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The Museum of E-Failure.
January 30, 2001 11:38 AM   Subscribe

The Museum of E-Failure. "May history not soon forget the hell we've all been through."
posted by fraying (24 comments total)

 
nice, don't forget F@#*ed Company
posted by ritualdevice at 11:45 AM on January 30, 2001


oooh how original.

Can someone explain to me why people revel in others' losses? Is it healthy or a sickness? Does it come from jealousy? Why do people do this?
posted by mathowie at 11:58 AM on January 30, 2001


"E-Failure" makes me cringe. Ouch.

I'm sorry, but I don't really have a lot of sympathy for many victims of the dotcom genocide. Some of these companies are just BAD IDEAS. In fact, most of them are. I feel badly for the talented folks who believed in their company and in their ideas, and the market just wasn't responsive. But for the most part, sites like "is_that_a_fact" are not going to generate revenue. I'm glad the dotcom facade is over. Hopefully everyone who jumped on the bandwagon because they smelled easy money will go back to being shoe-store managers and whatnot, and leave the web stuff to people who are actually passionate about computing.

I had no idea sixdegrees.com went under. Ah well.
posted by Succa at 11:59 AM on January 30, 2001


I work in a "dotcom" sorta situation, and people are always talking about this stuff with a certain level of glee. It seems kinda like nervous laughter. Cause they know that they're next.
I personally think it sucks. A LOT of people have lost their jobs recently, and that's never good.
posted by Doug at 12:01 PM on January 30, 2001


Can someone explain to me why people revel in others' losses.

Because a lot of these companies ...

... were started to capitalize on an insane IPO market rather than to build a lasting business.

... were run by people who worked their employees into the ground with exaggerated promises it would make everyone millionaires down the road.

... made life difficult for other businesses by using their IPO windfall to cut prices to the bone, even sometimes to the point of losing money on each sale.

... lost a lot of money for investors who bought stock after the IPO (while many directors and pre-IPO employees cashed out as soon as they could).


posted by rcade at 12:14 PM on January 30, 2001


Did you folks read the text on that page?

"This collection is a modest attempt to memorialize their passing by giving future historians attempting to deconstruct our loony age a few pieces of digital evidence to pore over."

There is no reveling here, no glee in failure. This is intended as a historical archive, and I'm glad someone (a few people, apparently) is doing it.

posted by fraying at 12:16 PM on January 30, 2001


Fraying, yeah, you're right. There's certainly no irony in their mission statement.

You're joking, of course?
posted by Doug at 12:21 PM on January 30, 2001


sixdegrees, now there is a site that I hated with a passion. The never ended email i got from them really pissed me off. I'm thinking about throwing a party in celebration of their demise.
posted by howa2396 at 12:21 PM on January 30, 2001


Because a lot of these companies ...

... were started to capitalize on an insane IPO market rather than to build a lasting business.


. . . the assumption being, apparently, that being a "lasting business" has some sort of intrinsic ethical value.

... were run by people who worked their employees into the ground with exaggerated promises it would make everyone millionaires down the road.

. . . which makes it okay to gloat at the misfortune of the employees worked into the ground and their failure to become millionaires.

... made life difficult for other businesses by using their IPO windfall to cut prices to the bone, even sometimes to the point of losing money on each sale.

. . . and goodness knows, price competition is a bad thing, and heaven forfend that businesses should need to compete with each other.

... lost a lot of money for investors who bought stock after the IPO (while many directors and pre-IPO employees cashed out as soon as they could).

. . . so, yes, let us all jump up and down and cheer at how much money their complete and utter downfall has cost those investors.

Dot-com miseries hardly constitute a reason to celebrate dot-com miseries.
posted by grimmelm at 12:21 PM on January 30, 2001


Can someone explain to me why people revel in others' losses.

I can take a shot at it.

Many people work hard, long hours all their lives at companies that actually produce some useful product or service and have nothing to show for it but just enough to cover this month's rent and groceries. Then along come a bunch of Cinderalla companies with cutesy names that lay out sickening amounts of press hype and fill all the bars in your neighborhood with pretentious stock option millionaires.
Is it so hard to understand why people might enjoy watching it all go down in flames?

The sad part is that most of the grunts, the code people who do all the real work to build these companies are the first to get the shaft when the money runs out, leaving just the CEOs and directors with enough cash to go start another Ponzi scheme.
posted by ritualdevice at 12:25 PM on January 30, 2001


My question was about fuckedcompany, and why people even produce these graveyards.

I don't see them as historical, because they take screenshots of the point of failure. It'd be like an american history museum having portraits of all american presidents, on their death bed. Is that how they should be remembered?

I know it's difficult, but seeing screenshots of e-burritos-to-go.com/goofy-get-rich-idea.com/pimentoloaf.com in their heyday would be more of a historical document to me. These companies always have a lag between when they announce big layoffs, and when the site actually comes down. I remember garden.com for instance, didn't carry a doom-and-gloom message for almost a week after their announcement.

Another example of these things if they were done right: I'd love to see what boo.com used to look like (I can barely remember). Everyone could certainly learn a lot from seeing an e-commerce store, running in a popup window, in flash. Mistakes wouldn't be made again.

And rcade, most of your points apply to CEOs, VPs, and biz dev folks, people I rarely cross paths with. I only see the developers that moved across the country, worked crazy hours to get a product out they loved, and got the short end of the stick in the end.
posted by mathowie at 12:26 PM on January 30, 2001


Then along come a bunch of Cinderalla companies with cutesy names that lay out sickening amounts of press hype and fill all the bars in your neighborhood with pretentious stock option millionaires.

case in point: pixelon.com
posted by milnak at 12:47 PM on January 30, 2001


Matt, I totally agree. Check out the screenshots - many (most?) are just that: screenshots of the sites then they were still active.

For example: Den, Gazoontite, Pseudo....

And Doug, I was talking about the netslaves museum, not fuckedcompany. So, no, I wan't joking. I never joke. ;-)
posted by fraying at 12:50 PM on January 30, 2001


I'm one of those people too, Matt. I spent a year developing an idiotic interactive TV product only to see investors bail out the day before the product was shipped to stores for the 1994 Christmas season. We all bought into the delusion that the thing was going to make us all rich.

. . . the assumption being, apparently, that being a "lasting business" has some sort of intrinsic ethical value.

Ethics have nothing to do with it. Putting an initial public offering out there is a legal commitment to building a business with a future. When directors and employees cash out of their stock as fast as they can, they're suckering the people who believed in their company by purchasing the stock.

goodness knows, price competition is a bad thing, and heaven forfend that businesses should need to compete with each other.

They have the right to take a loss on every sale, but it should explain why the rest of us celebrate the demise of a company that does business that way.

Dot-com miseries hardly constitute a reason to celebrate dot-com miseries.

I'm celebrating the demise of the reckless financing that made the dot-com boom possible. In December 1999, the average NASDAQ stock was priced 281 times as large as its earnings. That's an 800 percent increase from three years earlier, when the price/earnings ratio was at an all-time high of 33.

I don't want to see anyone laid off. My brother-in-law and several other people I know lost jobs because of this bust. But I gotta tell you I'm happier that we're not in the midst of the modern tulip bulb frenzy any more.
posted by rcade at 1:06 PM on January 30, 2001


ah, I didn't see any good screenshots like that, I clicked on four or five random ones and only saw they "sorry, we're closed" screenshots.
posted by mathowie at 1:08 PM on January 30, 2001


Dotcomness isn't over. Its just different is all...for people with real skills and talent there is still a lot of work. How does this compare with daimler-chrysler cutting 26,000 jobs? or lucents 10,000? Every year major corporations cut enough jobs to fill every position in the entire DotCom world.
posted by th3ph17 at 1:31 PM on January 30, 2001


Did you read the business press one or two years ago? While there were a few cautionary articles most of the coverage was just cheerleading for the dot com companies. F*@ckedcompany's bulletin boards used to have useful and intelligent comments in them occasionally. It's was good to read something with a different bias.

I also don't understand why just because a bunch of people work hard on something we should have to respect their work or their work product. I'm sure that people work hard to create prime time television shows but that doesn't mean I think the shows aren't crap.
posted by rdr at 1:45 PM on January 30, 2001


I quit my job at vicus.com before the financial trouble began. This was an alternative health website who's goal was to make insurance companies cover alternative treatments such as acupuncture and massage. It was run by doctors who knew something of the content they were generating.
It would sadden me to see it on something like f**kedcompany.com. however, it was a great company with a lot of useful information and seeing it in a dot com graveyard wouldn't bother me.
Can someone explain to me why people revel in others' losses.
Because most people are unhappy little humans who are more concerned with the flow of small green pieces of paper in and out of their life than the content of their character. Things that threaten them and theirs (like the possibility of them losing their job) makes them nervous and cranky. Then they get mean. The only thing that makes them feel better is looking at someone else and saying "Say..I'm glad I am not that poor hack! He/She doesn't even have a job."
Sad commentary indeed on the state of human consciousness.

posted by thacker at 2:02 PM on January 30, 2001


What role do you think Spam played in some of these company's failure?

Sites like sixdegrees.com seemed set out to be more fun than profit-making. However, even though some friends of mine (mostly net-newbies) put me on their sixdegrees lists, I never responded in kind because I didn't trust sixdegrees not to sell my email to spam marketers.

This goes for alot of other sites which did or do offer "free" services/games/whatnot. I don't trust them and it's all about the Spam.


posted by amanda at 2:07 PM on January 30, 2001


sixdegrees.com used to send me their email (very annoying) and I never responded. I don't lament their demise. And about why people revel in others' losses, it's called "schadenfreude", having pleasure in other's misfortunes. It's been around for a long, long time and the feelings surrounding the dot.com shakeout happens to be a higly visible manifestation of that. Can any of us here say we've not experienced schadenfreude at one time or another?

posted by doublehelix at 3:08 PM on January 30, 2001


They have the right to take a loss on every sale

Actually, that's not necessarily so. United States anti-trust laws prohibit "predatory pricing," or pricing strategies that are designed to discipline competitors or exclude rivals from a particular market. IANAL, but here's my attempt to summarize the issue: "Predatory pricing" is a pretty vaguely defined term in the anti-trust codes, but according to precedent, one of the things a plaintiff must show in order to demonstrate this type of exclusionary pricing is that the defendant priced goods below cost. It all gets complicated by questions of whether cost is calculated with respect to single products or entire product lines, and whether it's feasible that the alleged predator will have the opportunity to recoup the early losses through super-high prices when the competition has been eliminated. (Of course, companies that go out of business through these strategies would seem to qualify out of the predator category on the "feasibility" point.) In any case, though, selling at a loss may be distinctly verboten, depending on circumstances.
posted by redfoxtail at 3:39 PM on January 30, 2001


"May history not soon forget the hell we've all been through."

How can any reasonable person describe this dot-com shakeout, this grand end to such a grand party, as "hell"? This kind of hyperbole is shameful, whether it's ironic or not.

An end to three years of a roaring economy and high-paying jobs for fresh college grads? A shift from Starbucks to Dunkin' Donuts, from Jettas to Civics? A sudden need to earn money the old-fashioned way -- with hard work and modesty -- like our parents and grandparents? None of this is hell. Hell is having to dig your family out from a pile of bricks.

Please, let us maintain a sense of scale during this economic hangover as we cope with getting back to reality. On a scale of 1 to "hell," embryonic companies going out of business barely registers as "bummer."
posted by luke at 5:22 PM on January 30, 2001


Speaking of bummers, it appears Justin has been laid off.
posted by luke at 8:26 PM on January 30, 2001


The point in celebrating, Mathowie and Thacker, is that, for a while, the world at large seemed cowed into being respectful of enormous cognitive dung -- a vast new language of slangy, cynical, hipper-than-Dow market-minded uselessness. This, to replace both the brick-and-mortar world and the reasonable, sly vitality of the pre-boom Internet. And people were going for it!

Sorry about the good sites that didn't make it -- to the remaining 98%, I delight in tramping the dirt down on their graves.
posted by argybarg at 10:34 PM on January 30, 2001


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