3.1.2Information Push and Information Pull
On the current Internet, there are two ways in which information can flow from source to consumer:
From the early days of the Internet up until now, Information Pull has been the most dominant force in the information market. A few years ago, this meant that consumers of information would take the initiative to visit a site/to get information. They got there by casual browsing the Net, because it was recommended by someone else (e.g. in a Usenet article), or by some other way. As the number of sites and services on the Internet began to rise dramatically, Information Pull - in this form - began to loose its appeal and power as it became too time-consuming and too laborious. As search engines and directory services (such as Yahoo) appeared on the Internet, they were able to restore most of Information Pull's appeal, but this effect is now gradually wearing off.
The following diagram gives a general overview of the current situation:
Diagram 1 - the current set-up of the online information chain
In this diagram we see supplier-driven Information Push on the left side, and user-driven Information Pull on the right side. The tools, services and techniques that are at the disposal of both parties are listed as well (these listings are by no means exhaustive).
Another thing the diagram is meant to illustrate is that the current setup is far from ideal. In chapter two we have seen that Push only seems to work for pushing 'main-stream' information (e.g. weather forecasts and stock information), which is coming from those sources that can afford to spend the time and money needed to employ Push Technology. This means that many (smaller) suppliers still have to depend on their own creativity to reach the right users. And as only about one fifth of all Internet users are using Push Technology this means that the majority of people are still out in the cold trying to get what they want.
1= See section 2.2 for more detailed information on this topic.