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Tuesday, 11 April, 2000, 14:13 GMT 15:13 UK
Is the dot.com bubble bursting?

Technology, media and telecoms - until a few days ago these were the three magic words to excite every investor's heart.

In little over a year, the top market for technology shares, the Nasdaq, gained 128%. The spectacular stock market gains of internet firms with little revenue and no profits drove many experts to despair.

One of the most successful investors, Julian Robertson, recently closed down his Tiger hedge fund, saying he could not understand the markets anymore.

But now Wall Street's Nasdaq, London's Techmark, and Frankfurt's Neuer Markt have all suffered bitter losses.

So is this just a bump in the road to new riches for technology firms, or is it time to dump internet shares and get out while you can? Tell us what you think. HAVE YOUR SAY



Every time a company comes up with something new someone will find a way of doing it better.

Colin, England
I have been aware for some time (5-6 years) that the internet would take off. I did not have the vision to see just how big it would be for Commercial organisations, and did not envisage it would for some become the be all and end all of doing business. If a company chooses to solely trade via the internet they will need to have good insurance and be prepared to suffer a roller coaster ride. Every time a company comes up with something new someone will find a way of doing it better, that will put a strain on many a good company. The secret I believe is a balance, do not abandon good customer relations, do not refuse good ideas, use the Internet to trade but stay ethical. We have yet to see a major legal battle regarding trading laws across boundaries, that will happen and it could shake up a few.
Colin, England

It is likely that only a very small percentage of the dot.com 'acorns' in the market will develop into oaks - the remainder will die as soon as the initial capital income is burned up. This could have a profound impact on tracker funds and advisors who are not particular (or able to spot those which will succeed). Furthermore, as the large numbers of failures begin to show, this will have an impact on market confidence and potentially drag the successful dot.coms down too (and possibly also affect other hi-tech and more traditional companies). The same warnings exist as ever before: "the value of shares can go down as well as up". The many private investors who are finally beginning to dabble in the stock markets could soon have their fingers badly burned and dent investors confidence.
Matt, Germany

You bet! Only fools would have poured their money and life savings in them. Nothing last forever.
Tim, USA



Like any new technology we encounter, the internet has the same risks - benefits and losses included.

A. Meletio, USA
Like any new technology we encounter, the internet has the same risks - benefits and losses included. This is the price we pay for being a society geared at racing each other down the super-information highway. Decades ago, we thought the same of the stock market, and it remains a fickle staple of our economy. As times change, we struggle to change with them. The internet is prime evidence for this statement. To retreat from it, is to admit a fear of progress, and the future as we have envisioned it will come to a crushing halt that will prove far more turbulent than the nature of the technological beast that we have set out to tame.
A. Meletio, USA

Look at it this way, Amazon is the biggest e-commerce company and yet as pointed out below it doesn't look like making a profit for ages and yet it is already laying off warehouse staff. It has about enough money to last for another year. In it's history, it has served 5 million customers. WOW! I would guess that many people go into WH Smith's branches in a DAY. But it has dot.com after it's name and that of course it why it is so overvalued. I can't for the life of me find a connection between huge, healthy, profitable companies like BT, Microsoft and Vodafone and some loss-making dot.com founded by a school-drop out who thinks he has a good idea.
Zaki Moosa, South Africa



The bottom line I think is that the more technological it is, the better the chance it has of survival.

Simon Cameron, UK
The bottom line I think is that the more technological it is, the better the chance it has of survival. That is naturally because we have a become a technology-reliant society. And as we continue to develop as a species, applied science will assume an increasingly greater role. If we can succeed in coupling this with spiritual values, we will have achieved the perfect balance for 'science without religion,' Albert Einstein says, 'is lame.'
Simon Cameron, UK

There are too many things coming together. If we want to do some business we have to fixed ourselves in this business and learn more than just a few words about it.
Maria Adelia Endres, Brazil

I feel that the news actually did a relatively good job of dissuading people from buying into dot.com companies. I feel sorry for the small people who got sucked in, there was a lot of hype but much of it was negative!
Jacob, UK



Of all the toys invented by mankind, surely the most fascinating must be the internet.

Des Currie, South Africa
Of all the toys invented by mankind, surely the most fascinating must be the internet. But it remains a toy. When used by the millions online for no more than passing the time of day, what function, if any, does it serve? Banks and the stock market limit its uses for mass transfer of information. The value of the net is distorted by those using it for no value-added reason. Like the hula hoop, the net will become extinct when man has had his whirl, and it will reach a value based on reason, being very close to zero.
Des Currie, South Africa

Traditional business models/ concepts must be thrown out the window. The internet is part of the information revolution. It will change the way we work and do business. E-commerce will play a fundamental role in strategies. We see this but we cannot control and accept it. In business there will always be winners and losers. Dot.coms are the future, but with all these new rules and regulations, most that pick their stocks are in for a gamble.
Kevin Lim, Malaysia

The internet is a wonderful thing, new rules, new markets, new strategies. Is it? Or it's just a new boom with new equipment but the same old rules with just a different face.
Mauro Viegas, UK



E-commerce and traditional commerce both have to follow basic economic principles.

Dave, USA
E-commerce and traditional commerce both have to follow basic economic principles. A lot of the growth that the tech stocks experienced was based on unrealistic expectations and speculation. Will the tech companies all go bust? Certainly not. Not only is it here to stay we have not even scratched the surface of it's potential. At the same time there has to be a point where things even out. This boom may be over, but another one will eventually come along.
Dave, USA

The decline in tech stocks was inevitable given the current bubble. However, the emergence of internet technology not only freeing customers but business itself should not be sniffed at. True, many companies will fail when their larger capitalised competitors with established brand names enter the market - but not all. Given the scope of the internet to reduce barriers to entry, encourage innovation and improve productivity (as well as the key factors of economic growth), it seems many investors are hopeful that the winners (few) will outweigh the losers (many). The trick is to find the winners...
Mark McDonald, Milan, Italy



The only way to make huge sums of money without effort, risk or original ideas - is to inherit it.

Graham, UK
There is a gold rush going on in internet retail and marketing. Many won't find gold and will go bust. Some will find gold, and those few people smart/lucky enough to invest in them while they're still small and obscure will make a fortune. But they will have to be prepared to take a huge risk. Like the last gold rush, however, the people who will make the most money at the least risk will be the people selling picks and shovels (software developers, IT services and telecoms providers). Writing quality software and providing efficient, reliable telecoms services takes hard work, serious technical expertise and imagination and top-quality management to make it all run smoothly. Just like any 'traditional' business that does well. The only way to make huge sums of money without effort, risk or original ideas - is to inherit it.
Graham, UK

Business basics should still prevail in this internet investment frenzy. What happens when more of the global companies move in to the internet market with their brands, investment resources, existing customer bases and major marketing. Are the major global companies waiting for the internet customer base to expand before moving in and will we then see major price wars driving the newly established smaller companies out of the market?
Jamie, UK

One group of people who are making real money are IT contractors. There is a big shortage of skilled IT staff, and many of us in this position are going freelance and selling our skills to the highest bidder. Also the rates for office space and advertising have gone through the roof. Dot.com's are a very expensive way to make no money.
Charlie Harrison, UK



No assets, poor income potential, no barriers to entry - all signs of a poor investment. I'd avoid them like the plague.

Phil Broeders, UK
In other markets there are barriers to entry to prevent competitors taking your business - setting up manufacturing facilities employing people, buying raw materials etc. - the cost of doing so can deter other companies entering your market (i.e. are barriers to entry). But for the internet, anyone can set up a rival to your web site within a very short period of time and at little cost. So you may have a good idea - put it on the web (e.g. lastminute.com) and see any number of competitive sites sprout up in response and take your business. No assets, poor income potential, no barriers to entry - all signs of a poor investment. I'd avoid them like the plague.
Phil Broeders, UK

Bubble going up.... Bubble going down. Bubble bursting...bubble not bursting. It is about time people based their investments on sound fundamentals rather than hype. This will serve as good education for the small investors (10% loss is better than 90% loss).
Vik Thakrar, UK

Isn't it curious that the main critique of the dot.com economy seems to be coming from the traditional Right. Why is the market suddenly not the God to which we all bow? Is it, perhaps, that the Right [and City, and deadwood newspapers] don't understand it? Is it also because there is an element of democratisation to the whole of the New Economy? Just a thought
Stephen, UK



A reality check was needed in the overhyped dot.com marketplace.

Steven Walden, UK
A reality check was needed in the overhyped dot.com marketplace. However, don't throw the baby out with the bath water, the internet is here to stay and offers a great deal of advantages for business to business traffic and business to consumer (mostly the former). If the recent events lead to investments based on genuine returns rather than wishful thinking then it is only for the best.
Steven Walden, UK

It seems that bursting the so-called bubble has been a mission of commentators rather than a necessary reality. They've been talked down by doomsayers. Buying shares it partly what allows a company to grow and succeed. After the fiasco of the US Government lynching Microsoft the last thing we need is pessimism over internet stocks.
Gordon Joseph, UK

E commerce will survive and dominate over time - my own company has been transformed by it. What is needed is a longer term view - no get rich quick mentality.
Gerald Gorton, Gibraltar

How wonderful (and very healthy) to see, how these hyped internet IPO's like PALM, Lastminute, World on Line, have suffered investors huge losses. Maybe this will teach people to look into what stocks they are actually purchasing. Not just following momentum.
Ian, London, UK



Given time things will stabilise and become more down to earth with venture capital more wisely spent.

James Holden, England
The internet is like so many things that are new and interesting. Given time things will stabilise and become more down to earth with venture capital more wisely spent. Although the net isn't new its only in recent times that things have boomed, more so with e-commerce. Given that so many sites offer the same things I think you'll see a lot go under and the best stay. In my personal opinion selling products over the net is dangerous if it is the sole purpose of a company and no other means of selling is done. Lastminute is not really a product seller only a intermediate which is why it stands in good stead...
James Holden, England

The New Economy will be an important part of 2lst century life on this planet. But, selecting those companies within this internet sector in which to invest so as to generate a stream of dividends on a long-term basis over a number of years is a difficult decision to make.
Mohansingh, India

While I believe that the "Internet revolution" has gone almost as far as it can in industrialised nations, the "Third World" is nearly "non-wired". Large corporations (Sun, Cisco, Microsoft, etc.) have to make an honest commitment to individual customers, not regions or languages, or else, the bubble will most definitely burst.
Jeremy M, US



It will be more accurate to term this set back as a momentary ripple in the course of a long sail.

Hillol Guha Roy, India
Let's agree to this common point: The internet is going to stay and will grow. As long as internet grows the companies serving this industry are going to grow. However as the industry matures there are going to be more players, this will cause an increase in competition and the margins of the individual firms are going to fall - in simple terms there are going to be more contestants for the share of the pie. So the profitability of the individual firms are going to experience a declining trend over time and will settle to some steady point. But it will be too pessimistic to term this as a bursting of the bubble. The growth of dot.com is not out of the thin air - it has an enthusiastic customer base served by competent professionals. It will be more accurate to term this set back as a momentary ripple in the course of a long sail.
Hillol Guha Roy, India

Darren of the UK, I would love to have bought into some of the good dot.coms. But no such luck unless you know the CEO or you are a big investor. I look at it as one big game and that someone is getting rich, but it sure isn't me. But again I did make a lot of money off AOL. I just happened to buy when it hit rock bottom. You know how I picked that winner; my 5 year old Russian step-daughter thought it was a cute English word. So now AOL will send her to college now!
Eddie, USA

The internet is not and shouldn't be regarded as one big bubble. It is a collection of bubbles, some of which will inevitably burst and some of which will grow and grow. Predicting which will burst and which will grow is the difficult part but we should not be pessimistic about all these new dot.com companies, as some will be the giant corporations of our future and we should encourage them.
Ian Glasgow, Australia

It's obvious that the general investing public is still ignorant of the difference between internet marketing companies and technology companies like Microsoft. Still, it's good that a hiccup on the tech market has spurred a reality check on the dot.coms. It's not the end for the dot.coms but the beginning of the shakeout. The fittest will survive and many of the fittest will turn out to be the technical arm of traditional businesses.
Mark Lee, Barbados

It seems to me the dot.coms were in for a fall anyway especially in the UK given our country's notorious habit of going for short term gain and losing interest when this fails to materialise. I accept that many of these firms are overvalued and some natural culling was inevitable but I'm not sure mass ship jumping is required just yet.
R. Rescorle, UK



People investing in dot.com's are investing in potential.

Martin, UK
People investing in dot.com's are investing in potential. There will be unprecedented growth in this sector over the next 5-10 years. The big problem is that nobody knows yet which companies/sites will go the distance and most will probably fail. However, the few companies that are genuinely pioneering the new technology combined with a sound base business will certainly reap the financial returns in the future.
Martin, UK

The bubble only burst because we said it will. People jumped ship because it was predicted it would burst, and the snowball started rolling. A slight jitter turned into an avalanche as everyone wants out. If you follow the first rule in share buying, only buy what you can afford to lose then the bubble bursting is an inconvenience not a disaster. Remember you've only lost money if you sell at a lower price than you bought at. If the price now is lower, just wait they'll return to high levels unless you are very unlucky.
Neil, UK

I pity the small private investor who will bear the ultimate cost of making paper millionaires with crackpot business plans. I wonder how many people in 'the city' are playing the 'kings clothes' scenario - making fortunes talking stock up - selling at the top and then starting mass selling to start the process again?
Andy, UK



Surely it is too early to tell if the current slump in shares is the proverbial bursting of the bubble.

Richard Ayres, UK
Surely it is too early to tell if the current slump in shares is the proverbial bursting of the bubble, or simply a reality check on what has until recently been an impossibly buoyant trend. Nobody can be sure to what extent the current drop in confidence has been influenced by the Microsoft juggernaut being stalled by the US court case. One thing is for sure, too much has been invested for the internet to be simply an investment fad. The die is now cast and companies such as Cisco will survive any drop in share value because they have a strong product. As long as you have invested in a strong product or company rather than any company ending in .com, just ride out the storm and don't panic!
Richard Ayres, UK

In reply to Person X. I'm a technology consultant and agree, however the big names are seeding new companies, which they own a good share in. These are ones to invest in. As to fall from grace of the dot.com, be happy! It makes their stocks affordable, and in a few years you might just see big dividends.
Y, London, UK



The crash is only temporary.

Tom Donaly, USA
The crash is only temporary. Now is a good time for serious investors to do their homework and look for good companies that have lost value due to being tarred with the same brush that has besmirched the dot.coms.
Tom Donaly, USA

The tax year is about to end and a lot of business, pension funds etc need to pay out dividends. The only resource the high tech/negative profit shares is their share value. So, the big players will have to sell to generate the cash to pay dividends and justify to their bosses how they are going to plan for the future. Therefore, some sales for dividends, some sales to reinvest in profitable companies, some retention in tech stocks and some profit for bonuses! But the move has to be quick!
Neil Skinner, UK

I feel sorry for those who didn't have the guts to get in. These people are clearly laughing now but how much cash have they made since September.
Darren, UK

I agree the bubble will and should burst. There are far too much investment in companies with no prospect of even making a profit. I can only hope that legitimate dot.coms don't feel the full brunt of this tech dive.
Andrew Davies, USA



I think markets in the US and UK generally are due a big correction and this could be the start....look out.

Stefan Potter, UK
I've been tempted to invest a small amount in tech shares for the last few months for 2 reasons; interest rates are so low and it seems 'everyone' was making money for nothing out of internet companies. Now may be the time to buy but I think markets in the US and UK generally are due a big correction and this could be the start....look out.
Stefan Potter, UK

Think about it. The internet is not going to go away. It is going to evolve. The internet today is like black and white TV was before colour TV arrived. They way we do business and shop is changing. The prospect of the dot.coms has got a little ahead of itself in terms of the market, but it will settle down. There will be winners and losers. The dot.coms are the research and development companies for the larger corporate. The best ones will be swallowed up by the big ones.
David Williams, United Kingdom



Today's Internet start-up market has been hyped to ridiculous levels.

Matt Shelley, London, UK
Today's Internet start-up market has been hyped to ridiculous levels. Their aim is to get as many registered customers as possible and attach unrealistic values to each of them. Loyalty is no longer guaranteed. Dot.com's need to prove their business models now, not in ten years. Perhaps investors should research a company a bit more before rushing in and buying up stock. 380p to 195p - there is a reason!
Matt Shelley, London, UK

The 'dot com' bubble is just a symptom that the stock market is going to have to radically change in order to cope with the new wave of small investors and day trading. In it's current configuration it is too vulnerable to rapid changes in 'mood'.
Jon, Guernsey

I think we are heading toward a big crash, this time the internet is the trigger for a blame (because majority of us don't understand the new technologies), this is the cycle that governs the law of capitalism
Jalil, UK

I don't know whether or not the bubble has burst yet. What I do know is that the big end of town has made it's killing on dot.com floats, then hyped them onto Joe public at their highest peak, they've made their dough, now the punters can lose their house, for all the big guys care. It amazes me, sprout on about a new paradigm in the marketplace, millions of suckers fall for it. If everyone was handed a million quid today, in six months the same 2% of the population would have the lot.
Tom, Australia

The recent US court ruling on Microsoft has provided an excuse for so-called professional institutional investors to withdraw our pension money from the dot.com sector with at least a fig leaf of dignity. My technology stocks are all sound, profitable dividend payers and I do get irritated with the way in which so-called professional investors treat these solid stocks synonymously with the ethereal dot.coms.
Chris Klein, UK

Part of the problem, I believe, is that all "tech" stocks were lumped together by the media. Cisco, Microsoft, etc. are in a different league from the lastminute.com's. The former have tangible products and will continue to grow in the future, the latter will fade away and that will hopefully mark a return to some sense in the markets.
George, London, UK



Are we not fuelling the campaign for the dot.com to drop?

Chris Southam, UK
Are we not fuelling the campaign for the dot.com to drop? It seems to me, as someone within the industry that all of a sudden we don't wish the device we have been raving about to function any longer. Should we be placing the internet on a back-burner and go back to traditional business methods, advertising and marketing? A more realistic approach to the market may be a solution, perhaps deflated prices will aid this.
Chris Southam, UK

I've been considering using up to £100,000 of my own capital and raising £500,000 of venture capital to launch a new insurance product online. However, even the most optimistic result of my cash flow modelling suggests that my capital will run out in no more than 4 years, yet profits won't arrive until year 7 at best. Needless to say, I have abandoned this project for something more down-to-earth. How many other dot.com companies have business plans that will go the same way - dead in 3-4 years?
Mr D, UK

The Internet has revolutionised business to business communications or b2b in the USA. Europe/UK is behind the USA by at least 6 months. There is an awful lot of hype behind e-business and e-commerce, but fundamentally, a lot of industry has been using Internet technology for some time, and because it works, it is not news-worthy. Cut the hype, and use the technology - when it is "fit for purpose", the shares will find their own level as the market matures.
Phil W, UK



The idea of a 'dot-com bubble' is a fallacy created by the ignorance of the vast majority of investors.

James Matthews, UK
The idea of a 'dot-com bubble' is a fallacy created by the ignorance of the vast majority of investors. The Internet is like an extremely long shopping street. If too many bookshops open up then there will be competition to survive. If shops with poor management are established then they will do badly. I admit that a large number of these businesses are over valued but the principles of economics still apply. It does not follow that the whole Internet economy is fundamentally flawed. Investors should take their time. It would be wise, in my opinion, to select the best companies with good profits and experienced management and invest now. Take advantage of the ignorance of the majority of investors. There has to be a rationalisation in the market but this is no reason why selective reinvestment will not bring substantial net gains.
James Matthews, UK

The sooner this barmy rush for a fast buck from dot.com floatation's is over the better. Then perhaps we can all get on with dealing with the real benefits and opportunities the Internet has to offer.
Richard Atkins, UK

The recent fall in the value of dot.com companies seems to suggest that the market has finally embarked on a course of correction. This was due, and to say the least, expected. The bubble is not bursting, but merely deflating to a more realistic and sustainable level. This adjustment has only now began and in the days to come will continue to fuel this debate and keep the speculators busy.
Samir, UK

It has always amazed me how an industry with very little skill and engineering can be worth more than so called traditional industries such as banking. As a practising software engineer I realise that this technology is still in its infancy and as such very unstable and unsafe for transacting huge amounts of money expected. E-commerce is subject to over inflationary hype and too much is expected of it and currently there is no enforceable legislation to protect your money. You never hear of children cracking the code of banks or telecommunications networks which are built on secure engineering principles like you hear of teenagers bringing the net to a halt or cracking private mail accounts. People should invest their money in less riskier ventures until this technology matures.
Mark Lisle, Germany



I for one am staying out of the area as an investor - for now.

John Franklin, UK
This bubble may be bursting, but the internet and e-commerce will survive. I believe we shall see a "culling" of start-ups whose business plans are flawed as their seed capital runs out. After this initial die-off will arise dot.coms with robust business models that will prosper in the long term. However, predicting what those business models are going to be in an area subject to such rapid technological and cultural change is the hard part. I for one am staying out of the area as an investor - for now.
John Franklin, UK

How on earth can an internet stock with an apparently tiny turnover (sometimes making no profit at all) be valued above asset-rich companies like WH Smith? It's ludicrous and the bubble just has to burst.
Jon Evans, England

I reckon we have about a year left before some big names in the dot.com world start to falter. Amazon, for example, are already laying off warehouse staff and they only have enough money to survive for another year. It is hard to see how some of these sites make any money at all - and I for one would think twice before investing money in a web-only business.
Robert Caldecott, UK



The bubble isn't bursting - it's merely deflating ready for a big breath!

Dave Clews, UK
The current panic, I believe, is from both investors who are ill-informed about dot.com companies - they will always come and go - and an orchestrated move by the money makers to drive the price down. The real jewel, which is being tarnished by all this panic, are the telecoms companies - the platforms on which the internet runs. When the demand for internet based-businesses hurtles skywards, it will be the telecoms companies who'll make the real killing. The bubble isn't bursting - it's merely deflating ready for a big breath!
Dave Clews, UK

Maybe the bubble should burst. How can companies that have no "product" in the traditional sense, make massive losses, with no prospect of a profit for years, be valued in the same way as Blue Chip companies like Unilever, a company that has thousands of employees and churns out respectable, sustainable profits year on year? Perhaps the stock market needs a healthy dose of reality.
Alan, UK

The trouble is no one really knows what technology shares are worth. Things either have intrinsic value or they are worth what people are prepared to pay for them. And in the absence of experience which defines their real value, their price will always be subject to opinion, fashion, hype or cartel.
Technology shares are not alone in this. It's been going on for years in the diamond industry, to name but one of very many.
Steve Hunt-Anschütz, UK



Technology has a place in almost everyone's investment strategy, but putting all your investment eggs in one basket is asking for trouble.

Jenni, UK
If a company has a future, it has a future whether it is a 'technology' or 'internet' stock or not. The bandwagon has been jumped upon so hard the axle's broken. The worthwhile stuff will remain intact, whilst the paper companies with no substance will fall by the wayside. It's no different to any other industry or sector.
The whole market is due for correction, not just the technology sector. So many technology companies are just ideas (good and otherwise) with no real asset value and if their bubble bursts, their shareholders will be left with nothing. As a financial adviser, I feel that technology has a place in almost everyone's investment strategy, but putting all your investment eggs in one basket is asking for trouble.
Jenni, UK

Hopefully. These stocks are so over valued it is untrue. Lastminute.com floated at 380, more realistic as a valuation would have been 3.8 or lower. I might buy when then hit this level.
Tim G, UK

The current market down-turn will hopefully inject a degree of reality into the valuations of so-called dot.com businesses. However, the internet is big at the moment and will only grow in time. Those companies involved in serving the dot.com companies and providing the infrastructure for them will continue to increase in value and importance. It is important not to tar all technology companies with the same brush.
In the short term, technology companies are the ones which will offer the greater opportunities for growth, so with more small investors looking to take risks on the stock market to make large gains, expect the share prices of technology companies to once again be very much in the ascendance.
Alex Andrews, England



Dot.coms are well ahead of their time so do not behave like lemmings and dump your shares now.

Mikko Toivonen, Finland
Anybody with even microscopic amount of intelligence could have told: this balloon is going to burst. Dot.coms are well ahead of their time so do not behave like lemmings and dump your shares now. Sit on them for once and wait. One day you will get an interest for your patience.
Inaction is poison for "stock brokers" but profit for you if you want to be in a serious developing of things. If not please sell your shares and lick your wounds.
Mikko Toivonen, Finland

Just my luck, I decide to join the bandwagon and it tumbles over the edge of a cliff!!!
Chris Tubbs, UK

How can any business be worth millions of pounds when they haven't even made a profit, and worse show no sign of doing so in the coming years? In my opinion the internet based firms have always been overvalued, and what is happening now is simply a sign of the world waking up to that fact.
Patrick Seurre, UK



The 50% or so of the population that either have never used the internet will suffer from the overly optimistic views of a few.

James, England
The internet is without doubt a great resource for those who have access to the technology and are willing to utilise that technology. However recent stories of internet millionaires, and the boom of internet, or e commerce are based on sales to less than 50% of the population, of which only a relatively small percentage will buy online.
I have no objection to e commerce and the success of individuals finding their fortune from the web, what I do object to is the potential disaster to us all from a stock market fall, crash resultant from the failure of e-commerce to fulfil its promises. The 50% or so of the population that either have never used the internet or do not care to do so will suffer from the overly optimistic views of a few.
James, England

The recent market run-up has brought the valuations of some technology stocks into the stratosphere. Rambus, for instance, has a P/E ratio of over 800! This market correction will help slow the incoherent rise of the technology sector, but not damage it in the long run.
Ethan Anderson, United States



It should serve as a positive lesson to the greedy and the gullible.

Daryl Chapman, England
There are too many "fly by night" IT cowboys looking to get rich quick with ideas that are simply not based on solid reality. Coupled with that, there are a lot of individuals with spare money who believe that anything with .com after is a sure-fire bet. These investors are putting their money into the fire and will therefore get their fingers burnt.
By the same token, there are a lot of fledgling and established IT companies that are looking at long term growth with a real business plan based on delivering real value to the end users. It is up to the investors to find these companies and make properly informed judgements. There may well be a temporary dip in the market and this should be seen as a good thing if it removes individuals and organisations looking to take people's money whilst providing no real contribution to the end users. It should also serve as a positive lesson to the greedy and the gullible.
Daryl Chapman, England

I think that a lot of people are too quick to talk about "the dot.com bubble" and "hi-tech shares" in the same sentence. There is absolutely nothing wrong with the world of PCs and mobile phones at the moment. Dot.com companies are a different thing all together, which have more in common with the world of dodgy mail order retail. It wouldn't surprise me at all if the stock market turned on dot.coms soon, but I don't think that it will affect everything else too badly.
Mark Howells, UK



I just pity the poor mugs who were the last on the bandwagon.

John B, UK
It's about time the exuberantly inflated technology stocks took a pasting. How a supposedly rational investor can suppose that a company with a turnover comparable to a local enterprise (and no profit either now or in the immediate future) can have a market capitalisation comparable to the multinational behemoths that make billions is totally beyond me. I just pity the poor mugs who were the last on the bandwagon. They're probably so proud of considering it carefully before jumping on - too bad!
John B, UK

The recent share falls really come as no surprise. I don't think the bubble is bursting, merely contracting to a sensible level. There is no doubt that the dot.com paradigm is the future of business, it just that the future needs to be realistically perceived. Hopefully, this is the start of that process.
Mike Lydon, UK

Crash - no, Correction - yes. This is evidence of people realising that sendusyourmoney.com isn't going to produce returns after the IPO cash runs out. What this will do is focus investors on those companies that have real value. The ones that are or will be showing returns soon.
Technology stocks aren't just dot.coms and the sooner the media realises that the better. There are tech stocks out there that have lost 50% in value over the last 10 days, yet their fundamentals remain solid. The money will flow back into them, rather than the highly speculative stocks when this correction calms.
Steve Morgan, UK



I believe the real technology firms will eventually recover from this current slump while many of the current dot.com firms head for oblivion.

Phil, UK
I'm certainly no expert, but it seems to me people are deeply confused and think that so called 'dot.com' companies and real technology firms are one and the same. They are not. The former are grossly overvalued companies that make no profit, mostly, while the technology firms make a real profit.
It seems to me that with the current tech market "crash" that a few of the genuine technology firm are now, or are heading for, being undervalued, so now may well be a good time to invest in them if you choose to take that risk. I believe the real technology firms will eventually recover from this current slump while many of the current dot.com firms head for oblivion.
Phil, UK

Tech Stocks have taken off so well there is obviously going to be some stabilisation required to bring it back down to earth. Progress in Technology today appears infinite and what will ultimately happen is some from of re-classifying of Tech stocks. At the moment we see dot.coms classified as tech stocks but all they are just a marketing vehicle.
Paul Eatten, UK



Dump the dot.coms and invest in traditional companies with firm new economy strategies.

X, London, UK
I work for a management consultancy in London. For the past three years we have been advising traditional companies about how to make use of the internet and other new technologies. These "incumbent" firms are now beginning to make an impact. They have more resources and expertise than any of the dot.coms (apart from the few established ones, i.e. Amazon etc.).
In the next year or two we will see the rise of traditional firms which are currently desperately undervalued. Many dot.coms will not be able to compete with them. Their first-mover advantage will be eroded quickly. David won the first set, but Goliath is awakening. Dump the dot.coms and invest in traditional companies with firm new economy strategies.
X, London, UK


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05 Apr 00 | Business
Stock markets in trouble
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