Amid the flood of ... on how Internet ... ... and ... in the ... of the attack on ... 11, was a small item about Standard Media closing the Industry Standard We
Amid the flood of information on how Internet companies performed and contributed in the aftermath of the attack on September 11, was a small item about Standard Media closing the Industry Standard Website, once the epicenter of the Internet economy. Certainly it was no surprise after the company ceased publishing its weekly print magazine last summer. The Website had been run by a skeletal staff while Standard Media, in bankruptcy, sold the last of its assets.
It was also no surprise when the Standard ceased publication. Just two years old, the company had quickly swelled as it succeeded in becoming the major business publication tracking Internet business. But a $40 million revenue projection for 2001 just wasn't enough to cover the bills. I suppose $40 million in sales is a crushingly small when you've budgeted for $100 million.
Yet it still hot me as a quiet blow when I read that the Standard Website had gone dark.
I know it's a tiny blip of a news item. Like the rest of the country, I'm still struggling to absorb the staggering magnitude of last month's attack. I'm still trying to understand the new world we entered on September 11. Plus, the economy, already a confusing bird, has suddenly entered very mysterious waters. So who cares about the last whimper of the passing Internet economy?
Call me a sentimentalist, but I'm nostalgic for those heady new-economy days that came to an abrupt end just 10 months ago, It seems like ten years. The Standard was the flagship of a burgeoning business publishing boom, the leader among a flowering of magazines and Websites that got it. Remember when you could divide the world into those who got it and those who were hopelessly brick?
I spent a happy couple years scribing in the middle of the delirious mess of a tech boom, first drafting twice-daily dispatches as a correspondent at Web-based news service Ecommerce Times, and later as a senior editor at Ecommerce Business, a Cahners fortnightly pub trying to do the Standard one better by focusing on ecommerce, the bleeding edge of Internet-based business. I had the trillion-dollar beat, B2B.
We felt like war correspondents, covering the fire-hose gush of boom-time developments, watching the business world re-imagine itself. Now ecommerce has been absorbed by traditional industry sectors. Now there are real war correspondents back at work covering more grimly serious events.
Ecommerce Business was one of the first pubs to go. Cahners shut it down without notice or fanfare and scattered the staff to the wind. I landed at another Cahners trade, Electronic News, where I get to cover the continuing B2B saga at tech companies such as Intel, Cisco and E2opn. My former boss, Lester Craft, now heads up the last of the pure e-business slicks, Line 56. After Ecommerce Business fell last January it was followed by Business 2.0, which continues in name only as Fortune's eCompany Now. And finally the Standard is history.
Many are pleased to see Net economy crumble. The traditional players in finance and industry were disgusted by the excesses of hype and hyperbole. They scoffed when new-biz writers speculated that the business cycle may come to an end due to the endless productivity gains delivered by a globally connected world. The nay-sayers are certainly getting their day. The business cycle, as you may notice, is fully in place.
As I've written many times in this column, Internet business is still in fine shape. A Web-based storefront in a well-established center such as Yahoo! very well may be the quickest and cheapest way to launch a small business today. But the concept of the Internet economy ushering in a new world has been dashed against the brutal rocks of history. We live in a more serious time now, not so dizzy with dreams.
The passing of the Standard's Website is the last tiny sigh of an era passed