Dot-Com Dissipation

Cramer suggests Michael Ovitz's online project is a sure sign of a .com overindulgence.
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What happens if they throw a dot-com party and nobody shows? There are now so many online offerings and so many new ones coming that I have to wonder whether there isn't a no-show coming up.

Right now, from what I can tell, there isn't anybody currently in business that isn't concocting a dot-com. My favorite of this recent rash of dot-coms (and it does feel like some sort of itch, doesn't it?) is the

Michael Ovitz

dot-com -- takeout.com or checkout.com or checkin.com, something catchy like that.

Hey, be there! Mike, why bother to set the dot-com up first? Do the offering first, then set up the site. Heck, don't set the site up at all. Just talk about it. Then the expectations will never be overrun by the reality -- or the virtual reality, for that matter. Make us fear not buying it! Make us tremble with the notion that we don't own it! (That can still happen after that pathetic

Times

profile, can't it? You still have that kind of juice, don't you?) Strike fear into the hearts of portfolio managers who attempt to short it. Let 'em have it in the PR kisser!

Why does everybody think it is so darn easy? Why does everybody think that a URL guarantees business? Have URL, will do offering -- is that it? You know you have to get people to go to your Web site, not just investors to buy your stock. At least the last time I looked you had to. Not only that, but those

Media Metrix

numbers don't pay any bills. You have to get people to advertise against them.

And here's the real shocker: Running a Web business is actually difficult. It requires interaction with actual people, called customers, who take it for granted that you exist and will respond. These readers will go elsewhere if you don't interact with them.

Maybe mikeovitz@whatever.com will shoot back an answer when you have a problem. Get his hands dirty in truly interactive fashion.

Somehow, though, I don't expect that to happen.

One thing is for certain, the bankers won't tell you when there are too many dot-coms. Their goal, quite frankly, is to pump them out until they flop. Only then will there be too many. When it is too late for everybody.

Random musings:

The

New York Daily News

reports that

Barbra Streisand

now trades online. What bothers me about the article is the notion that this should be an anomaly. I always thought online trading would be a boon to people in the entertainment industry. They can do it without handlers, at their leisure, during hours of their own choosing. I bet there are more Streisands out there than the gossip columnists even know about. I say, welcome aboard Ms. Streisand and hit it out of the park today.

James J. Cramer is manager of a hedge fund and co-founder of TheStreet.com. At time of publication, his fund had no positions in any stocks mentioned. His fund often buys and sells securities that are the subject of his columns, both before and after the columns are published, and the positions that his fund takes may change at any time. Under no circumstances does the information in this column represent a recommendation to buy or sell stocks. Cramer's writings provide insights into the dynamics of money management and are not a solicitation for transactions. While he cannot provide investment advice or recommendations, he invites you to comment on his column at

letters@thestreet.com.