It is almost impossible to separate connection speed and successful internet shopping. The two go hand in hand. While it is not the case that the only buying decision when shopping online is connectivity, the importance of a good, fast, reliable connection cannot be underestimated.
We now do not think twice about how our online lives are just an extension of our physical lives. The two spheres are so intertwined that it is almost impossible to separate them. We buy things with one click and have them delivered to our homes, or we go and pick them up at a local store or depot.
We stream films and TV shows direct to our devices without having to plug anything extra in. Those who like a flutter can play poker, online slots and other casino games to their heart’s content. When Lady Luck smiles on them, consumers expect quick payments and therefore choose to play at fast payout casinos. However, it has not always been so straightforward.
At the dawn of the world wide web, creators and investors were buzzing with ideas of how the Internet would transform our lives. Businesses were springing up everywhere, and eCommerce was the buzzword on the lips of everyone who considered themselves to be anyone in the world of marketing, tech or finance. As a result, conferences and conventions sprung up to match the people with the ideas to the men and women with the money.
It seemed there was nothing that we would not be able to do on the Internet. We were promised the opportunity to buy clothes, books, holidays, stationery and business services online. Investors, terrified of missing out, were keen to back every business idea going. Almost anyone with half a business plan, some storyboards and product ideas could attract finance. This was a period known as the dot-com boom or bubble.
The period from 1995 –1997 is known as the pre-bubble period. Things went really wild between 1998 and 2000, with the Nasdaq rising from under 1,000 to 5,000. For anyone involved at the time, the whole thing had an intoxicating feeling that anything was possible.
However, this bubble would burst like that period in the Dutch Golden Age known as Tulipmania. Tulipmania was the first major financial bubble which happened in the 17th century. Then investors began paying silly prices for tulip bulbs, pushing their prices to unprecedented highs. A single bulb could cost more than the price of a house or the annual income of a skilled worker.
The problem with the dot-com boom was that while everyone was keen to invest, none of the companies invested in were turning a profit. Some of them were hardly even functioning. One of the biggest problems they faced was that they had over-promised, and internet speeds meant that for most people, the Internet was a remote place that had no relevance to their lives.
With superfast connections over fibre optic and 5G networks now, it is hard for people who were not there to understand the pain of accessing the Internet in the mid to late 90s. Very few people had a mobile phone at this time, and text messaging was still far from ordinary. A select few had carphones from which to make exorbitantly priced phone calls. However, almost everyone had a landline in their home. To access the Internet, you needed to unplug your home phone and plug in a dial-up modem. This allowed you to access the Internet at excruciatingly slow speeds and rendered you incommunicado with the rest of the world.
Websites loaded very slowly, if at all. Connections dropped all the time, and computers were forever buffering. It was not long before the inevitable happened, and investors started to withdraw from the market, which could not deliver on its promises. It was almost impossible to make an online purchase; there was virtually no data security, and fulfilment facilities were not set up to deal on a business-to-customer basis. It is safe to say that internet shopping was ahead of its time.
What followed was the inevitable dot-com bust. Interest in technology companies with no track record of success had pushed the prices up. This was also a time of record low-interest rates, and capital flowed freely. However, unable to trade, produce a product or fulfil an order, eCommerce companies collapsed, and the market crashed. Investors were left licking their wounds and looking for other places to invest their money. By 2000 it was all over for most of the entrepreneurs.
However, some companies, including Amazon, eBay and Priceline, survived the crash. In addition, a new breed of eCommerce site was taking advantage of the technology that was now catching up with the earlier promise. For example, a few online casinos had been in existence since the mid-1990s, offering a few simple games. However, unlike many of the early eCommerce sites, online casinos delivered their products online; therefore, players and investors understood the limitations of the technology.
As connectivity improved, online iGaming sites were in a position to offer more sophisticated gaming and more secure platforms. This meant that games could be developed with a more realistic feel rather than 2D animations and simplistic graphic interpretations of the early games. When gambling markets were liberalized in countries like the UK in the early 2000s, online igaming sites were in a perfect position to capitalize on the market. With half-decent internet speeds and then the advent of smartphones, iGaming was able to lead the way.
After the initial dot-com bust, investors were more cautious about eCommerce sites. However, unlike the early boom, household retailers entered the market and set up sites optimized to the capacity and capability technology could actually offer. The second generation of eCommerce sites was launched when connectivity had improved. In addition, smartphones and apps made mobile and Internet shopping the norm. Fulfilment and customer service were also taken seriously, and problems were ironed out of the system. It seems that the industry had learned from its earlier mistakes.
The dot-com bubble burst when investors rushed to withdraw their capital. However, the cause of this was an immature market with insufficient capability, infrastructure and connectivity.
- As per the Public Gambling Act of 1867, all Indian states, except Goa, Daman and Sikkim, prohibit gambling
- Land-based casinos are legalized, with certain guidelines, in Goa and Daman, as per the Goa, Daman and Diu Public Gambling Act 1976
- Land-based casinos, Online gambling and E-gaming (games of chance) are legalized in Sikkim under the Sikkim Online Gaming (Regulation) Rules 2009
- Only some Indian states have legalized online/regular lotteries as per and subject to the conditions laid down by state laws. Kindly refer to the same here
- Horse racing and betting on horse racing, including online betting, is permitted only in a licensed premise in select states. Kindly refer to the 1996 Judgement by the Supreme Court Of India here and for more information
- This article does not endorse or express the views of Qrius and/or any of its staff.
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