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Wed, Aug 08, 2001 - Page 18 News List

Internet service and content providers search for ways to get users to pay


While dotcoms around the world are trying to find profit-making business models, Taiwan's Inter-net service providers (ISP) and Internet content providers (ICP) are looking into ways to charge users for their services, according to a survey conducted by Openfind Information Tech-nology Inc (網擎資訊).

The survey also shows that a considerable number of users are willing to pay in order to get better service.

Thirty-four percent of those polled are willing to pay for the information and services they receive from ICPs or ISPs. Based on the survey results, Openfind has decided to charge members of its "Cyber Information Agent," an Internet search engine, for information and services they offer.

In the past year, quite a few of Taiwan's Internet portal sites have succumbed to the bursting of the Internet bubble when their profit-making models based on cyber advertisement income were found to be virtually worthless. The concept of offering free content and free services has made dotcoms money burning companies without revenues.

Leading ICPs and ISPs in Taiwan are studying ways to have their users pay for the services. Seednet, Taiwan's largest ISP, for instance, has started paying online services for horoscopes, fortune-telling, financial and money management consulting, and online anti-virus services.

Early last month, Jan Hung-tze (詹宏志), head of the now extinct online newspaper the Tomorrow Times (明日報), launched five subscription-based online dailies, beginning July 14.

The five new subscription-based online services are focused on venture capital, insurance, the communications industry, financial investment and biotechnology, Jan said, adding that they would position themselves as a "wireless content and service aggregator."

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