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Welcome to the 'Dot.Bloom' Era

By Kevin A. Jackson |

In the late 90's the world was taken by storm by the dot.coms, many of which died with the "dot.bomb" crash in April 2000. Six years later one thing has become clear. The 1990's promise of the web was not ill-founded, only too early and mis-directed.

While the original "bubble" was fueled by investors speculating on what often turned out to be little more than hot air, a new online business reality has been emerging over the last four years. It's not an explosion. It's a steady and promising evolution.

For those who like catchy phrases we think "dot.bloom" describes it best.

Consider this: online advertising is up. Consumer and business markets are now in place. And online technologies have become the communication platform for business and youth.

On May 29th we attended the Canadian New Media Awards, a gala event that recognizes Canada's top new media talent. The most interesting part of the night were conversations with the businesses engaged in supporting the next wave of online business.

Anecdotally everyone we spoke to said that business was good and revenues were up. Most interestingly, one entrepreneur that works with fortune 500 companies in Canada commented that for some of their clients as much as 30% of revenues are derived from online sources. With such a significant portion of revenues coming from e-channels companies have little choice but to re-evaluate how they allocate their marketing budgets.

Fact: according to Canada Online!, an extensive study that looked at the behavior, attitudes and trends of Internet users and non-users in 2004/2005, 72% of Canadians are now online and 56% are heavy users. High speed access is now the norm, not the exception. And as things get faster there are more ways to engage online users.

Engaging users is an important key to the "dot.bloom" reality. There are many tools businesses can use with "web 2.0" and blogs being buzzwords of the day. It's important to remember it's not the technology, but rather the end-user experience that matters.

This is an important lesson that can be learned from the original rise and fall of the first wave of businesses. An important part of the "dot.bloom" story is that investments now seem to be grounded in business fundamentals like sustainable cash flow, profit and loss projections and having a clear pathway to reach a break even point.

Technology is in a constant state of evolution and should be used to drive business objectives, as opposed to finding business objectives to justify the use of a particular technology. Before making any investment, look at the financials. Will the investment deliver a tangible financial benefit? Will it out-perform other options that may be available to you? Is there enough flexibility built in to allow your business to grow without costly redevelopment?

Having solid off-line connections seems to be another important part of the "dot.bloom" story. Today the cyber geeks seem to be more inclined to partner with off-line firms rather than staking a claim to "own" an online industry outright. The balance makes sense. One party brings the technological expertise while the other brings the customer relationships and industry value chain.

Some may say that our "dot.bloom" theory is just conjecture. Yet as the co-founders of® we have seen around corners before. We arrived on the Internet scene in late 1997 before the promise of the Internet become the media darling. We also survived the dot.bomb crash early on in the new millenium. From our view the time of the Internet is only just arriving. Exciting times lie ahead.

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