On-line Yellow Pages for business to launch in May

A Web-based directory for businesses that has earned the blessing of industry heavyweights is set to launch soon, opening new ways for businesses to find partners and complete transactions on-line.

Microsoft Corp., Ariba Inc. and IBM Corp. announced the UDDI (Universal Description, Discovery and Integration) Business Registry in September of last year and billed the project as the first true Yellow Pages for the Web. The trio of vendors put out a beta version of UDDI in November and now expect a completed version of the directory will arrive by May, a Microsoft spokesman said.

Internet use rises among blue-collar workers

Despite the slowdown that has hit the U.S. economy, more labourers and factory workers than any other segment of the population went on-line for the first time in the last year, according to a new report released by Nielsen/NetRatings Inc.

The report found that 9.6 million blue-collar workers were on-line as of March 2001, up from 6.2 million in March of 2000. That rate of growth – 52 per cent – is more than twice the rate of overall Internet usage growth, according to Nielsen/NetRatings’ measurements. These users spent an average of 11 hours on-line and viewed 698 Web pages in March of this year, spread across an average of 18 sessions on the Internet.

The second fastest growing group of ‘net users was homemakers, who saw a 49 per cent jump to a total on-line population of 2.5 million. Service workers were on-line to the tune of 2.9 million people, 37 per cent higher than the year before. Salespeople also saw their ranks swell by 37 per cent to 5.6 million users. Professionals form the largest single category of Internet users, according to NetRatings’ measurements, at 18.5 million, up 23 per cent. There were 14.4 million executives/managers using the Internet, for a 21 per cent rise and 8.5 million retirees, up 28 per cent.

Privacy advocates say amended spam bill lacks teeth

When Rep. Heather Wilson (R-N.M.) introduced legislation in the U.S. in February to prevent or greatly reduce unsolicited commercial e-mail, commonly known as spam, privacy advocates cheered and lent their support.

But then some trade associations complained, and shortly thereafter the bill was amended in an U.S. congressional committee, stripped of some of its enforcement strengths. Privacy advocates now say the changes have taken the teeth out of the bill, and they are lining up to fight back. “This bill is far too weak,” said Jason Catlett, president of Junkbusters Corp., a privacy advocacy organization in Green Brook, N.J.