Intranet’ and ‘extranet’ are two terms that arose in the 1990s to describe applications of Internet technology with specific audiences rather than anyone with access to the Internet. Access to an intranet is limited by username and password to company staff, while an extranet can only be accessed by authorized third parties such as registered customers, suppliers and distributors.
This relationship between the Internet, intranets and extranets is indicated by Figure 1.16. It can be seen that an intranet is effectively a private-company Internet with access available to staff only. An extranet permits access to trusted third parties, and the Internet provides global access.
Extranets provide exciting opportunities to communicate with major customers since tailored information such as special promotions, electronic catalogues and order histories can be provided on a web page personalized for each customer. As well as using the Internet to communicate with customers, companies find that internal use of an intranet or use of an extranet facilitates communication and control between staff, suppliers and distributors.
Second, the Internet, intranet and extranet can be applied at different levels of management within a company. Table 1.4 illustrates potential marketing applications of both Internet and intranet for supporting marketing at different levels of managerial decision making. Blocky et al. (2000) examine in more detail how extranets impact business practices and relationships.
It’s hard to believe that one of the most celebrated dotcoms has now celebrated its tenth birthday. Pierre Omiya, a 28 year old French-born software engineer living in California coded the site while working for another company, eventually launching the site for business on Monday, 4 September, 1995 with the more direct name ‘Auction Web’.
Legend reports that the site attracted no visitors in its first 24 hours. The site became eBay in 1997 and site activity is rather different today; peak traffic in 2004 was 890 million page views per day and 7.7 gigabits of outbound data traffic per second. At the end of 2005, if eBay was a country it would be the 9th largest with its 157 million ‘buyers’.