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Jewish Web sites slug it out

Not so much a case of David and Goliath, more David and smaller David

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The UK's youngest Internet tycoon is facing an online battle with a copycat Web site which claims he is too young to do the job properly. Benjamin Cohen, teen founder of jewishnet, is worth a cool £5 million. The lad featured as the most junior member of The Sunday Times' list of Web millionaires published at the weekend. Jewishnet.co.uk offers a business directory, a dating service and a chatroom. Rival Kosheronline, promising to be "the definitive online guide to everything Jewish", is expected to be valued at around £4 million when it goes on AIM this month. The group of Web entrepreneurs behind the challenge plan to offer Jewish business-to-business advertising, a dating service and a chatroom. Co-incidence? Cohen doesn't seem to think so. He was steaming off in today's FT about the similarities of the sites. "They have already attacked my site, saying a 17-year-old isn't a big enough force to attract a community. But their business model is a carbon copy of mine," stated an unhappy Cohen. Steven Burns, Kosheronline's CEO, was equally vocal. "There is nothing on Jewishnet which is going to get my mother, my grandmother or my seven-year-old niece to go online. "Kosheronline's breadth of content is what's going to make us different," he said. So far, all that is available on Kosheronline's site is an application form for a prospectus and a list of "coming soon" attractions. Rabbi Alan Plancy, Jewishnet's virtual rabbi, commented: "The Jewish community does not have Davids and Goliaths. Whoever provides the best service will win". ®

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