Continued Dotcom Downturn Batters Excite, CMGI

26 September 2001

Dotcoms continue to suffer, with news of further problems at broadband internet provider Excite@Home and CMGI, owner of search engine AltaVista.

Keen to move away from its cash-haemorrhaging media business, Excite@Home is laying off 500 staff, some 27% of the total, mostly from its Excite portal business.

In a bid to reduce operating costs, the company is also selling the MatchLogic interactive marketing unit it bought in 1998 and reducing its shopping and gaming services, though it insisted its search engine, messaging, email and news features would be unaffected.

However, Excite warned the moves would still not guarantee the company’s survival. “We wanted to give people a reality check,” it said [not least the soon-to-be-redundant staffers]. “The announcement is not going to resolve our ongoing concern.”

CMGI, meanwhile, reported a $1.27 billion net loss for the quarter ending in July, much wider than the $633.7 million posted last year. Revenues, hit by the slump in online advertising, tumbled almost one-third to $255.5m. The company also announced it is selling its online broadcast unit to Loudeye Technologies for $4m.

However, chief executive David Wetherell insisted: “Our increased focus on realising efficiencies through consolidation and improvement of operating processes should continue to bear fruit in the coming quarters as we move closer to our goal of profitability.”

News sources: Financial Times; BBC Online Business News (UK)