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E-Business Secrets
Brian Livingston
Broadband users 60 percent more likely to buy on the Web

Households with high-speed (broadband) access to the Internet are 60 percent more likely to make a purchase on the Web than households with slower dial-up access, according to a study of more than 22,000 U.S. respondents.

Centris, the Philadelphia-based research firm that conducted the study, says broadband users spend an average of 38 percent more on their Internet purchases than dial-up users. In part, this is because broadband surfers are twice as likely to have household incomes more than $100,000 than dial-up surfers.

Unfortunately for e-commerce sites, only 5 million U.S. households have broadband access, while a far larger number -- 37 million -- are limited to dial-up modem speeds. The study covered the period from the fourth quarter of 2000 to the first quarter of 2001.


Livingston's E-Business Book Review

Many books teach HTML programming, but interface designer Nathan Shedroff has created a unique book that helps you understand why you would want to make a Web site look and act a certain way.

"Experience Design 1" includes an analysis of dozens of useful, innovative, and just plain cool Web sites -- far too many to describe here.

Although the book does include some sites that are gorgeous but useless, it also covers numerous sites that make money. is the obvious case, but you'll probably learn more from the less-well-known examples:

1. TerraMia ( a San Francisco ceramics shop, allows you to design and paint your own pottery on the Web.

2. Music Buddha ( lets you rate audio clips, after which the site recommends new CDs you might like to purchase.

Shedroff's book is a great way to look with new eyes at Web sites and what they can do (and sell).

"Experience Design 1"

By Nathan Shedroff (New Riders Publishing)

Livingston's Top 10 news picks of the Week

1. eBay cracks down on links to e-commerce sites

2. Book site sells reviews for $295 per volume

3. Computing sales tax on e-commerce can get sticky

4. How Yahoo failed to change with the times

5. ICANN cuts elections in proposed budget to zero

6. Company will charge $1,200 for drug treatment via Web

7. Four different ways to maximize return on investment

8. New browser technology will circumvent censorship

9. improves revenues from paid search listings

10. Does the Net need a plain-speaking "truth squad"?

This Week's "They can't do that on the Web" page

Option boxes -- those drop-down boxes that provide Web surfers with a list of all of a site's possible choices -- are often overdone. But when they're used properly (to give surfers a quick way to specify only legal choices), they can be a handy time-saver.

Now HTML programmer Joe Burns shows how to give option boxes a new twist by highlighting some drop-down menu choices in a different color. This could be useful when your Web site wants to emphasize one choice as the "best value" or something similar.

Surprisingly, the effect requires only one line in the definition of a cascading style sheet. The colors Burns uses to illustrate the technique are truly ghastly, but in the hands of a skilled designer this method could improve the workability of your drop-down lists.

How To Make Fancy Highlighted Drop-Down Boxes

E-Business Secrets: Our mission is to bring you such useful and thought-provoking information about the Web that you actually look forward to reading your e-mail.

About the Author: E-Business Secrets is written by InfoWorld contributing editor Brian Livingston. Research Directors are Ben Livingston (no relation) and Eryn Paull. Brian has published 10 books, including:

Windows Me Secrets:

Windows 2000 Secrets:

Win a book free if you're the first to send a tip Brian prints:

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