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Cube8 forms ‘commercial relationship’ with the teenage dotcom millionaire

But doesn't invest any money in CyberBritain

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Internet incubator Cube8 has formed a "commercial relationship" with CyberBritain - the portal run by "teenage dotcom millionaire" Ben Cohen, who is no longer a millionaire.

Ben Cohen is famous for his JewishWeb site which was valued at £5 million during the heady days of dotcom but was ultimately shut down by a competitor. He was also the focus of a BBC documentary Trouble at the Top.

The deal will see Cube8 supremo and friend of The Reg Steve Masters take on a co-CEO role with Cohen and CyberBritain rent out offices in Cube8's London HQ. No money has changed hands, but Steve has this jargon to tell us: "We announced a strategy last year to develop a division parallel to our investment arm that would leverage our incubation portfolio to drive direct revenues into our business. This is a tangible example of that."

Or, slightly more clearly: "We are hoping to gain more benefits from this relationship than consultancy fees. The commercial relationships we're forming in the CyberBritain group will benefit the other companies in our portfolio."

Cube8 explains it was the first company to licence CyberBritain's search technology, called Hermia in March last year. Critics have pointed out the similarity between Hermia and the Open Directory Project run by Netscape. CyberBritain has also been attacked by the Jewish community due to its porn search element - its most profitable part - and claimed page impressions for the portal have also come under scrutiny.

CyberBritain has signed a deal with Affinity, which looks after the interests of 150 ISPs, and Cube8 offspring ISP BlueCarrots. It claims to be in the black.

CyberBritain chairman Gerry Defries said in the press release: "I'm delighted with this arrangement because CyberBritain was at the point where it had lots of potential deals on the table and it needed to focus on an effective course. Now we not only have an experienced player on board, but we also have
potential relationships with another 16 companies under one roof."

We understand that Ben's experience with the dotcom collapse has left him calmer and less explosive than he once was. He has retained the services of three teenage friends, none of whom could be called brats. ®

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