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New York 2001 Net predictions

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New York's shrinks will do well out of the dotcom bubble burst, according to one of the city's top ISPs.

Juno Online Services CEO Charles Ardai reckons the current mass of redundant Internet workers will end up either in journalism or advertising, or back at college studying for their MBAs. "They're not going to starve," he said, in reply to a question yesterday regarding the fate of these ex-dotcommers.

But he warned that the majority of them, mostly young and educated, would probably show "an interesting generational trauma" due to their expectations being raised very quickly through highly-paid jobs in a hyped industry, only to be dashed even faster.

"I think they're going to be in therapy for a while," he said. Ardai was speaking at the "2001: An Internet Odyssey" conference - an industry think tank event held last night to predict what Silicon Alley should expect from the Net in the next year.

Forecasted changes for the cybercommunity included a paid-for Internet. The panel agreed that moves by Napster and Yahoo!, which both recently announced plans to introduce fee-based services, were a sign of things to come.

"Free is principally great as a marketing device. But you have to charge something at some point," said Ardai.

Surfers were also told to expect more "webmercials" on the Net, and "a return to common sense" regarding dotcom valuations. Companies will no longer IPO after six months, but take a more normal period, such as five years. And the days of venture capitalists pouring cash into dotcoms will not be back, according to Daniel Schultz, managing partner at Draper Fisher Jurvetson Gotham Ventures.

"Before VCs thought, how many companies can I get into our portfolio. Now, it's which companies ought to be there," he said. ®

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