Whether you're doing research for a proposal, giving information to a reporter or simply keeping abreast of the latest trends, you want to have current, reputable statistics about the Internet on hand. Some of the top research firms specializing in the Net include Jupiter (Jup.com), Forrester (Forrester.com) and CyberDialogue (CyberDialogue.com). Of course those companies charge a lot of money for their reports.

You can find highlights from their reports quoted within other sites. Two of the best resources for Internet statistics are CyberAtlas and NUA. Both sites distribute a weekly newsletter you can subscribe to for free, but NUA provides actual brief summaries of reports and findings right in the e-mail rather than just linking to relevant articles on their site.

Keep in mind that Internet stats do tend to vary, as does the interpretation of those stats, so you may want to check several sources for each topic to get a better idea of the trend.

Aliza Sherman is an entrepreneur and author of Cybergrrl: A Woman's Guide to the World Wide Web (Ballantine Books). She is currently working on her next book and new company.