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Friday, 17 November, 2000, 15:14 GMT
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By BBC News Online internet reporter Mark Ward

A survey has revealed that dot.coms are going bust in ever increasing numbers.

The rate at which dot.coms are dot.gone has increased to more than one a day, and the trend shows no sign of slowing down says a survey by US net monitoring company

Those suffering the most seem to be the dot.coms trying to sell to consumers via the web only, but many net companies that deal only with businesses are struggling too.

Now some analysts are saying that traditional businesses may be the only ones that will be able to make the internet work for them. disasters

A survey by business monitor Webmergers has found that over 130 web-based companies have gone bust this year - and the rate at which they are closing down is accelerating.

More than 8,000 jobs have been lost as a result of the dot.coms collapsing.

The survey found that October saw 22 dot.coms close down but in the first two weeks of November a further 21 have shut up shop or changed the focus of their business.

This week, US financial website The Street closed its UK office and Beautynatural has ceased operating. One of the biggest casualties of the year was fashion site which has since been relaunched in a different format.

The news has been most grim for web companies who sell to consumers via the internet. Webmergers found that 75% of the companies closing were web retailers. casualties
and many more

The Webmergers survey said there were many reasons for the failure of the dot.coms. It said some were running unsustainable web businesses, others are simply taking too long to attract enough customers.

Now competition is growing because many traditional retailers are starting to set up their own net operations.

"There is a real Empire Strikes Back type feeling directed at the dot.coms that have not made money," said Bill Seibel, chief executive of internet consultancy Zefer, describing how traditional businesses are viewing the troubles of the dot.coms.

Mr Seibel said the failure of many dot.coms was making some traditional "bricks and mortar" companies wary of using the net to sell to consumers, but many are now starting to see how it can change the way they run the internals of a business.

"The crashes represent a catalyst that has led people to understand and appreciate the impact and transformation potential of the internet," he said.

"Without the advent of the dot.coms that catalyst would not have happened and the potential would not have been seen."

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