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Despite spending up to $20 million to establish a truly differentiated Web presence, Fortune 100 Web sites are surprisingly dysfunctional, according to an extensive Web audit conducted by ParaSoft Corp., a Monrovia, Calif., provider of software error prevention and detection solutions.

ParaSoft's report shows top corporate Web sites riddled with flaws such as coding, link, and HTML errors it says "seriously threaten corporate returns on Internet investments." For example, the Web audit reports that the 95 sites examined have an average of one Web site link error every 3.5 pages and over 12 HTML coding errors per page.

Web site errors can cost companies productivity, customers, and profits. According to a recent Zona Research report, $58 million per month in e-commerce sales are lost due to Web page loading failures. Typical Web users are inclined to click elsewhere if they encounter bad links or other time-consuming Web site errors. This online attrition can be especially painful, since it takes up to $200 to cultivate each new online customer, according to a recent Wall Street Journal report.

"Global corporations are unnecessarily threatening their returns on Internet investment by making sloppy coding errors," explains ParaSoft CEO Adam Kolawa. "Our Web audit underscores the fact that the majority of these of errors are easily detectable and avoidable."

ParaSoft used its proprietary error detection technology, SiteRuler, to scan 95 of the Fortune 100 Web sites for coding errors and other functional and aesthetic glitches, and found that:

* Fortune 100 Web sites reviewed have 292,357 pages and 84,302 link errors. That means almost 29 percent of the pages contain link errors, or one link error every three and a half pages.

* In the 292,357 Web pages, there were 3,683,974 HTML coding errors. This means that on average there are over a dozen HTML coding errors per page on corporate Web sites.

* Motor Vehicles and Parts (0.65 errors per page), Pharmaceuticals (0.57 errors per page), and Diversified Financials (0.57 errors per page) were among the worst industries in terms of average number of link errors per page. Additionally, Wholesalers (0.07), Beverages (0.04), and Mail/Package and Freight Delivery (0) fared the best.

* For HTML coding errors per page by industry, Mail/Package & Freight Delivery, Petroleum Refining, and Aerospace fared the best, while General Merchandisers, Computers and Office Equipment, and Utilities ranked the worst.

"Our Web audit aims to highlight the importance of error detection and just how pervasive and damaging Web site errors are across industries," says Arthur Hicken, executive vice president of ParaSoft. "Identifying and preventing errors is crucial to not only effective Web-based commerce, but also to survival and sustained success in the new Internet economy."
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Title Annotation:Internet/Web/Online Service Information
Comment:WEB AUDIT REVEALS NUMEROUS ERRORS ON FORTUNE 100 WEB SITES.(Internet/Web/Online Service Information)
Publication:EDP Weekly's IT Monitor
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Nov 15, 1999
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