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There are 9.5 million Internet users in the U.S., according to results released today from Find/SVP's American Internet User Survey. Of that total, 7.5 million use the World Wide Web.

The survey also reported that 52% of all Web use is for personal activity, compared with 35% for business purposes. Additionally, home use accounted for 69% of Internet activity, compared with 47% for workplace access (respondents could pick more than one answer). That contrasts with other research that said online activity in general may be more common in business settings than in homes. But it's good news for consumer marketing and media companies that are going online.

The survey, conducted over a 15-month period, is based on 27,327 phone calls and interviews with 7,300 total households.

Among other findings: 51% of all Internet users said they began using the Internet in 1995. Web usership grew at a similar pace: 4 million people began using the Web in 1995, the same as America Online's entire subscribership.

When it comes to Internet access providers, the one to beat appears to be AOL. Thirty percent of users get on the Internet via AOL, compared with 25% for Internet service providers, 11% for CompuServe and 9% for Prodigy. One-quarter of those surveyed use more than one access provider.

The survey found that 35% of Internet users are women. But interestingly, only 68% of women on the Internet said they use the Web, while 85% of men do.

The Find/SVP report is the third such Internet survey in as many months; in November Nielsen Media Research and CommerceNet reported 24 million Internet users in the U.S. and Canada; a separate survey from O'Reilly & Associates tabbed 5.8 million U.S adults with Net access.

Reconciling the disparate projections will be difficult; each survey used different methodology. And the Nielsen survey drew fire recently for a methodology that inflated its results.

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