New York-based Datamonitor says so-called people-to-people information exchanges will experience the next boom in e-commerce. The exchanges equip consumers with comparative product information, universal shopping carts that travel with them from site to site, and other services meant to simplify shopping.
Although Internet search engines get billions of questions every month, according to Datamonitor, 95% of consumers say the Internet is no easier to search now than when they started. It says the business of providing answers online will generate $50 billion annually by 2005.
Companies already providing these services inlcude Abuzz.com; Arzoo.com; Deja.com; Epinions.com; Exp.com; Infomarkets.com; Inforockets.com; and Keen.com.