RealTime IT News

Getting Back to Basics

Although I don't want to encourage Barron's by helping them sell any more newsstand copies, these guys sure don't mind stirring the pot when they unmask their glee over the dot-com meltdown. All's fair in love and war; but for Pete's sake, if you're looking to smear the entire Internet sector with a broad lazy brushstroke, at least commission a competent research firm to dig up dirt. I've seen a kindergartener with an abacus put together a more comprehensive job than Pegasus Research is doing.

Getting back to basics

Ilife.com is still busy trying to find a buyer for its sibling Web properties Consejero.com and Pivot.com. The company is making the smart decision by focusing on its flagship property bankrate.com while trimming the fat from its expenditures. In an all too familiar scene, the parent company is grabbing a bucket and bailing before going the way of the Dodo.

Consejero.com is a financial Web site focused on the Latin American community. It's got all the bells and whistles of the average pre-IPO up-and-comer - plenty of info on investing and personal finance, that sort of thing. But earlier this month, ilife told the start-up's skipper Bill Plasencia that he'd have to find another sugar daddy for his next payday. With so many mouths to feed, the cash drain had become much too burdensome.

During frothier times, ilife had ambitious plans to spin-off its sister sites into a couple of lucrative IPOs. Despite showing flashes of turning the corner, the new issues market is out of gas by the side of the road, and with it, easy money. From B2B to foreign language portals, the company did its best to keep pace with the money flow of investor dollars. But even Baskin Robbins couldn't keep up with all the flavors of the month.

Ilife itself appointed a new CEO last month to circle the wagons and start thinking about numero uno. With greenbacks running dangerously low, the company shed 10% of its workforce and auctioned off its College Press Network Web site to well-heeled Colleges.com.

With ilife's stock trading near a dollar and a half, there's no wiggle room for a secondary offering to refill the war chest. So, I like the latest moves to consolidate operations and sell off ancillary business interests. Most upstarts won't show warning signs until they're already turning out the lights. It's refreshing to see a company drop the game face and stop pretending there's no holes in the boat. In this case, tough decisions and straight forward house cleaning are what just might keep ilife afloat.

Any questions or comments, love letters or hate mail? As always, feel free to forward them to kblack@internet.com.

Want my daily missives delivered with your morning toast and coffee? Sign up for my DealTracker newsletter.