BUSINESSWEEK ONLINE: NOVEMBER 20, 2000 ISSUE

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A Nightmare for E-Adulterers

A wife learns her hubby is e-mailing nude photos to a paramour. A man is shocked: His wife is plotting to kill him. Is this a tawdry Aaron Spelling TV show?

Just real life, as recorded by SpectorSoft Corp. of Vero Beach, Fla., whose software lets users spy on the Web escapades of their significant others. The $49 program was created to let parents control kids' surfing, but cuckolded spouses had their own ideas. Instead of blocking taboo words and Web sites, as most filtering programs do, Spector records everything one does online--e-mail, pictures, and instant messages, too. And it's all but impossible for an untrained PC user to tell if SpectorSoft has been installed.

Result: Adultery-busting spurs half of SpectorSoft sales, which hit 150,000 copies within a year. Apparently one way to spawn a mini-dynasty is to tattle when Charlie's no angel.

By Jim Kerstetter



Get Me Rewrite

What does Nat Gertler know that Bill Gates and Jeff Bezos don't? Turns out, not much. Gertler is the lead author of The Complete Idiot's Guide to Making Millions on the Internet (Que, $18.95), a title that's, uh, a little tough to live up to just now. ''Gaze...at your hands,'' the book suggests. ''Those are the hands of a potential Internet billionaire, millionaire, or even simply a (future) happily employed Internet professional.'' Readers snapped up 10,000 copies within two months of the book's April debut.

Oops. With lots of hands holding dot-com pink slips, Gertler is overhauling the second edition, due out next April. He's adding profiles of failed ventures and giving tips on how to cope with losing a job. ''We're going to be a little more cautious,'' he says. Maybe a new title is in order: The Complete Idiot's Guide to Making Thousands on the Internet.

By Dennis K. Berman



Use Mouse, Get Bull

You don't have to be Irish to know that sometimes e-businesses rely on blarney. Ask Dack Ragus, developer of the Web Economy Bullshit Generator. Go to www.dack.com, press the button, and let Ragus' software go to work. Resemblance to how dot-com CEOs actually talk is purely intentional.

Which capabilities promised below are from the generator and which are skills claimed on the Web sites of top consultants?

ONE:
A. "create...a go-to-market strategic relationship"
B. "provide a buyer-driven service model"
C. "enhancing brand equity"
D. "synthesize strategic platforms"

(Answers: A. Zefer B. Organic. C. Scient D. The B.S. Generator)

TWO:
A. "develop a seamless convergence"
B. "transform value-added portals"
C. "Internet-enabling existing applications"
D. "delivering business and transformation strategy"

(Answers: A. Razorfish B. The B.S. Generator C. Proxicom D. Sapient)

THREE:?
A. "create leading-edge solutions"
B. "leverage offline assets"
C. "engage viral bandwidth"
D. "implement an end-to-end business-to-business exchange"

(Answers: A. Marchfirst B. Jupiter Research C. The B.S. Generator D. Fort Point Partners)



Photo by Bob Galbraith/AP Wide World
Derek Jeter is easier to download now.

Switch Hit for a Domain Name

Geeky, sharp-eyed baseball fans spotted a change in World Series telecasts: Ads for Major League Baseball's Web site showed that MajorLeagueBaseball.com had slimmed down to MLB.com. Had MLB.com been in the hands of cybersquatters all along? Nope. The masters of baseball's preferred domain: MLB's own lawyers.

The law firm Morgan, Lewis & Bockius, which handles labor talks for team owners, registered MLB.com in 1994. But last winter baseball decided to market itself as ''MLB,'' following the example of the NBA and other three-letter sports. At the same time, a new marketing director at Morgan Lewis was convincing partners no one called the firm ''MLB'' anyway. The deal was done by September, and the switch was made. No cash changed hands, and in months of negotiations, no one threw a single bat.

By Timothy J. Mullaney



Shoot the Messenger

It's a less-than-fetching picture. Online delivery service Kozmo.com, still plying the New York City streets following the collapse of talks to merge with rival UrbanFetch, hopes to pull off a delayed $150 million IPO (UrbanFetch has since closed its consumer delivery service). What if Kozmo, which delivers mostly videos and food in 10 cities, didn't have the dot-com patina? Bad news: The valuations of two old-world peers in the messenger biz, Dynamex Inc. and CitySprint, are hardly encouraging. A comparison:

Kozmo.com
Messengers: 2,000
Revenues: $3.5 million
Losses: $29 million
Market Cap: NA

Dynamex
Messengers: 5,000
Revenues: $251.5 million
Losses: $3.4 million
Market Cap: $17.2 million

CitySprint
Messengers: 5,000
Revenues: $219.9 million
Losses: $14.2 million
Market Cap: $2 million

DATA: COMPANY REPORTS



Are They Cute or What?

Sorry, The New Yorker, but on today's Internet everybody can know if you're a dog. Blame two twentysomethings who had a few beers last month, then created www.AmIHotorNot.com, where 20,000 brave souls have posted their photos to let strangers rate their looks on a scale from 1 to 10. Who said life got easier after high school?

Founders James Hong and Jim Young don't know if their little phenomenon can be a business. ''It would be the funnest job in the world,'' says Hong, a ''between-jobs'' engineer. They built AmIHot after late-night arguments that only carefully-calibrated doses of Heineken and Silicon Valley culture could fuel: Can't agree what kind of woman is a perfect 10? Let the Web decide! Yeah!

Raters are rough--scores average 2.7 for men and 4 for women. But they prefer chubby guys eating ice cream to bodybuilders. Whether AmIHot itself is hot enough to bet on won't be known until the first report from Media Metrix on the size of its audience. If ratings aren't hot, advertisers will surely be cool.

By Jim Kerstetter





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EBIZ Cover Image, link to ebiz table of contents
EBIZ Contents for issue dated Nov. 20, 2000


STORIES:
A Nightmare for E-Adulterers

Get Me Rewrite

Use Mouse, Get Bull

Switch Hit for a Domain Name

Shoot the Messenger

Are They Cute or What?

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