We would do well to remember that "market projection" and "real-world results" are not interchangeable terms. The distinction between them is inconvenient, however, for software vendors, equipment makers, and service providers that would have us believe the most aggressive projections for every new Internet banking offering.

This view is based on two closely related observations. First, even the best market research can be - and is not infrequently - wrong. Second, sponsored research - studies funded by companies with a vested interest in swaying buyers - has a funny way of falling well short of the standard implied by the term "best."

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