Feeds

UK net economy report crosses silly line

Google-commissioned bumf is mentally interesting

Bridging the IT gap between rising business demands and ageing tools

A new report commissioned by Google, and timed to coincide with the first ever Parliamentary debate on the company today, puts itself and the internet at the heart of the British economy. But it does so by using some creative and interesting definitions.

According to Boston Consulting Group, the internet sector in the UK is worth £100bn a year or 7.2 per cent of GDP, almost as large as the UK financial services sector, and larger than utilities, transport or construction. That sounds a very large sum.

Google/BCG arrives at this by including all online e-commerce as an internet contribution to GDP, rather than a contribution made by retailers or services companies.

"The full value of goods sold online is counted because it gives the sense of the importance of the internet as a retail channel," say the authors. Why include the value of every good sold?

"Many of them might not have taken place without the internet as catalyst."

As Tim Worstall points out: "What they’ve done to get to their GDP number is take the value added of everything that is connected with the internet: rather than the value added by the use of the internet." Using this logic, the financial services sector is worth 100 per cent of GDP, because everything involves a financial service, such as retail banking.

The report estimates that B2B transactions conducted via the internet are worth £360bn, but doesn't include these in the final sum. Quite rightly: that would be crossing the silly line, and falling into the silly ditch.

The report has a sprinkling of anecdotes about successful business built on pay-per-click advertising, and laments that "collective intelligence" such as crowdsourced user-generated content isn't measured by GDP. And we learn that "the internet has brought the world closer together through email, IP telephony, instant messaging, and social networking".

The report can be found here. The Parliamentary Debate, tabled by MP Robert Halfon, commences at 2pm. Halfon is concerned by Google's attitude to personal privacy, offline and online.

Google must hope MPs have read the headlines, but not the report itself. ®

Bootnote

An earlier version of this story could have suggested that the $100bn figure included purchases made in store after online research. This was not the case, and the story has been amended to make this clear.

Application security programs and practises

More from The Register

next story
Stick a 4K in them: Super high-res TVs are DONE
4,000 pixels is niche now... Don't say we didn't warn you
BBC goes offline in MASSIVE COCKUP: Stephen Fry partly muzzled
Auntie tight-lipped as major outage rolls on
Philip K Dick 'Nazi alternate reality' story to be made into TV series
Amazon Studios, Ridley Scott firm to produce The Man in the High Castle
iPad? More like iFAD: We reveal why Apple fell into IBM's arms
But never fear fanbois, you're still lapping up iPhones, Macs
Amazon Reveals One Weird Trick: A Loss On Almost $20bn In Sales
Investors really hate it: Share price plunge as growth SLOWS in key AWS division
Bose says today is F*** With Dre Day: Beats sued in patent battle
Music gear giant seeks some of that sweet, sweet Apple pie
There's NOTHING on TV in Europe – American video DOMINATES
Even France's mega subsidies don't stop US content onslaught
You! Pirate! Stop pirating, or we shall admonish you politely. Repeatedly, if necessary
And we shall go about telling people you smell. No, not really
Too many IT conferences to cover? MICROSOFT to the RESCUE!
Yet more word of cuts emerges from Redmond
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Seven Steps to Software Security
Seven practical steps you can begin to take today to secure your applications and prevent the damages a successful cyber-attack can cause.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.