Twenty years ago it was push-button dialing. Now it’s “push pages.” AT&T Corp. is at it again. As Webmasters hone their servers to provide more specialized information for narrower groups of users, AT&T is pushing World Wide Web pages through cyberspace with the numbers on a telephone keypad.

Consumers Car Club is beta testing a new service from AT&T that melds Car Club’s Web site with AT&T calling services. The pilot, known as Project iA (for instant answers), is taking a unique step in increasing interaction with customers surfing for new cars on the Web.

Consumers Car Club, which acts as an intermediary between 1,600 car dealers and customers who don’t want to haggle to get the best price, is the first customer of the AT&T service, which the telecommunications giant plans to roll out commercially early next year.…

dnodConsider the case of Mikasa v. Mikasa. One makes fine crystal and china. The other makes fine soccer balls and sports equipment. Although the two unrelated companies share a brand name and a geographic region, they’ve coexisted peacefully. After all, there’s little chance that a customer will mistakenly buy a soccer ball to place on the dinner table or accidentally kick a fine goblet past the outstretched arms of a goalie. But now, both companies want to be on the Internet as mikasa.com. And on the Internet the chance for confusion is high. It’s easy to conceive of a customer shopping electronically for porcelain and typing www.mikasa.com, only to be surprised by an offering of baggy shorts and odd spheroids. The reverse could happen too.

In a lawyer-free world, the logical compromise would be for one company to become …

aholtThis is the story of a story that’s been rewritten so often, I should’ve used disappearing ink. In an effort to capture the online investment juggernaut on paper, the editors of this magazine gave me $70,000 (virtual money, of course) and told me to have fun. That was almost two years ago, and the original assignment involved comparing the investment options available on AOL, Prodigy, and CompuServe. But halfway through the project, my research became outdated when Internet investing took off. Then, when the online services changed their offerings and pricings, my work was rendered further irrelevant. Months later, I was sent back to square one again as new companies launched and old ones merged or moved their offerings. This brings me to a key caveat: The online investing world changes really fast.

Lesson 1: Know what you