Aptent (pronounced AP-tehnt, compounded from 'application' and 'content') is the combination of computer program applications with textual and graphic content on the Internet. The term was used by Tim Miller in an article on the subject in The Industry Standard magazine. Aptent, Miller observes, is increasingly what makes Web enterprises successful since it blends the capabilities of the computer and networking with the Web's amazing capacity to amass content. Aptent is sometimes mostly programming, sometimes mostly content. Content is made available in new ways, arriving with programs that can interact with users, interpret and react to user behavior, send agents in search of content to be provided later, explode into more detailed content, allow users to develop their own content, and so forth. Advertisers and marketers, interested in ads and ideas that engage and involve, are also embracing aptent. Miller identifies some classes of aptent as:

Search engines and directories. The original aptent providers, Yahoo, Excite, Lycos, Infoseek, and others scour the Web's content and digest and index it so that users can access its millions of pages.

Communications aptent. E-mail and chat and discussion group sites and programming provide new ways for content to be created and exchanged. Important companies in communications aptent are Hotmail, WebChat Broadcasting, Parachat, Mirabilis, Silicon Investor, and Go2Net.

"Squirrel" aptent. Providing space where users can create their own personal home pages, address books, and special-event calendars, companies like GeoCities have brought users actively to the Web as full-time participants or at least allowed them to view the Web as a place to store their own content. Tripod and WhoWhere are other sites that let users create their own content.

Agent or "bot" aptent. These sites or applications allow users to gather information tailored to individual needs, compare prices at different online stores, and even discover or "mine" information that matches a user's profile. Junglee, C2B, Quando, and Computer ESP are product examples.

Companies or Web sites that provide aptent rather than mere content tend to "scale" in terms of potential revenue and are attractive to angels, venture capitalists, and investors. Some aptent is able to self-proliferate, users spreading it to other users, a kind of viral marketing.

Aptent, Miller concludes, is still in its infancy. The message, he says, is "about doing things, not reading things."

This was last updated in April 2005

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