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December 5 - 18, 2005

 
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Five Internet
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 Five Internet Giants

The new economy's not so new anymore. Here are five old standbys
Amazon. The company started as a bookseller. Now it sells everything. Really. If you want to buy something, anything, you can do it at Amazon. The company is just lucky that Americans are into buying things. That probably won't last, right?

eBay. What Amazon is to crap, eBay is to used crap. The company was ostensibly founded to help locate Pez dispensers, but apparently that's a myth invented for reporters. The founding of the United States has a similar legend. A desire to build a country based on the consent of the governed seemed a good cover story for what was actually the outcome of a bet between Thomas Jefferson and Ben Franklin over whose syphilitic symptoms were worse.

IAC/InterActiveCorp. This under-the-radar internet giant owns Home Shopping, Ticketmaster, Match.com, and until recently, Expedia. The only thing stopping it from being a great company is its five name changes in the last twenty years. CEO Sean Combs was unavailable for comment.

Yahoo! You know, any company annoying enough to have an exclamation point in their name deserves a bad fate. But Yahoo! seems to be profitable and stable now. Who knew their partnership with the X10 Spy On Your Hot Neighbor Camera would have been so lucrative?

Google. Businessfolk like to talk about the "first mover advantage" in marketplaces, and it proves only that businessfolk are dumb. Google wasn't the first search engine, just the best. It wasn't the first Internet advertising option, just the best. And now the company will be the best at digitizing books and other literary works (think: lame lists) against the will of authors. At least Napster can still claim the first mover advantage in copyright law violation.


Emil Gam