The Dream Still Lingers

Written by Rob Spiegel

Remember howrepparttar world was going to change? Smart sensors in your refrigerator would notice that your milk freshness date had expired and it would add a half gallon to your electronic shopping list. As items gathered, you would clickrepparttar 109052 list over to WebVan, which would bring groceries to your door. WebVan, of course, is gone, and my refrigerator certainly doesn't have any sensors.

The WebVan demise produces two responses. The I-told-you-so group gets one more example to support its belief inrepparttar 109053 utter weakness ofrepparttar 109054 Internet. This group never believed for a second any ofrepparttar 109055 sweeping claims ofrepparttar 109056 new, new economy andrepparttar 109057 transformative power of a fully connected world.

The head-in-the-sand group gets to explain, yet again, that WebVan's problem was weak management atrepparttar 109058 top. The executives betrayed a great idea with their stunning incompetence. This group believesrepparttar 109059 Internet has already conqueredrepparttar 109060 world and thatrepparttar 109061 distraction of WebVan's collapse cloudsrepparttar 109062 clear success ofrepparttar 109063 Web.

I'm still struggling with a third point of view, which goes something like this: We don't know yet where and howrepparttar 109064 Internet will affect our lives, but eventually, there will be profound changes. Television has certainly had a profound effect on all of us, andrepparttar 109065 Internet is like a few hundred potential TVs. Only right now, we don't know which of these will take root and grow.

There are two clear winners already. Both of them have affected business more than consumers. One is email, andrepparttar 109066 other is business-to-business ecommerce. Email has connected family and friends in a new manner, which helps in a world where children typically live in different states than their parents. But email is not equal torepparttar 109067 telephone in its ability to let family and friends really communicate.

For business, however, email has completely eliminatedrepparttar 109068 typewriter. Business correspondence, proposals, blueprints, legal briefs, all of these standard business communications now travel overrepparttar 109069 Internet delivering considerable savings to bothrepparttar 109070 sender andrepparttar 109071 recipient. Count me among those who are convinced that email is trulyrepparttar 109072 Web's great killer application.

Adventures in Internet Retailing

Written by Rob Spiegel

The first big surge inrepparttar ecommerce explosion came from business-to-consumer (B2C) or retail sales. Companies such as America Online,, eBay and becamerepparttar 109051 first household names in ecommerce. Their leaders becamerepparttar 109052 names that replacedrepparttar 109053 old economy names during 1998 and 1999. We endedrepparttar 109054 last century with's leader Jeff Bezos as Time magazine's Person ofrepparttar 109055 Year. Inrepparttar 109056 first couple of weeks ofrepparttar 109057 new century, Steve Chase led America Online in its purchase of Time Warner. Talk about heady days and sky-high stock valuations.

The speed ofrepparttar 109058 ascent was dizzying. Inrepparttar 109059 early hours ofrepparttar 109060 AOL Time Warner announcement, news stories discussed a merger between Time Warner and AOL. Half of a day went by before I realized that Time Warner wasn'trepparttar 109061 company doingrepparttar 109062 buying. At that moment, it was still inconceivable that a dot com could buyrepparttar 109063 leading offline company in its sector, no matter how bigrepparttar 109064 dot com. Of course, given what happened overrepparttar 109065 succeeding year, it again seems inconceivable that a dot com could buyrepparttar 109066 leading offline company in its sector. The dot com fall came fast and hard.

The fall actually came less than three months afterrepparttar 109067 AOL Time Warner announcement, in March 2000. But likerepparttar 109068 coyote who runs offrepparttar 109069 cliff chasingrepparttar 109070 roadrunner and doesn't realize at first that he is no longer on solid ground,repparttar 109071 dot com world kept running along on thin air, not sensing it would soon come to a very painful crash. Yet for all its smugness,repparttar 109072 dot com world got hit harder than it deserved when it crunched into solid ground. AOL was one ofrepparttar 109073 very few companies that hadrepparttar 109074 wherewithal to grab ownership of a traditional company atrepparttar 109075 high swell ofrepparttar 109076 dot com bubble.

So where does that leave opportunities for niche sites inrepparttar 109077 scorched-ground market of dot com retailers? As with most niche selling, you're left in fairly healthy territory. You have a credibility gap to overcome with potential customers. They will need more reassurance that you can deliver on all of your service and security promises, butrepparttar 109078 customers are still shopping online and their numbers are continuing to grow both nationally and internationally month-by-month.

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