True or false? About 500 Web sites may be operating illegal pyramid schemes. There are 11 "wanted" posters on the Wells Fargo Bank site. Reebok attempts to respond to email requests 24 hours a day.
The answer to all three statements is "true," and they have one more thing in common. These miscellaneous facts are all a part of a Win Treese's Web site, Internet Index, a chronicle of funky facts from and about the Net.
Treese, an Open Market employee, has been posting the index--a farmer's almanac of sorts on the Web--on the Open Market Playground since 1993, and it has become a popular Web site.
Set up as an experimental area, the Playground houses projects created by individual Open Market employees. Listed next to the Boscam site, which looks out onto Cambridge, Massachusetts, across the Charles River to Boston, is Trese's Internet Index.
As an engineer for the company, he works on security and payment technologies, but for fun, Treese rakes the Net looking for obscure statistics and tracking the medium's growth.
Treese collects and organizes Internet statistics on a regular basis. Most seem to be a useful roundup of what's happening with the Net:
Number of state attorneys general working with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to evaluate regulation of fraudulent medical claims on the Internet: 39
Estimated number of Internet users in China at the end of 1996: 100,000
Estimated number of adult Americans who use the Web daily: 9 million
Number of federal court class-action securities complaints available online: 64
Number of lawsuits filed by the Federal Trade Commission alleging online scams: 15
Number of occurrences of the word "the" in documents indexed by Alta Vista: 432,118,690
Advertising revenue on the Web in the third quarter of 1996: $66 million
Back in December of 1993, before every corner had an Internet service provider, the landscape on the Net looked a lot different. Treese's trivia served as harbingers of a new electronic era, not just as factoids.
Average time between new networks connecting to the Internet: 10 minutes
Number of online coffeehouses in San Francisco: 18
Date of first Internet mail message sent by a U.S. president: March 2, 1993
Date of first Stephen King short story published via the Internet before print publication: September 19, 1993
Advertised network numbers in October 1993: 16,533
Number of Internet hosts in United States, per 1,000 people: 4
Number of Silicon Valley real estate agencies advertising with email addresses: 1
Number of people on the Internet who know you're a dog: 0
Well, maybe some of his facts are useless.