Amazon.com, RealNetworks Slump, and Net Stocks Follow

Amazon.com gets slammed by Alan Abelson, and investors send shares of the online retailer down swiftly.
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SAN FRANCISCO -- Internet stocks were making the most noise in the tech sector today, with losses in

Amazon.com

(AMZN) - Get Report

and

RealNetworks

(RNWK) - Get Report

contributing to weakness in the sector.

The biggest piece of news was the rip job on

Amazon.com

(AMZN) - Get Report

in

Alan Abelson's

"Up & Down Wall Street" column in

Barron's

. Abelson said he thinks the stock is worth "at most 25" and he was "doubtful" that the company would ever make money. Abelson writes that at twice its sales, Amazon's stock would sell for less than 25 -- and at one times sales, for less than 12.

While he had not read the article, Derek Brown, Internet analyst with

Volpe Brown Whelan

, said Abelson's figures "totally disregard the company's tremendous growth rate and growth potential," and that Amazon is laying the foundation to be a "very large business down the road."

Abelson's comments have still spooked some investors, and shares of the online retailer were down 18 1/16, or 10%, at 154.

Selling the Fact

In the "buy the rumor, sell the fact" department, we have RealNetworks. The company officially introduced its new streaming media software

RealJukebox

today. Last week, with rumors about the new system swirling, the stock gained as much as 51 points. Today, it is down 14 3/4, or 6.7%, at 206 3/4.

Another Amazon Competitor?

One of the concerns about Amazon.com is that there are few barriers of entry to its market, and an established retailer like

Wal-Mart

(WMT) - Get Report

could eventually provide strong competition.

There are any number of companies looking to take share away from Amazon, and one such company is debuting today:

ebates.com

, an online retailer whose gimmick is offering rebates to consumers who purchase items after linking from its site. After going to ebates.com, consumers have links to online stores and if they purchase something, ebates.com rebates the commission it makes from the company to the consumer. ebates.com makes money through advertising.

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The

Internet Advertising Report

said today that advertising revenue totaled $1.92 billion in 1998. This is more than double from the $906.5 million spent in 1997 and surpassed the estimated $1.58 billion spent on outdoor advertising. Results were most impressive in the fourth quarter, with revenue of $655.6 million, a 34% increase over the previous year.

Also, the

New York Times

reported today that book sales declined 3% in 1998 to 1.04 billion books, even though online booksellers had a larger presence. For the first time, online booksellers were considered a category and captured 2% of the market, according to the survey.