Signs of the New-Economic Times

Two reports over the weekend told stories of the so-called New Economy’s rise over the Old Economy. The former, you surely know, is the dot-com world. The latter is everything that came before, and the former seems to be overwhelming the latter at the moment for both sensible and absurd reasons.

The first report suggests that eBay or another dot-com company will buy troubled Sotheby’s (Mercury News), the famous auction house. eBay denied it, and the denial may well be true.

The other report was definitely true. News Corp. is teaming up with Singapore’s phone company (Associated Press), Singapore Telecommunications, to prevent one of Hong Kong’s most speculative ventures, Pacific Century CyberWorks, from buying Cable & Wireless HKT, a big Hong Kong telecommunications company.

UPDATE: Pacific Century CyberWorks appears to have won (AP) the bidding. Wow.

The wheeling and dealing is part of a revolution. New companies with skyrocketing market values are using stock to swallow established companies whose shares have been killed by Wall Street’s herd. America Online’s buyout of Time Warner has been by far the most prominent example, but if the market continues to go this way look for many more.

The herd is manic-depressive. The mania for all things Internet (which at last glance was taking a small breather today) has led investors to be depressed about all old companies. The resulting imbalance gives the new folks the currency they need to snap up the old.

It’s largely irrational, and simply amazing to watch.

Did Amazon Invent Affiliate Marketing on the Net?

E-mail from Daniel Gray, author of The Complete Guide to Associate and Affiliate Programs on the Net – Turning Clicks Into Cash

PC Flowers & Gifts stated that their affiliate program came online in October 1994. AutoWeb’s program came online in 1995.

A good number of programs–including CDNow–came out after Amazon’s program but before the patent filing.


  • Dave Winer: “No More Pesos for Senor Bezos.
  • An open letter from Tim O’Reilly.

    Microsoft Takes Open Source in Proprietary Direction

    Our favorite monopolist’s spots haven’t changed, Interactive Week reports today.

    Dear Antitrust Division: Please Investigate Us

    That’s the invitation from Getty Images, which sells and licenses various kinds of images. On Monday morning it issued a press release that began:



    Acquisition fuels e-commerce efforts and adds strong international brands and content

    SEATTLE – (February 28, 2000) – Getty Images, Inc. (NASDAQ: GETY), the leading e-commerce provider of imagery and related products and services, today announced that it has agreed to acquire Visual Communications Group (VCG), its largest competitor, from United News & Media PLC. The addition of VCG further strengthens Getty Images’ unrivalled leadership position in the visual content industry by any measure, including revenues, e-commerce revenues, customer base, global distribution capacity, brands, profitability and depth and breadth of content.

    Call me old-fashioned, but it used to be that when you acquired your largest competitor you were inviting antitrust scrutiny. Not these days, apparently.

    A Moment of Silence, Please

    Don Crabb, a noted technology writer, has died. He was way too young.

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