Internet Users Taking to Chat

While just about every portal and online community on the Internet features some type of chat, a look at the chat statistics released by America Online offer a glimpse at the size of the chat market.

More than 750 million messages are sent each day through AOL’s Buddy List® community and the company’s ICQ service.

According to AOL, there are more than 40 million registered users of AOL’s Buddy List and Instant Messenger services, who send more than 430 million messages each day. There are an additional 38 million registered ICQ users, who send an additional 330 million messages each day. According to AOL, more than 150,000 people, almost the total population of Ft. Lauderdale, FL, are registering for the company’s chat services each day.

AOL’s three messaging services deliver three times more messages each day than the 250 million phone calls completed by a leading telecommunications provider, and 250 million more messages than the 500 million letters sent each day via the US Post Office.

By way of comparison, it took radio 38 years to reach 50 million users, 13 years for television, and five years for the Internet to reach the 50-million-user mark. AOL’s chat services reached the first 50 million users in 2.5 years, according to AOL CTO Marc Andreessen.

“As people spend more and more time online, instant messaging is reshaping consumer habits and business processes, and is a powerful reason to get online,” Andreessen said. “People have discovered that it is the easiest way to get quick answers or the information they need without interrupting their other activities. Sending an instant message is even faster than composing an email or making a phone call and will continue to revolutionize personal and business communications.”

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