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This story appears in the December 1998 issue of

How long does it take for a Web site to turn into a cash cow? About four years, according to ActivMedia Inc. A recent survey conducted by the research group points to a correlation between the number of years your company's had an online presence and your site's profitability.

According to the study, 58 percent of businesses that sell products via online sites that have been operating for three or more years report profits. For sites operating from 1994 to 1997, though, only about 30 percent reported profits. So for now, in general at least, more than three years appears to be the magic number.

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