quality of some of the business information on the Web does not carry much weight... with the majority of dot-com and mainstream business information seekers still trusting information on the Web, and only a minority double-checking against other sources," the report said.

A key finding was that while over half of all business information seekers say information on the Internet is sometimes of "dubious" quality, but only 15 percent say they do not trust it.

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