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IDC predicts Net backlash

The number of active Web users will grow fourfold in 1996, but a new Internet backlash is brewing, according to an IDC report.

The number of Web users will continue to boom through 1996, according to a new version of the IDC Web Index, published by International Data Corp. (IDC) in Framingham, Massachusetts. The number of users grew by eightfold during 1995. During 1996 the number of users will grow fourfold, according to the same report.

Currently the number of Web users is growing faster than the number of pages, but this ratio will flip late this year, IDC reports.

But a two-pronged backlash is brewing, according to the IDC report. On one hand, users will become increasingly frustrated with the slowness of surfing a Web clogged with URLs. Businesses with Web sites will also grow frustrated and begin to question the value of having a site.

According to IDC,1997 will be a down year for the Internet as the backlash continues. However, sales of Web tools for navigating and conducting commerce will improve next year.

A second slow-down will occur later in the decade as the growth rate for number of users decreases as a result of saturation. IDC predicts that Web-based online commerce will reach the $150-billion to $200-billion range in the year 2000.