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How Can People Be So Dumb? 19 October 2000 Edition
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With the benefit of 20/20 hindsight it becomes pretty easy to look back at 1999 and the utter stupidity that saw investors place huge values on Internet companies started by pre-schoolers and run by "flash-Harry" types driving Porsches.

Of course the cold, hard dawn of reality has meant that many of the industry's highest flyers are now pushing up daisies -- leaving behind them a trail of investors with aching wallets.

Nowhere has this been more evident than just across the ditch, where once high-flyer LibertyOne has fallen to earth with an almighty thump.

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From Yesterday

Thank you for the free plug for Tranz Railís... - Peter

Have Your Say
In its heyday, LibertyOne shares were bought and sold for around $2.27 each but today they're worth just over six cents -- a fall of over 97 percent!

What's worse -- those involved in "dot-com" operations were once treated like royalty. The poor and "old-economy" workers would regularly worship the ground on which a dot-commer had walked -- but now it would appear that associating yourself with a dot-com makes you, in some circles, about as popular and respected as someone suffering from the ebola virus.

Of course this is pendulum stuff -- we're seeing such a violent swing from one extreme to the other that it's only natural to see significant over-reaction.

I predict that by this time next year there will be fewer dot-coms but a lot more profitable ones whose stock-price is based on sensible metrics with the ability to provide investors some good old fashioned returns.

My God it's hard to type with all your fingers crossed :-)

TranzRail Is Listening
I gave TranzRail a pasting in yesterday's column -- but it was very refreshing to see that they have a new system in the pipeline (see yesterday's comments for their right of reply).

Don't forget the pre-launch site-survey guys!

Net No Substitute For TV
IDG carries a story this morning in which they report that CNN is coming to NZ to do a piece on the KiwiFlatmates setup.

I find it very interesting that despite the fact that there are probably several times as many people who are "Net-connected" than those who have a subscription to CNN, TV still seems to have a higher value.

Of course we all know that despite KiwiFlatmates claiming to have scored over two million page-views in just three months, a spot on CNN will likely reach a much higher number of people -- and therein lies the problem with the Net.

No matter how good your Internet website, product or service -- you're just one of (according to DomainStats.com) 31 million other domains on the Net and a handful of the (according to Google.com) one billion webpages.

In light of these figures, it becomes pretty obvious that one of the key secrets to building a popular Net property (assuming you've got a decent site) is to make sure you've put out as many road-signs and built as many paths as possible to your own tree.

I believe that some of the most successful Internet-based ventures over the next few years will be "path-building" companies and those who charge a small fee for building and maintaining the signs.

New Weekly Launches Next Tuesday
The first edition of the all new Aardvark Weekly will launch next Tuesday (Monday is Labour Day), thanks to sponsorship from the NZ Herald.

An abridged version of the Weekly will be available online and a full version will be published in PDF.

As always, your feedback is welcomed.

Security Alerts
Bug hunter finds another hole in Microsoft IE browser CNet

Microsoft issues new patch for Windows 2000 Telnet security hole (Computerworld)

Windows ME Bugged by Flaw (Wired)

Microsoft adjusts sign-on feature to patch Windows 2000 (CNet)

Word documents susceptible to "Web bug" infestation (CNet)

Trojan horse rears its head on Palms (CNet)

Virus Alerts
UBS warns of new virus (CNN)

Killer Virus Streaming Near You (InternetNews)

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Copyright © 2000, Bruce Simpson, free republication rights available on request