As an industry, the Internet is one of the most dynamic and evolving sectors of the United States and world economies. But the Internet (or more precisely, the World Wide Web) is not a traditional field such as manufacturing or health care. It is a delivery method and platform for information, communication, content, commerce, and many other things. Many subsectors of Internet services and online commerce have emerged. Most Internet companies fall into one of two main groups: companies that provide Internet infrastructure, services, and security that enable the World Wide Web to thrive; and those that offer goods or services via the Web. Some Internet companies, such as Google, operate in more than one sector, while others specialize in one area.
Search engines are specialized Web sites that use automated software agents called spiders, crawlers, robots, and bots to index Web sites and help user find information on the World Wide Web. Major search engine players include Google (which controls about 87 percent of the market), Microsoft, and Yahoo!, Inc.
Countless companies sell their products and services on the Internet. Some are “brick-and-mortar” companies, such as Best Buy or Sears, that have an online presence; while other companies have no physical stores. Amazon, the leading online retailer in the world, opened its first physical store in 2015, and has steadily opened more retail outlets since then. There are also highly profitable online auction sites, such as eBay, which allow users to sell directly to other users.
Internet marketing refers to marketing efforts that use the social media and Web sites to drive sales—either online or at brick-and-mortar stores. These methods are typically used in conjunction with traditional types of advertising such as television, radio, newspapers, and magazines. Some social media and IT companies may also market their services and products to other businesses.
Advertising is big business on social media. Social networking advertising spending in the United States reached $26.95 billion in 2018, according to eMarketer, up from $15.63 billion in 2016. Overall online advertising revenue (which includes advertising done on social media) in the U.S. is predicted to reach $160.8 billion by 2023, according to Global Entertainment & Media Outlook 2019–2023, a report from the professional services firm PwC. Social media and IT companies seek to convince clients to advertise their products or services on their Web sites or apps. On the other hand, a social media company may seek to raise its market profile by purchasing advertising on other Web sites and through radio, TV, and print ads.
Some social media companies have dedicated marketing and advertising departments. Others hire consulting firms that specialize in online marketing and advertising, including via social media.
Social media sites often publish content submitted by individuals or companies and other organizations, or they may create and publish their own content. Internet content providers include:
There are six different types of social media companies or organizations:
There are many other types of online companies, including online reputation protection firms, cloud-computing companies, “daily deal” sites (such as Groupon), career-search sites and firms, food delivery sites such as Grubhub and Slice, and dating sites. Today almost every business has an online component, and the creativity inspired by the Web fuels the appearance of new online businesses and services almost daily.
Many new careers have emerged as social media sites have grown in popularity. Vice presidents of social strategy oversee a company’s overall social media policy. Social media directors manage the development and execution of a company’s social media strategy. Online reputation managers monitor social media sites, often perusing Twitter, Facebook fan pages, or company Web site forums to watch for negative comments or content posted by customers. They try to defuse the situation by redirecting comments or, in serious cases, burying the negative responses to push them far down on forums or search engine results. Community managers oversee the content used in company blogs and monitor activity on forums. They are also on constant lookout for defamatory remarks or other negative feedback. Community managers also use Facebook fan pages, Twitter, and other social media tools to attract new site visitors and keep them coming back to the site. Chief conversation officers have many of these same duties, but they are responsible for the “big picture” and telling a company’s story via social media. They do this by creating, curating, and manipulating content from company blogs and Web sites, and providing commentary where necessary. Blogger outreach managers identify and follow up with popula