Report: Internet Brands Reach Public Consciousness

A new study shows that a whole new class of American mega-brands — Internet brands–have burst onto the scene, such as new household names America Online, Yahoo, Netscape, amazon.com, priceline.com, Infoseek and Excite.

The study shows that these seven Internet brands have all reached household- name status, each achieving a projected awareness of more than 50 million, or better than 1 in 4 U.S. adults. The study reports that these brands are also surprisingly strong with non-Internet users.

In an omnibus survey conducted by Opinion Research Corp. International of Princeton, NJ, on behalf of priceline.com, the research organization polled a nationally projectable sample of 1,013 adults by phone over a four-day period in mid-September.

The poll measured consumer awareness of selected leading Internet brands and their products. The study has a projected accuracy range of plus or minus 3%.

The study found the adult awareness of the brands was: AOL, 152.9 million (78.8%); Yahoo, 99.7 million (51.4%); Netscape, 94.3 million (48.6%); amazon.com 72.6 million (37.4%); priceline.com, 62.5 million (32.2%); Infoseek, 53.0 million (27.3%): and Excite 50.8 million (26.2%).

Among non-Internet users, the seven best-known Internet brands were: AOL, 57.5 million (65.3%); priceline.com, 22.9 million (26.0.%); Yahoo, 18.9 million (21.5%); Netscape 15.3 million (17.4%); amazon.com, 11.8 million (13.4%), Reel.com, 10.7 million (12.2%) and C/Net, 10.3 million (11.7%).

“The Internet is giving rise to a whole new class of brands that have successfully crossed the 50-million ‘mega-brand’ threshhold,” said James Dettore, president and CEO of Brand Institute, which says it is the nation’s largest brand identity company. “The last time we saw the creation of a whole new mega-brand category was with personal computers and software. Just as in other consumer categories, leading Internet mega-brands have begun to emerge, although that group will undoubtedly grow.”

“It’s also becoming clearer what it will take to join that group,” Dettore said. “As noted in ‘Discipline of Market Leaders,’ by Michael Treacy and Frederik D. Wiersema, brands ‘can’t be everything to everyone.’ Like brick- and-mortar leaders, Internet brands need to target at least one of the three consumer propositions to be successful–best product, best price or best service. Each of the Internet mega-brands has successfully built on a unique consumer proposition and a well-executed, often highly targeted marketing strategy. It also doesn’t hurt that six of the seven brands are publicly held companies, with high levels of investor buzz.”

According to the Opinion Research poll, Internet brand awareness was as follows:

Internet Brand Awareness Among All U.S. Adults Total Interviewed = 1013 Projected Total Adults = 194 million

Company Year Founded Awareness
America Online 1985 152.9 million
Yahoo 1994 99.7 million
Netscape 1994 94.3 million
Amazon.com 1996 72.6 million
Priceline.com 1998 62.5 million
Infoseek 1994 53.0 million
Excite 1995 50.8 million
Hotmail 1995 48.9 million
MSN 1995 46.8 million
Lycos 1993 44.4 million
C/Net 1995 41.7 million
CD Now 1995 36.5 million
Reel.com 1997 35.3 million
Sportszone 1995 32.6 million
Geocities 1995 28.7 million
AutobyTel 1995 28.7 million
E*Trade 1983 24.8 million
Preview Travel 1995 18.4 million
Onsale.com 1994 17.1 million
Net Market 1997 15.5 million
Travelocity 1996 14.6 million
E-Bay 1995 11.1 million
Expedia 1996 8.9 million
N2K 1985 7.0 million

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