NIELSEN RATES THE NET

THE FOLKS WHO MEASURE TV USAGE PRODUCE THE FIRST SOLID SURVEY OF THE INTERNET. THEIR FINDING: IT'S NEARLY READY FOR PRIME TIME

THE GEEKS HAVE A WORD FOR IT: vaporware. That's what the computer industry calls hopeful promises offered in place of slow-to-materialize products, whether hardware or software. And while there's nothing especially vaporous about the 26-year-old global computer network known as the Internet, the estimates of its size that have been tossed around during its meteoric rise to celebrity over the past two years have been pretty mushy. As seemingly straightforward a question as how many people use the network has produced answers that range from 3 million to 60 million. Most of those numbers are little more than guesses, some highly...

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