is dead.
June 12, 2000 10:35 AM   Subscribe is dead. Anyone care to speculate why they failed?
posted by mathowie (16 comments total)
heh, i just got an email about that.

and um, because e-commerce is a failed structure for business across any web site.
posted by sikk at 11:04 AM on June 12, 2000

DAMN IT! Is there no end to this?
And I used to order from there. What's next? Ebay? Amazon?
posted by tiaka at 11:24 AM on June 12, 2000

I vote for CDNow - they are low on cash and have been for a while.

I knew quite a few people who ordered from Reel, but I'm just guessing that the business model wasn't solid.
posted by hijinx at 11:31 AM on June 12, 2000

Well, I'm sure my business means nothing in the long run, but they spammed me right after they launched (I didn't sign up for "partner offers" or anything, it was a brand new ISP address) and I swore I'd never order anything from them.
posted by Electric Elf at 11:33 AM on June 12, 2000

amazon has a ton of cash. the company i work for has a ton of cash (

cdnow however, i see them going out of business by at least the end of the year.

not so well noted and sister companies are dead in the water as well.

oh well, good riddance.
posted by sikk at 11:37 AM on June 12, 2000

This is just the inevitable shakedown that occurs in any new industry. Alas.
posted by solistrato at 11:41 AM on June 12, 2000

Dammit! Does that mean I won't EVER get my DVD that's been backordered for a month an a half?!?
posted by grumblebee at 12:49 PM on June 12, 2000

This is normal for any new industry. If you do your research, you'll find the names of thousands of companies who were prosperous at the beginning of the Industrial age who are no longer operating.

The primary reason a lot of the dot-coms are dropping dead is they blew way too much money on expensive advertising. If they had thrown more effort and innovation into guerrila marketing or developing unique services, maybe most of these companies would still be around. Instead, what we're seeing is startup after startup playing the me-too card, buying Superbowl advertising, hiring multi-million daollar advertising agencies, and generally making bad business decisions that look good in the short term, but bad in the long term.

The dot-com companies to watch are the ones doing truly innovative things with technology. All you have to do is watch the open source movement and you'll realize that the second wave of Intenret companies is about to push themselves into the limelight.
posted by camworld at 1:10 PM on June 12, 2000

Interesting. I just called and asked about the status of my order in light of their plans to go out of business. The depressed-sounding operator told me that the employees haven't yet been officially told that the company is bust.
posted by grumblebee at 1:20 PM on June 12, 2000

Isn't going to kick it soon as well? I recall reading somewhere their best selling item was that stupid sock puppet.
posted by Nyarlathotep at 1:27 PM on June 12, 2000's CEO is's former CEO -- Julie Wainwright. She also headed up Berkeley Systems (After Dark, You Don't Know Jack) for awhile.

From my brief glimpse into (2.5 years ago, when they were a client of Studio Archetype's, where I worked), I'd say the problem is a simple one--mismanagement. There was very little focus or direction--are we a store? an information space? maybe we should be a community? or a online university?

They also had a cost-intensive editorial operation--40 or so full-time writers/editors churning out articles, movie blurbs, etc.

I can't speak to anything that happened post-takeover by Hollywood Entertainment.
posted by peterme at 1:33 PM on June 12, 2000

Garden and Dr. Koop are two companies here in Austin, TX which are both very low on funding.

Cam makes an important point about the inevitable shakedown of the dotcom market. I would also add that this is a good thing. Over inflated market caps and disgustingly flawed business plans do not help the industry evolve, competetion does-- which is driven by the threat of failure. Failure is an important part of evolution just like making mistakes (and learning what you did wrong) is an important part of life. Smart companies will learn from the collective experience of the industry.

Another reason that companies like Koop will be having problems is that they should have never IPOed. Koop is a feature, they would be an awesome compliment database to go along with a pharmaceuticals ecommerce play but on their own it's just not significant enough.
posted by bryanboyer at 1:36 PM on June 12, 2000

It's worth noting that is related to a nice store, Reel Video, in Berkeley; if I were going to buy DVDs, I'd do it there. Perhaps if Hollywood Video had foreseen the rise of the "clicks-n-bricks" mantra, they'd have opened more stores and Reel would have gotten more of a brand name.
posted by snarkout at 1:53 PM on June 12, 2000

What we're seeing is a dose of reality: ultimately, any business has to take in more revenue than it pays out in expenses.

You can't continue losing money forever. The fundamental .com concept everyone's been using: "Build market share and name recognition and worry about profits later" has now reached the "worry about profits" stage -- and too many of these companies have discovered that they don't know how to make profits in the businesses they've selected.

By the way, similar logic suggests that there's going to be dramatic shakeout in the Linux industry fairly soon; they're all in the red, too. Market share they got. Profit is still elusive. Red Hat continues to bleed cash; eventually they're going to run out.
posted by Steven Den Beste at 3:34 PM on June 12, 2000

I personally think it was a grand conspiracy of Rosicrucians and Masons...but then again, I would.

Seriously, I don't think I ever heard of them, but that's not all that surprising. I have neither a TV nor a DVD player.
posted by Ezrael at 4:39 AM on June 13, 2000

What pisses me off just a little, in the shakedown, is that:

1. Plenty of people cashed in the chips from moronic startups, and it feels slightly unjust that only the late arrivals at the snake oil market get to suffer.

2. Far too many people have 20/20 hindsight here.
posted by holgate at 4:55 AM on June 13, 2000

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