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The Web sites of the UK's leading 100 companies are "wallowing in mediocrity", according to a survey by Interactive Bureau.

It found that while the overall standard of the FTSE-100's Web sites had risen since last year, more than half the sites still have problems that need resolving.

Sixteen sites are so bad the report's authors claim they need to be demolished and rebuilt from scratch.

And a while a third of sites have been re-designed in the last year, the report concludes that eight are worse than they were before. Among the poor performers are Friends Provident, Granada and HSBC.

The report - which looked at corporate home pages - warns that an "alarming number" of FTSE-100 companies still fail to provide adequate information for investors and the media, both of which are regarded as key audiences.

Nearly half of the Web sites still do not identify a section for the media on their home pages. A third do not give their share price, or bury it away - and one in ten sites either have no investor area or bury it away, the report said.

Adrian Porter of Porter Research, which carried out the survey for Interactive Bureau, said: "It is still staggering to see how fastidiously they [companies] protect their image in every way possible - from the cut of the CEO's suit, to the car he drives, to the hundreds of thousands they spend on their corporate literature, to the millions they spend on their corporate headquarters.

"Yet, when it comes to the Web, the way the world sees them, they seem happy to squander all that hard-earned benefit on an ill-thought out, ill-designed and ill-executed mess," he said.

The best performing Web site this year was from the National Grid followed by Six Continents and Kingfisher. The worst performer was Next.

The report, The Second Annual Report on The Home Pages of the UK's Top 100 Companies' Corporate Web Sites is published by Interactive Bureau, priced £400 plus VAT.

For a copy of the report contact Interactive Bureau at iablondon.com.

Last year the same survey found the UK's top corporate Web sites to be 'woefully inadequate'. ®

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