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Channel.com Briefs: LookSmart, Melbourne IT, Dot.Com

Channel.com Briefs: LookSmart, Melbourne IT, Dot.Com

LookSmart still talking

LookSmart Australia vice president Becky Thompson has confirmed the Internet directory specialist broke off its talks with Telstra over a possible equity buy-out, but continues discussions with the telco over its directory business.

"We continue to discuss general business development in distributing directories, but we have terminated the equity talks to focus on more immediate issues," said Thompson. "The talks had been going on for a considerable amount of time."

Thompson added that, contrary to many public reports, there is no relation between the breakdown in talks and the poor price of Telstra shares at present.

LookSmart expects to post a profit after non-cash items by the second quarter of 2001 (end of June).

"We have been forecasting that for a considerable amount of time," Thompson said. "Our revenues are growing considerably on our costs."

Melbourne IT tenders top-level domains

Melbourne IT's joint venture with American registry services firm Neustar has submitted five tenders to act as registry operator or contractor for new top-level domains (TLDs) soon to be issued by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN).

In response to ICANN's invitation on August 15, the joint venture has tendered for the domain spaces .web (open for any use), .biz (restricted to registered business sites), .per (for non-commercial, personal sites), and .geo (a "geographical locator domain").

ICANN will accredit new registries by the end of this year, with any approved domain names becoming operational as of the second half of 2001.

Dot.com disasters

As if falling stock prices on Nasdaq have not caused US investors enough heart attacks, the closing down of several dot-coms and warnings of poor earnings from some of the biggest US technology companies is rubbing salt into the wound.

The dot-com failures include the grocery arm of Priceline.com, as well as Productopia.com and teen site Kibu.com, all announcing they will close down operations due to shortfalls in revenues. Even Amazon.com is looking shaky, its share price hitting a 52-week low.

The warnings of poor earnings have afflicted solid PC vendors such as Dell and Apple, as well as the likes of Intel, Lucent, StorageTek and Compuware.

But the news is not all bad in dot-com land, with Web portal Yahoo beating analyst expectations to become one of the few Internet companies to post a profit for the third quarter.


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