Study: Average American indifferent to Dot-com's demise


Sunday, March 18, 2001



Stock market investors and those with jobs tied to New Economy companies may be surprised to find that the Average Joe isn't all that concerned with the disappearing fortunes of the dot-com crowd.

More than half of adults recently surveyed said the closure of some Internet companies was a good thing, adding that there are too many mediocre Web sites online anyway.

The survey, conducted by Pew Internet and American Life Project, asked nearly 2,100 adults questions about the Internet economy and its effect on their daily lives.

Of those surveyed, 57 percent had Internet access.

Two-thirds of those responding in the survey said they weren't following the fall of dot-com companies; 30 percent said they didn't know anything at all about the topic.

Only seven percent of those surveyed said they lost money on a dot-com investment; only eight percent said the dot-com crash impacted a Web site they visited regularly.

Pew estimated that nationally, one-in-six Americans have been directly touched by the downward spiral of dot-com companies -- either by knowing someone who lost their job, losing money in New Economy investment, or losing a favorite Web site (of course, the adults responding may also wish to not admit their losses).

Of the 67 percent who were at least a little familiar with Internet stocks' downward slide, most didn't think it was a big deal. Only one-fourth said the believed Internet stocks would have a major impact on the national economy.

In fact, most of the survey's respondents attributed the dot-com crash primarily to investors seeking quick cash, poor business plans and young and inexperienced managers.

The Pew study's findings were supported by a recent Gallup Poll that found 57 percent of those surveyed found the Dow Jones Index's drop below 10,000 was no big deal.

It may simply be the case that those who have been whining the most are the ones who have -- or had -- the largest stacks of cash tied up in dot-com investments.

SEA OF TUNES? Facing lawsuits from music publishers and a court order to quit allowing copyrighted music files to be swapped by it users of its service, Napster braced itself for the impact that file filters would have on the service.

The main effect of file filters that removed or blocked copyrighted songs was a big reduction in the number of tunes available to swap online.

The number of files blocked is likely to increase as Napster hones its filter to include the spelling more and more music files.

The number of available files for swapping was down by more than 60 percent. With improvements, more songs will be blocked, and Napster has to hope that the reduction doesn't drive its customers away.

Napster will launch a fee-based service in July in partnership with music publishers Bertelsmann.

One plan by users to beat Napster's file filters was to name music files using a sort of "Pig Latin" naming convention. The first letter of each word in a song name would become the last letter of each word.

The software showed up recently in a link on the Web site for Aimster, a service that lets users of America Online's Instant Messenger service to swap music files.

Napster reported requested Aimster to quit providing the link.

For more information on what's happening with Napster, visit the Napster home page at

TICKET TO RE-ENTER. One of the hottest high-tech tourist trips is a trip to the South Pacific to watch the re-entry of the Russian Mir space station into Earth's atmosphere.

The station's fiery plunge is expected any day now. Even the Russians haven't seemed exactly sure what day it would occur.

NaviSite, an application hosting provider, will also be broadcasting the Mir's re-entry -- whenever that is -- via a special Web site,

The site will have special video streaming footage of the 140-ton Mir space station burning up in the atmosphere, as well as interviews

The special Mir Re-entry Observation Expedition plane, which will be carrying film production crews and other equipment, will fly roughly 200 miles from the project re-entry area to film the space station's fiery demise.

NaviSite has pulled off other live Web streaming events, including a Madonna concert broadcast live last year on MSN.

But unlike Madonna, who appeared on stage at a scheduled time, NaviSite will need some luck to successfully capture Mir's descent. The station could wind up re-entering in a large area that encompasses thousands of miles of the South Pacific.

For more information, visit

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