The Weakest Link

So all you portals and search engines. With millions of dollars invested and in your pockets, and with two years in which to answer the question of profit, you have managed to bank a grand total of nothing.

Which of you is a few beans short of a combination plate? Let’s vote off the weakest link!

(In this round, Google is the strongest link. It has stayed private and bagged most of the Web traffic while concentrating only on search. AltaVista is the weakest link. It has failed to capitalize on any of its innovations, and its parent company’s stock price has fallen 98 percent in the last year. But will the team have noticed?)

Time is up. Let’s see who is the weakest link!

Excite, you haven’t been lighting any investors’ fires lately. Why did you vote off NBCi?

    They started trading at $88.50 per share, and they’re being taken out at a little over $2.

Yes, but they’re not owned by an AT&T cable portal, and at least their boss was willing to invest real cash in them (even if he lost it).

Terra Lycos, why did you vote off NBCi? I see your Spanish lessons haven’t left you any smarter.

    They had perfectly good brands like Snap and Xoom, then kept killing them off for no good reason.

That is supposed to be worse than letting stupid executives throw over smart ones for strictly bureaucratic purposes?

AltaVista, I notice you voted for NBCi as well. Yet, technically, you are the weakest link. Why?

I didn’t know a little irrational exuberance was such a bad thing.

Why are you smirking, Microsoft? Your glasses need a new prescription? You also voted for NBCi.

    Just this week they gave us the Web site of their top cable network for practically nothing. They had all sorts of cool technology there but never came up more than fourth in the ratings among finance Web sites.

While you, on the other hand, with all your money and power, climbed all the way up to number three!

So, Web-portal NBCi. You’ve heard what these people have to say. Anything you want to add in your defense?

    Our spokeslady is cute. Did you see her commercials with the star of “Ed”?

    And having our own Web portal is a great branding opportunity for our other new shows, such as this one.

Ah, but I’m coproduced by the BBC. I’m practically a civil servant — I can’t be fired. But you, on the other hand, can be. And by the votes of your fellow portal team members, you have been.

NBCi, you are the weakest link. Goodbye!

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