"Where else in the world could you stand on a corner and have people yell `Go home!' in every language?"--Hillary Clinton, joking to the New York State Legislative Correspondents Assn. about her carpetbagger imageEdited by Robert McNattReturn to top
The Case of the Purloined Web Sites
Some clever cyberthieves hijacked a prominent Internet domain and nearly got another in early June, raising worries that Network Solutions (NSI), the outfit that assigns domain names, may be unable to safeguard them.
The first company hit was Internet.com, a purveyor of online technical information. In early June, NSI received faxed instructions that appeared to be from the company--but were later found to be bogus--asking it to shift Internet.com's 1,200 domain names to a Canadian company. Soon after, NSI received a forged e-mail purportedly from GTE.net, an Internet service provider, asking to transfer the GTE.net domain to Germany. Both companies briefly lost control of their domain names before a contrite NSI solved the problem.
Thieves steal domains to disrupt a company's business or divert heavy Web traffic to another site, a troubling prospect. "There's obviously a flaw and something radically wrong here," says Alan Meckler, Internet.com's CEO. No culprits have been found. An NSI spokesman says that its registration system works well "about 99% of the time." It's that other 1% that has business worried.By Alex Salkever; Edited by Robert McNattReturn to top
Out, Out, Damn Fractions
In a move to embarrass and undercut the competition, New York Stock Exchange Chairman Richard Grasso wants the Big Board to speed up its conversion to decimal trading around yearend, months ahead of Nasdaq's Mar. 12, 2001, scheduled conversion.
On June 13, Grasso agreed with the Securities & Exchange Commission that the NYSE would start a 50-stock pilot program in September, with full conversion in April, 2001. But insiders say Grasso wants to accelerate that timetable by months to show up Nasdaq, which calls itself "the stock market of the future" but can't get its computers to trade in pennies any faster. Also, Grasso hopes that decimal pricing will persuade brokers to keep trading Big Board stocks on the NYSE rather than on Nasdaq, where decimal pricing would reduce spreads--and profits.
Big NYSE brokers, however, would prefer both markets to begin trading in decimals at about the same time, so that both computer systems are in sync. Members such as Merrill Lynch and Charles Schwab, which own Nasdaq brokers, might resist Grasso's move to keep those firms from trading NYSE stocks. Grasso, however, can probably count on support for his speed-up plan from the small brokers that dominate the NYSE.By Mike McNamee; Edited by Robert McNattReturn to top
Prime Time for Nonunion Talent
The bitter SAG/AFTRA actors union strike aims to cripple ad production in a bid to raise wages for actors in Internet and cable-TV spots. Ad agencies, however, are playing hardball to keep those TV and radio ads coming.
Some do it by shooting in right-to-work states. Ogilvy & Mather, for example, shot a Bristol Myers-Squibb ad in North Carolina. Texas production houses are also drumming up business. "The day the strike hit, I got a call from Houston asking if I wanted to use nonunion talent," said Matt Smith, creative director at Arnold Communications in McLean, Va. Saatchi & Saatchi Worldwide is blunt about using nonunion talent, moving shoots abroad, and working with other agencies to beat the strike. Says David Perry, head of broadcast production: "This is usually an industry where we are stealing each other's clients, but we are pulling together on this. There is an informal clearinghouse for information on how to shoot around the strike. The longer the strike goes on, the better we get at it."
That's hogwash, says the union. "For morale's sake, they're saying: `It's business as usual,"' according to Greg Krizman, a SAG/AFTRA spokesman. "But it's not the case."By Roy Furchgott; Edited by Robert McNattReturn to top