NET USE IS STILL LIMITED TO A FEW

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[san francisco] The Internet may be bigger and smaller than you think.

According to a new IntelliQuest study, 35 million Americans age 16 and above went onto online services or the Web in the previous three months. That means 17% of the 16-plus market is going online.

But look more closely and "the numbers get really small really fast," said Brian Sharples, president of the market researcher.

Only 6.4 million people spend 10 or more hours a week online, and little more than 3 million say they "cruise" or "surf" the Net, the study found.

IntelliQuest discussed details of its first syndicated Web study at its Brand Tech Forum, a marketing conference that drew more than 400 people here Oct. 24.

"It's kind of a hard dose of reality," said Mr. Sharples in an interview. "The [online] experience isn't ready for prime time.'

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