Dotcom failures?

Sometimes I feel like a chump.

Like when I work my steel-and-wire engineering job while my friends jump onto Internet startups and assure me that they’ll go big and retire early. In Redmond, this is in fact a big pain. Several of them I know are still working on their companies, and several I don’t hear from anymore.

But I’m a classical economist; I believe Greenspan when he says it can’t last forever. I’m irritated by the fact that plenty of investors and members of the public have a deeply held feeling to the contrary.

I want the Teeming Millions to scour their memories and cache files for “Dot-com” companies that splattered instead of soared.

One of my leading candidates is one that I was pressed to “act now, get in on the ground floor”; it wouldn’t even tell you what they intended to do or sell. The URL was

Another is one which offered “free stock” and every gullible person in your office sent you the offeratory e-mail: (?).

Today, I amend my “favorite muppet” post, too: It’s Oscar.

Actually I’ve got some of that free stock for …
Don’t have the slightest idea on how they’re doing but do get the occasional e-mail from them so they must still be around.

Well, if you want to start by considering the dotcom companies losing money, the answer would have to be ‘almost all of them’.

No one really, really knows how to make serious money off the internet. But everyone’s convinced that it’s the marketplace of the future, which is probably true. And everyone wants in on the ground floor. But it’s hard to overlook the fact that many of these companies have business plans that amount to not much more than educated guesses about a market that doesn’t really exist yet, and that they are not only selling for ridiculous amounts of money but they have almost no physical assets.

I mean, is eToys really worth over a billion dollars? As much as Toys R’ Us, which has thousands of stores? is a search engine, competing in a glutted field of search engines. It’s revenue is in the paltry range of a few million a year, and it is projecting a loss of 2.5 million next year, and a loss the year after that. This year they lost something like five million. Yet this company’s stock is now worth hundreds of millions of dollars. Insane.

My worry is that we are seeing a new speculative bubble, and that people are leveraging themselves to get into net stocks. If so, then we’re in for a real ride when the collapse comes, if it does.

I take issue with the statement that no one really knows how to make money on the internet. I do. I sell porn. Classy porn, but porn nonetheless, and I’m making money.

Others who sell porn are making a lot more money than I am.

And yes, we count.


FunneeFarmer, I have stock in Travelzoo too. Did you know that the company still hasn’t gone public yet, which means our shares of stock are basically worthless? Let’s just say I’m not holding my breath, waiting for the company to go public, because most companies make that claim and then it never happens.

“We are what we pretend to be.”

  • Kurt Vonnegut

Stoidela: I was actually going to put “except for porn sites” in there, because it’s true. The porn merchants are the only ones who have really figured out how to market on the net. But then, porn is a product that pretty much sells itself.

Porn has been the driving force of many technologies. I’m not sure VCR’s would have taken off as fast as they did without the porn industry. Back before there was a lot of mainstream content, a good percentage of VCR buyers bought them for the porn.

Stoid: I tried that link in your post but on a cable modem it still took almost 5 minutes to load the front page, and then forever for each following page…what gives?

O p a l C a t

Dammit, I don’t want to talk about cash for skin, I want to GLOAT !

Maybe I’ll take note of every website that advertises on TV this winter, and come back to my list in a year. Gloating is better when it’s aged.