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Online DIY couple divorce thanks to Net

Modern equivalent to shagging the builder

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A couple that managed to renovate their home by broadcasting their DIY antics over the Web are to divorce, thanks to the Internet.

Louise and Paul Jones bought a run-down house near Poole in Dorset in 1997 with the aim of doing it up. In November 1998, they decided to try an online experiment in which they would broadcast their DIY efforts between 5.30pm and 7.30pm on www.InternetHomemakers.com.

Since it's not illegal to advertise products on Web shows, they initially managed to persuade 28 backers to provide free materials in return for ads. The site got 32,000 hits a day from the start and the Joneses realised they'd tapped an unfound market.

It soon had 400 backers, including big names like Black & Decker, Laura Ashley and Dulux. They and their four kids (previous marriage) managed to increase the house's value from £98,000 to £380,000 in the spate of two years and everything looked hunky-dory, with plans to do it all again on a second house nearby.

However, the Joneses success online has ended up ruining the marriage. Louise spent hours on the Net as a result of the project and was soon in close contact with an American admirer in Iowa who had been checking her out every night. A close relationship soon developed.

Then, following a recent visit to America, Louise decided she would move in with this new man. And so Paul has left the home that made them famous and put it on the market. Marriage over.

So there you go - the power of the Internet, both positive and negative, in one tiny capsule. The world will never be the same. ®

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