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Backing the Net

Going overboard with Back the Net Day?

Will Yahoo! be around in a year? Is Amazon.com in trouble? These and other seemingly inconceivable questions are finding their way into more and more digerati conversations. According to Iconocast, the San Francisco-based newsletter broadcaster, unless something drastic is done soon, companies as rock-solid as these are not long for this world. And so Michael Tchong, editor and CEO of Iconocast, is doing something drastic. On April 3rd, Iconocast will host a Back the Net Day, urging Internet users to use the Net in some commerce-related way on that day as a show of support for the sagging medium.

What’s wrong with this picture? Of course Yahoo! and Amazon.com will be around. There’s too much value in those brands for them to go the way of Voter.com. If our reader surveys are any indication, most of you think so–110 of the 126 respondents have said Yahoo! would be around in a year.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m all for some sort of organized effort to show investors that the Net’s population is still going strong. And I’m also concerned for the future of the Net and the economy that supports it. But don’t you think it’s overstating the case just a titch to consider the demise of the Internet’s two biggest brands?

While Amazon won’t be profitable in time for its investor deadlines and its stock will suffer as a result, it’s got a long way to go before it’s delisted, let alone defunct. And even if it gets sold for parts, the destination will persist. And Yahoo! may need to make radical changes to approach profitability, but the destination still is the default page on more browsers’ screens than any other URL on the Net.

Psychology is one of the main problems with the current state of the New Economy. Everyone knows this is the worst time to sell tech stocks and the best time to buy. Yet investors are still dumping their tech stocks. Why? Because they’re scared to death that the inevitable bullish rebound will never happen, that history will not repeat itself in this case. The last thing we need in this climate is more hysteria. What we do need is a calm examination of investors’ behavior and a clear message to them about why it’s wrong. Let’s have a Back the Net Day, but let’s not promote it as if the Internet is doomed if it doesn’t work.

James Mathewson is editorial director of ComputerUser.com and ComputerUser magazine. Check out his monthly Stocks column in ComputerUser magazine, where he has been telling investors to buy tech stock bargains for months.

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