World Wide Web (WWW)

WWW has experienced rapid growth in size (ammount of information available on WWW) and popularity (number of WWW browsers) over the last 2-3 years. It has become the main repository of information on the Internet (essentially replacing Gopher). Its growth is being accelerated by the corporate community's use of WWW.

WWW and the browser?

There are two aspects of WWW that you need to be familar with, your web browser and WWW itself.

Your browser is a tool for viewing information on WWW. There are many types of browsers used for viewing WWW. Currently the most popular are Netscape, Mosaic and Internet Explorer. Although Internet Explorer is relatively new in the marketplace, it is bundled with Microsoft's Windows 95 and therefore could challenge Netscape for market dominance. Different browsers display WWW content in similar formats; however there are small differences. This reduces the overall control of information display from the content provider. As browsers evolve and standards become universal these differences should disappear.

The WWW project, started by CERN (the European Laboratory for Particle Physics), seeks to build a distributed hypermedia system. Hypermedia takes the form of HyperText and multimedia. HyperText is seen in a document as text that is highlighted or of a different color than other text. HyperText is used for key terms for which there is more information available. The advantage of a HyperText document is that if you want more information about a particular subject mentioned, you can "click on it" to read further detail. In fact, documents can be and often are linked to other documents by completely different authors, much like footnoting, but you can get the referenced document instantly and from the other side of the world! In addition to linking to other documents, authors will often link in pictures, movies, and sounds! Your browser will display all of these on your screen so that you can take full advantage of all that hypermedia has to offer.

Why browse WWW?

WWW is the main repository of information on the Internet. Examples of information that can be found on WWW can be seen in the tutorial section WWW and Netscape: Accessing Useful Corporate Sites. It is user friendly and its multimedia capabilities make it simple to navigate.

WWW can be of great use to new Internet users because of its ease and the way that it standardizes many of the Internet offerings. Instead of needing to learn about many different programs, how to use them, where to find them, etc., you can learn the basic interface of your browser and have almost all of the Internet open to you immediately.

How can I use WWW?

The major disadvantage of WWW is that it requires a significant amount of hardware. One must have either an Internet connection (possible if you live in the dorms, popularly called "ethernet"), or you must have a high speed modem with a PPP or SLIP connection (software that emulates a direct connection over the phone line).

Once I know how, then what do I do?

At first, the best way to use your browser to browse WWW is just to explore. Start at a homepage you know about (for example, the University of Delaware MBA home page, and follow the links that are available. Those links will lead you to other places which will have more links. Follow ones that seem interesting. Soon you will get a feel for what's usually a good lead.

After you have explored for a while, you may begin to come across other sources for home pages. One example is the magazine Newsweek. In their regular column Cyberscope, Newsweek reporters will often have short articles about offerings on the Internet, including WWW pages. More companies are also including their WWW addresses in their traditional media advertising to encourage consumers to access their sites. The tutorial will show you how to recognize these "addresses" and what to do with them.

Uses and benefits of the WWW for the Corporate Community

WWW allows businesses to make information available and interact with its constituents. This can serve several purposes including, advertising, sales promotions, marketing research and customer support. The following are some of the aspects of WWW that differentiate it from more traditional media (TV, radio etc.) and how WWW can help businesses.


WWW is a new medium that marketers are using to communicate with their customers. To determine the usefulness of WWW as a medium the marketer must be familiar with the audience of WWW with respect to its size and type.

It is important that your target market (or segment of your target market) has access to WWW. As the medium is still in the introductory/growth stage of its life cycle the number of consumers that have access to WWW is still relatively small. Various studies, including the recent GVUs WWW User Survey,, indicate the current level of use. It is important to note, however, the steep growth curve of the number of consumers with WWW access essentially making published studies dated.

North America is more advanced along the life cycle of WWW, but other countries, particularly western european countries, are advancing rapidly. This rate of growth is going to be somewhat dependent on the changes in the existing telephone systems in countries outside of North America. Telephone charges directly effect the cost of the browsers' access to WWW and hence effect the level and type of use. The deregulation of the telephone systems in Europe in 1998 will accelerate this process.

The demographics of "typical" WWW users is most attractive. While the population may be relatively small, a review of the above surveys will reveal the high levels of discretionary income users have as well as their high level of education. They are also "innovators" in product purchasing; WWW users are therefore a very a ttractive target audience when marketing new products and technologically advanced products.


Although Netiquette states that advertising is not appropriate on the Internet, there are some areas where it is allowed. Perhaps the most effective place for an "Advernet" to appear is on WWW.

Advertising on WWW is unobtrusive; that is, the user (browser) can choose what information s/he wishes to see. This is not the case with Email (junk mail sent to your Email in-basket), and Usenet News (broadcast advertisements posted to your news group cluttering up valuable discussions and waisting everybody's time).

Because advernets on WWW are unobtrusive, marketers need to develop new means to encourage their potential target market to access their information. Marketers must be sure that users are aware that they have a "Net Presence", that the latest information about their products is available over the Internet. Without an advernet plan, a marketer can only expect potential customers to find product information accidentally.

A solid advernet plan must:


WWW and the browser are a working model for the future of interactive media. An interactive medium is a medium that allows two-way flow of information. The traditional forms of mass communication media (TV, Radio, Newspapers etc.) only allow a one-way flow, from the marketer to the target market. This model is relatively inefficient since the marketer is not able to tailor its message to the individual (the message must be tailored to a generic version of the potential customer); the marketer cannot determine which individual is being exposed to the message; and the marketer cannot determine the direct response from each individual.

WWW allows the potential customer either to browse or to make a focussed query for specific product information. With each query, the customer creates more information for her/himself, truly an interactive medium. The message the customer has received has been tailored precisely to his/her own needs.

Furthermore, with each query, the customer provides the marketer with direct and immediate feedback about the effectiveness of his/her advernet. A net-savvy marketer can learn where queries are coming from and get an immediate count of the number of people accessing their information. And, if the marketer is advertising a product that customers feel comfortable purchasing with credit cards, the number of purchases generated by the advernet is immediately apparent.

Since WWW facilitates a two-way flow of communication, the browser can communicate directly with the website. This is proving very effective with regard to customer service issues.


Imagine printing a catalog and then receiving orders from that catalog--that same day! It can't happen with a paper catalog. Only with an advernet. Because WWW is an interactive medium, a customer can actually find information and make a purchase within seconds of your having published your advernet, assuming an effective advernet plan. The only part of the exchange that cannot occur is the delivery of the product. WWW "malls" and "shopping centers" allow customers to make immediate purchases of CDs, chocolates, flowers or whatever you might want! The direct feedback created by the customers' purchasing behavior allows marketers to determine the success of the information display (advernet), and change it as needed.

Using a catalog on WWW to market and sell products is much more efficient than a regular mail order catalog. The catalog can be updated continuously, hence the marketer can, for example, be certain that a customer sees information about only items that are in stock. Because of the interactive nature of this medium, customers can request more detailed information of the products offered in the catalog, and ignore detailed information of other products offered that are of no interest to the customer. Once the customer is satisfied with his/her selection, s/he can make the purchase through this medium.

Issues regarding methods of payment need to be resolved before WWW becomes a significant channel of distribution. The issues revolve around developing methods to verify buyers as well as sellers and the safe transfer of money. These concerns should be resolved very shortly, but the perception that WWW is a secure environment for commerce will still take time to develop. To avoid these concerns, companies are closing the sale off-line, encouraging customers to use the fax or telephone to transfer credit card numbers or set up a customer account.

The customer's ability to create her/his own "electronic catalog" from a marketer's advernet and the marketer's ability to reach precise "niche" markets relatively inexpensively combine to allow WWW advernets to be a powerful marketing tool for larger purchases as well. For example, Volvo USA does not expect someone to purchase a station wagon over the net; however, their advernets allow them to provide customers with the precise information they need before they go for a test drive.


WWW allows the marketer to display information for customers to browse in their own time, when the customer wants to read it. Traditional forms of advertising offer information to customers when the marketer wants (can) offer the information.

Although the customer has control over when s/he reads the information, the marketer retains more control over the currency of the product information. Changes can be made immediately no excuses about holding up the Spring Catalog for that last bit of information.

WWW allows the marketer to display the information throughout the known universe, it is not limited by geographic boundaries as are other media. The limitation is access to WWW, which although at this time is problematic, it is attractive to marketers whose target market is the newly defined "Techno- Savvy". But the audience for a marketer's WWW advernets is expanding exponentially. More and more homes have personal computers. More and more of those households are subscribing to commercial services such as America On-Line. Microsoft is now in the marketplace as are major telephone companies such as AT&T. This competition can only help grow the size of the browser market.


WWW is a new medium for publishers. Current media organizations such as Warner Bros, ( Wall Street Journal ( and Fox ( are using WWW to compliment their traditional publishing media. WWW has also seen the growth of new publishing organizations such as HotWired Inc.(

Because the barriers to entry for WWW publishing are significantly less than traditional publishing, a number of small publishers are able to publish "webzines" that focus on very specific topics. The growth of these special interest webzines are a real benefit of WWW, but the reader must be very careful to qualify the source of information.


The advantages that WWW offers businesses are also relevant to many other people: researchers that want to display information for colleagues and do on-line research, citizen groups that want to generate interest for their causes, charitable organizations trying to increase contributions and show results, even students displaying their own personal information. Anyone with information to show can take advantage of what WWW offers: multimedia, interactive information in an easy to use format.

File formats

The following are the main file formats that you may encounter while using WWW.


HTML files are by far the most common type of files that you will encounter using WWW. HTML stands for HyperText Markup Language, which is the language that is used in writing the files that your browser uses to view pages. These files are plain text files and will be displayed on your browser's viewer. These files will end in one of the extensions .html or .htm.


GIF stands for Graphics Interchange Format. These files are a type of picture that was popularized by the Compuserve On-Line Service. These files can be viewed on most systems, including IBM compatibles, Apple Macintosh machines, and UNIX systems. These files always end in the extension .gif.


JPEG stands for Joint Photographic Experts Group, the original name of the committee that wrote this standard. It is another a type of picture, and together with the GIF format, JPEG is one of the two most popular graphic file formats that you will encounter. These files end in one of the extensions .jpg or .jpeg.


MPEG stands for Moving Pictures Experts Group, which is the committee that developed this format. This type of file is used for movies. There are numerous programs which will display the MPEG format for UNIX and DOS/Windows, and there is at least one program which will work with the Macintosh environment, Graphics Converter.

Sound files

There are three main types of sound files that you will encounter on the Internet, with the following extensions: .au, .wav, and .voc. All of these files are generally supported by IBM compatibles, Apple Macintosh machines, and UNIX systems.

PostScript Files

PostScript is a language used to represent typesetting. Although mainly intended as a format for printing, there are some viewers which allow you to see a PostScript file on your display. The most popular of these is the GhostView viewer, which is freeware. PostScript files have the extension .ps.

Useful Terms

Below are some terms that you need to familiarize yourself with before getting started.

Client or Browser

These terms mean the same thing. They refer to the program that you use to view documents on WWW. Generally this will mean Netscape, Mosaic or Internet Explorer.


A server distributes documents requested by your browser (Netscape).


This stands for Uniform Resource Locator. This is the Internet standard for addresses. It has the general form protocol://hostname/dir/filename. The major protocols are:

Double Click

This is a term referring to mouse operation. To double click something, you position the mouse pointer on it and then rapidly press the left button twice. If nothing happens, just try again.

Dialog Box

When using programs like Netscape, the programmers often put features into separate parts of the program to make them easier to work with. Dialog boxes are an example. Dialog boxes are the boxes which appear on the screen when you choose to execute certain commands. They are called dialog boxes because they request more information from the user, therefore starting a "dialog".


Filenames are quite often composed of two or more parts separated by a period or dot. The last part of the filename is usually a code for what the file contains, this is called the extension.

Home Page

A home page is a page where you start from. It will usually be the first page that loads when you start Netscape. It can also refer to the primary page of a website, i.e. the University of Delaware home page.

Index to Demystifying the Internet UD Home Page
Index to Internet Tools Index to Internet Tutorials

The University of Delaware
August, 1996