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Dotcom dodo loses power of speech

Keynote Keno at Internet World

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Fall Internet World was today hit by the e-malaise when one of its main speakers turned out to be a dotcom dodo.

Californian e-tailer Eve.com was signed up to send its co-founder Mariam Naficy to New York to open the show's Digital Fashion and Beauty Forum this morning. Unfortunately Eve.com went titsup.com on Friday, leaving event organisers with a hole in their schedule.

With more and more dotcoms turning into dotdodos, it's getting increasingly risky booking speakers so far (up to nine months) in advance, Fall Internet World chairman Jack Powers says.

"This problem has been terrifically accelerated this year," said Powers, who told The Register that event organisers scan Web site Fuckedcompany.com daily to check the fate of booked speakers and attendees. "It's (dotdodos) never happened to us as much as this year."

Around 15-20 per cent of speakers or companies have changed between the booking and show dates, he says.

"In some ways it's a little sad that the crazy cool guys are finding it hard to get by. But last year at the show you could get $1 million to start any kind of crazy business, and we said it would be bad for business if things got so out of whack that dopey ideas got funded," he said.

"And it turned out to be bad for business - this whole year has been such a pendulum swing. Where dotcoms were golden a year ago, they're trash today, and real life is somewhere else in between."

The biggest shift at the show itself has been the rush away from the B2C market. It was standing room only for the 650 attendees who flocked to the event's E-Commerce Symposium last year, but today it had to be moved into a smaller room after just 200 people turned up.

Exhibition

Exhibits at the event, which kick off tomorrow, include DigiScents, a Californian company that will be showing off a smelly Internet with more than 100 different whiffs, and Paris company LookThatUP, which promises to find any item on the Net when users click on its image.

Keynote speakers include Paul Ottelini, executive VP and general manager at Intel architecture business group, Barry Schuler, AOL interactive services group president, and Larry Ellison, Oracle CEO and chairman. There will also be a fashion show, where models will strut down the catwalk sporting wireless technology outfits. ®

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