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The451.com is dead

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Paid-for IT news site The451.com is officially dead. Its majority owner Durlacher announced to the stock market this morning that receivers had been appointed yesterday for the site's company 45Onecom Ltd.

The London and San Francisco branches are shut down with immediate effect although we understand desperate attempts are afoot to keep the swanky New York branch open. In July, the offices in Hong Kong, Germany and Australia were shut down. The move will see the loss of 25 jobs.

Yesterday, the company refused to comment on rumours of its demise and denied reports that staff has worked for free for the last week. Staff at the New York office - on 5th Avenue and complete with leather sofas and exposed brick, described as "the dog's bollocks" by one visitor - are said to have been paid in cash.

The451.com was valued at £500,000 at the end of June. Whether its database of subscribers and wide-ranging IT analysis stories, plus PCs and some furniture is worth that now remains to be seen.

We at The Reg were never persuaded of the site's ability to survive. It had very high-faluting ideas born of journalists' inherent confidence that good-quality writing simply can't fail to make money. It can of course. We didn't like the tag "technology firestarters" either or that it's named after the burning temperature of paper in Fahrenheit - all seemed a bit, well, self-satisifed.

The site attempted to charge companies $600 a year from day one - even though at the start there was very little actually available. Why pay for it when other idiots (like ourselves) supply every day's news for free? The451's response was that it would provide top-notch analysis pieces.

The pieces were often very good but it was simply a case of not enough companies wanting to pay so much for an online brand that had never really got round to proving itself. Didn't help either that Durlacher has been badly burnt by the Internet revolution. The FT put it very succinctly a while ago when it said Durlacher's Net portfolio looked like "a disparate conglomeration of stakes in companies that may never graduate to the stock market".

Still a shame though. Another one bites the dust. ®

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