On the Net ... with UPI

By CHRIS H. SIEROTY, UPI Technology Correspondent  |  Oct. 15, 2002 at 10:00 AM
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Internet shutdowns and bankruptcies declined dramatically in the third quarter of 2002 compared with last year as the Internet shakeout nears the end of its cycle, according to a new report by Webmergers.com. At least 29 substantial Internet-related companies went out of business in the third quarter, compared with 119 in the third quarter of 2001. So far this year, at least 126 Internet companies have failed, 73 percent fewer than in the first three quarters of 2001, the report said. Around 895 Internet companies have shut down or declared bankruptcy since January 2000, the beginning of the shakeout. In addition, Webmergers.com has tracked more than 3,7000 healthy or distressed Internet companies that have been acquired by or merged with other companies. "We continue to believe that the Internet sector is in the last stages of a normal boom-bust cycle that differs from past technology waves only in degree," the report said. "Recent market developments lead us to believe that the Internet is beginning to find a footing for a return to a more sane and gradual period of growth." Tim Miller, president of Webmergers.com, of San Francisco, said the Internet shakeout began in consumer-oriented companies and gradually has infected concerns that serve a business audience primarily or an audience of both businesses and consumers. Companies that service a business or general audience accounted for 80 percent of shutdowns or bankruptcies in the third quarter of 2002, he said.


Kmart Corp.'s subsidiary BlueLight.com has filed a motion with the federal bankruptcy court to sell its business to United Online Inc. Under the terms of the agreement, United Online will pay, subject to potential adjustments, about $8.4 million for the assets of BlueLight.com's Internet Service Provider and e-mail service, which currently serves about 165,000 subscribers. The deal is subject to a number of conditions, including approval from the bankruptcy court. Located in Troy, Mich., Kmart filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on Jan. 22 and posted a net income loss last year of $2.4 billion. United Online is an ISP that was formed in September 2001 as a result of the merger of NetZero and Juno Online Services. The Westlake Village, Calif., company offers both free and value-priced Internet access services in more than 5,000 cities.


PostNewsweek Tech Media is shutting down its Washington Techway magazine, even as it expands its media investments in the government sector. The October issue will be the last for the nearly 3-year-old magazine. Chuck Lyons, chief executive officer of PostNewsweek Tech Media, a division of The Washington Post Co., said the organization will be restructured to focus exclusively on the business-to-government marketplace. Lyons said the organization has achieved solid financial results in 2002 in its government technology business that includes Government Computer News. "At the same time," he said, "the rapid decline of the commercial technology sector nationwide and regionally made it a very tough year financially for Techway." The magazine was launched in January 2000 to chronicle the news of the private high-tech community of the Washington-area. Publisher Clifford Chiet and Editor Lloyd Batzler will remain within the Tech Media group. Most staff members have been offered new positions with PostNewsweek or other departments within the Washington Post.


Traffic to Major League Baseball's increased 51 percent during the first round of this year's playoffs as more than 1.2 million baseball fans got the latest news on their favorite playoff teams from work, according to Nielsen//NetRatings. The Internet audience measurement service said the New York Yankees page attracted 17.2 percent of MLB.com's audience, while the St. Louis Cardinals drew 12.4 percent of the Web site's total audience. "With a number of interactive features and updated play-by-play content, MLB.com site has built a solid following with fans who can't get enough of America's past time," said Charles Buchwalter, vice president of client analytics. Meanwhile, visitors to the San Francisco Giants page constituted 11.2 percent of the total traffic, while their series opponent, the Atlanta Braves, garnered 6.6 percent of the audience. The Minnesota Twins and the Anaheim Angeles attracted 6.4 percent and 4.2 percent, respectively. Rounding out the list, the Oakland A's drew 3.8 percent of the Web site's audience, while the Arizona Diamondbacks attracted 1.6 percent of the total traffic.


Mellon Ventures Inc., an affiliate of Mellon Financial Corp., said it led the second closing of a $16.1 million round of financing for Nomadix Inc., a California-based supplier of high speed broadband wireless connections to travelers worldwide at airports, public spots and hotels. ITX International Equity and keystone Venture capital also participated as new investors, as well as existing investors Avetech Ventures, Intel Communication Fund, Smart Technology Ventures and individual investors. "As a technology and market leader in this industry, Nomadix also has significant original equipment manufacturing and channel partner traction, along with a revenue stream that is ramping aggressively," said Jeffrey Anderson, managing director of Mellon's Los Angeles office. Located in Westlake Village, Calif., Nomadix products have been installed in thousands of broadband networks and high-traffic zones around the world, providing Internet access to tens of thousands of users.

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Topics: Tim Miller
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