Editorial: AltaVista falls at the first hurdle

The unnerving concept that many fledgling dot.coms consist of little more than their reputation has done much to deflate the e-conomy bubble over the last year. So it doesn’t help to inspire investor confidence in the sector when a relatively established on-line player such as AltaVista admits that its oh so sexy offering of free unmetered access to the web turns out to be little more than hot air.

The unnerving concept that many fledgling dot.coms consist of

little more than their reputation has done much to deflate the e-conomy

bubble over the last year. So it doesn’t help to inspire investor

confidence in the sector when a relatively established on-line player

such as AltaVista admits that its oh so sexy offering of free unmetered

access to the web turns out to be little more than hot air.



The internet portal’s climb down last week over its failure to deliver

unmetered internet access was not an edifying sight. When announced

earlier this year, the service was hailed as a revolution in on-line

usage and the company’s attempt to pass the buck to BT cannot mask the

fact that AltaVista has committed the cardinal PR sin of

over-promising.



Admittedly, AltaVista is hardly the first company on or off-line to have

mucked up the equation of supply and demand. But in an economy where the

goods on offer are so intangible, such overhype is likely to have a

ripple effect.



Before falling on his sword, AltaVista managing director Andy Mitchell

admitted that he had been remiss in not telling customers sooner about

the problems, and consented that it might take a while for the company

to restore its reputation in the eyes of its customers ... perhaps six

months or more. Six months! Welcome to the real world, Andy. A

reputation in cyberspace might only take a matter of weeks to build, but

when it comes to a fall the laws of gravity still apply. It will be long

hard climb back to credibility.



Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins

Register
Already registered?
Sign in

Would you like to post a comment?

Please Sign in or register.