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Wal-mart question before we begin.

What are these guys doing in the small business category?

The answer is simple.

The same thing they've been doing across america (and more recently in other parts of the world) for the past quarter century....

...stomping the competition and flooding the market with inexpensive merchandise guaranteed to make your home look, smell and feel like it was furnished by..... uh wal-mart.

But hold on a sec...

It remains to be seen if the model that transformed the face of small town America will work in cyberspace.

The factors that have made Wal-mart so successful in the real world don't necessarily translate to the Internet.

The advantages of shopping at Wal-mart - convenience, wide selection and inexpensive goods, are offered by hundreds of competitors on the web.

Rather than attempting to dominate cyberspace using the same tactics that worked so well on land, it's much more likely Wal-mart will try to redefine itself in the next few years, eventually emerging as a real world point of presence for dot coms anxious to get goods into the hands of consumers as quickly and efficiently as possible.

All those in favor of an America Online Wal-Mart merger raise their hands.

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