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Wednesday, 3 January, 2001, 13:02 GMT
Cyber-hermit emerges from exile
DotComGuy
DotComGuy didn't leave the house for a year
A man who has spent the past year shut in his home, relying on the internet to provide every necessity, has finally emerged from his self-imposed, virtual existence.


I hope it's okay, but I would like to be away for a few days

DotComGuy
The cyber-hermit, who changed his name to DotComGuy to reflect his online life, left his Dallas townhouse at one minute past midnight (0601 GMT) on Monday, ending an exile in which he had never ventured beyond his backyard.

According to DotComGuy, born Mitch Maddox, he began his voluntary house arrest to prove that the internet could provide all of a person's daily needs.

When he first locked himself in on 1 January, 2000, his house was empty, but over the course of the year he managed to completely furnish the house and buy all of his goods via the internet.

His daily life was recorded by 20 cameras that broadcast to the world on his website.

Frequently bored

DotComGuy said that he had been bored at times, but that the year had passed quickly as he answered e-mails and questions from reporters and fans.

DotComGuy
He bought all of his furniture and goods over the internet
The experiment was supported by corporate sponsors who wanted to persuade more customers to shop on the internet.

They included web travel booking site Travelocity.com, shippers United Parcel Service Inc, computer manufacturers Gateway Inc and several others.

How much of a toll the year of self-imposed house arrest took on DotComGuy is uncertain, but it was clear he was ready to leave.

Escaping the cameras

After having his daily existence constantly watched by a global audience, DotComGuy plans to stay disconnected for a while.

"I hope it's okay, but I would like to be away for a few days," he told his business partner Len Pritcher.

Other plans include changing his name back to Mitch Maddox.

The computer systems manager also intends to wed his fiancée, Crystalyn Anne Holubeck, whom he met in a chatroom on his website.

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See also:

02 Jan 00 | Americas
Planning for a year online
02 Jan 01 | Business
Festive cheer for etailers
12 Oct 00 | Business
Net shopping 'pitfalls' warning
05 Mar 99 | E-conomy
Is e-shopping safe?
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