ROBERT PESTON: Inside out

ROBERT PESTON: Inside out - I recently needed some financial information on shipping group P&O and instinctively turned to the internet and the company's web site to find it. Typing 'PandO.com' would surely take me there. But, lo, I was offered an exc

by ROBERT PESTON, editorial director of Quest (www.csquest. com)E-mail: rpeston@collins-stewart.com.

I recently needed some financial information on shipping group P&O and instinctively turned to the internet and the company's web site to find it. Typing 'PandO.com' would surely take me there. But, lo, I was offered an exciting range of artificial limbs from Prosthetics and Orthotics Inc.

I then played around with every possible combination of P&O's name, but to no avail. Eventually, I resorted to old technology and rang the company - to be given the address 'P-and-O.com'. Now, why didn't I think of that?

The web will one day revolutionise the relationship companies have with their shareholders and potential investors, and with their employees. But very few companies seem to be making the most of this distribution channel. On the whole, their web sites range from the muddled through to the irrelevant, to plain dull.

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