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Subject: UKNM: Virgin on E-commerce
From: Steve Johnston/IMRG
Date: Wed, 10 Mar 1999 19:52:19 GMT

We have been surprised by some of the private and public responses we have
had from individuals both on and off list and outside this particular
circle of influence following The Telegraph piece two weeks ago. We feel it
necessary to reaffirm our motivations in this matter.

1. We stand by the justification for the survey we launched. We felt
that there was a naivety to Branson's statement that could be damaging to
industry progress - by setting investment expectations. We hold the view
that a 50m investment across the whole group is insufficient to enable
Virgin to become "the biggest provider of Net services in Britain within a
couple of years" let alone "take on the Americans and beat them". We also
believe that senior executives - particularly CEOs - need hands-on
experience of e-commerce for their companies to successfully exploit these
opportunities. Our curiosity about industry opinions was genuine and the
survey was light-hearted in what we hoped would be an engaging manner. The
responses themselves were surprising and it was this surprise that prompted
the approach to Virgin.

2. We had no expectation of winning business when we approached
Richard Branson. Our offer to help is part of what the IMRG does. The IMRG
is an industry group (not a web developer) which spends a good deal of its
time lobbying big businesses to take e-commerce more seriously or at least
talk about it in public with some credibility. Often this is only effective
when it is done in a 'plain-speaking' manner. So the concerns expressed
about our business methods were misplaced. Sure, we'd like to have Virgin
in as a member, but sometimes there are bigger issues at stake.

The results of our survey can be viewed here:
http://www.imrg.org/survey/index.htm .
(The survey was swamped by one visitor on Feb 18th. The figures available
above have been corrected).

Steve Johnston
Director of Development
IMRG (Interactive Media in Retail Group)
+44 (0)7000 46 46 74, ( 07000 Go IMRG )
steveatimrg [dot] org
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  Re: UKNM: Virgin on E-commerce, Alex Dale

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