Sunday, February 26, 2006

Bird Flu and the Potential Impact on the Internet

For those who know me, I read lots of books on random topics. One book had to do with the flu pandemic of 1918.

There are many experts writing on what could happen if the current bird flu, H5N1 took on the ability to infect like the normal flu. Our government seems to think that containment (read: quarantine) will work once it breaks out. I beg to differ; we have such a highly mobile society this will spread quickly. Think of all the business travelers, any who are out on assignment will want to get home as quickly as possible. Skirting around the quarantine and making it back with the flu.

What I’ve been trying to wrap my head around is what the affects will be on the Internet.

1. News sites will see a spike in volume that will far exceed September 11th. For those in the advertising business it will cause your performance to drop due to increased frequency and more than likely news sites pulling ads and graphical content to keep up with the increased usage.

2. Increased usage of grocery delivery – people will not want to be out in areas where people congregate. The motto will be leave it around back and get back in your truck. Person-to-person contact will be reduced as much as possible.

3. Proliferation of companies offering masks, sterilization chemicals, etc. online. They will be there to soak of unsold inventory as well as all over Google Adsense.

4. Increase in on-demand and mail order DVD rentals – People will start to nest and stay close to home for safety. Leading to avoidance of video rental stores and movie theaters.

5. E-commerce will spike as people do anything to avoid going to stores. Everything will be bought online. This will (as well as points 2-4) require delivery people to show up for work.

6. Increased usage of online education – to avoid classrooms people will turn to online education as a safe alternative.

7. Increased usage of remote workers – companies will tell employees to stay home and work remotely. Companies VPN capacity will be maxed out.

8. Increased use of video chat – friends and families will want to see each other because it might be the last time they do.

If you look at the 1918 pandemic it was around for months. I’m looking forward to hearing from you as to what impacts I may have missed or called the wrong way.


Rob Deichert Jr said...

Sure enough, Adsense has ads for how to protect yourself from the bird flu.

Eric Kronthal said...

"Flu Armour"... how can live without that?!?!