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I told them so

October 31st, 2002

Forbes.com reports that online sales have fallen (relative to the same quarter last year) for the first time. The report includes this gem:

Along with economic weakness, and the inevitable slowdown in growth that comes from a maturing industry, this year’s online sales figures reflect more sophisticated strategies about what can and cannot be sold online.

In March 1999, I wrote

A more promising way of making money on the Net is by selling goods and services. Superficially, the scope for growth here looks limitless. So far, however, sales on the Internet have been strong only where a lot of business was previously done by phone or mail-order. Examples include computer hardware and software, books and CDs (particularly hard-to-get items), florists and travel services. Once the bugs are ironed out, the Net will offer a better service than a call-centre or paper catalog. So, business on the Internet should grow to a level comparable to that of the present mail-order and phone-order sectors.

The Harvard and Stanford MBAs who ran and financed the dotcom bubble companies spent around $100 billion to work out that home-delivering Internet-ordered dog food is not a viable business plan, and this is called ‘more sophisticated strategies’.

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