Adding more than '.com'



Ken Olisa

The dangers of hubris couldn't be better demonstrated than by the fall of Boo.com. Mind you, I must admit to a sneaking admiration...



Ken Olisa

The dangers of hubris couldn't be better demonstrated than by the fall of Boo.com. Mind you, I must admit to a sneaking admiration for anyone who can not only blow £1 million a week, but can get away with it for a year.

I manned a stand recently at our stockbroker's annual client show. It has been a long time since I had to do such a thing - the last time was at Comdex in the early 80s. Needless to say, this was very different.

Most visitors were anxious for help in making sense of the ups and downs of the dotcom sector in the context of Nasdaq's continued gyrations.

And, if that day's sample is indicative of the general investor, it looks as if the UK is finally waking up to appreciate the "null hypothesis". Namely that, surprise, surprise, the inherent value of a company is not materially affected by adding .com to the end of its name.

If my recent experience is anything to go by, everyone should take care to avoid having anything at all to do with companies who gratuitously add a .com to their name.

Last month I bought a new PC for our house. I chose a box with an excellent write-up in the PC press and paid no attention to the supplier.

Mistake! This bricks-and-mortar manufacturer had just announced a radical new name which is - you guessed - the old name plus .com.

I should have known better, but I went ahead with the purchase only to suffer the kind of service collapse that British Gas patented back in the 70s. The final straw came when the dog-like performance of the machine was brought to a halt by the dramatic self-destruction of the monitor.

It took a dozen phone calls to sort out the mess and a further six to get them to agree to take their junk back.

Meanwhile, the company's managers - none of whom would speak to me on the telephone - are oblivious to the reality that there's much more to prosperity than catching a late bandwagon.

Ken Olisa is managing director of venture marketing company Interregnum.S

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