BOSTON--Even though the Web's popularity continues to explode, proprietary online services such as CompuServe and Prodigy will still thrive because they offer features the Internet doesn't, according to Edward Bennett, president and CEO of Prodigy Services.
"Online services are aggregators, and aggregrators save people time," said Bennett during his lunchtime speech here today at the Fourth International World Wide Web Conference. "Everyone laughed at Ted Turner when he said he was going to aggregrate news. They said to him, 'You can get news anywhere,'" commented Bennett.
Online services also provide greater ease of use, better navigational tools, and secure transactions, claimed Bennett. They also enforce access control for children, an Internet issue being hotly debated in the face of pending legislation to censor the Net.
Finally, said Bennett, online services pay for content. Speaking to a roomful of content developers, Bennett said, "We need content, and you have it, and you need an economic model that works."
Bennett added that there will be a convergence of the commercial providers and the Internet over time. Prodigy, for example, has close to 200 Web sites and now uses HTML for all content development.