Ok, we have had a bit of theory but what are the information demands of consumers?
If we can believe Internet statistics then surfing for health information tops the polls followed by shopping and product searching. I'll come back to health in a later posting but for now lets focus on shopping info.
Shopping covers many industries/products Amazon.com, travel Expedia.com, music itunes.com, groceries Tesco.com, etc, these example focused at the retail level. The (brand)manufacturers make the products or services e.g. food Mars, Hotels Hilton, music U2, etc. With the Internet evening up the access so that small, local or niche producers can be found, Food FoveranStore, local joiner WBLittlejohn.com (disclaimer, my parents business), niche music The Sundowns, etc.
With the whole supply chain of businesses on the web too. At the other end of the demand chain of information are what I class as information advisors, these cover an equally wide range of sources, e.g. news newspapers, consumer review Which?, Experts environment, fashion Glossy Mags , consumer themselves, blogs etc. All these competing sources online, also have competitors off line, family members, friends or professional advisors you trust.
Each online source aims to make life easy for consumers but consuming lots of 'easy to use' websites becomes complex. And how do we select or find the sources we trust or are willing to trust. The Search Engines come center stage, for the whole web Google, Yahoo!, product Froogle, products with research Become.com, Images Flickr.com, Blogs, music, video etc. I'll examine the role search engines play in the next posting.
To conclude, the consumers world of information is a complex universe which needs to be made simple and easy to consume. Future posting will highlight my views on who's doing what to deliver this goal to consumers.