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Neil Jacobsohn on the Dot.Bomb

SOUTH AFRICA -- CEO of Johnnic e-Ventures (JeV), Neil Jacobsohn, is a fan of the dot-com meltdown.

Speaking at the InternetBreakfastForum this morning, Jacobsohn aired his views on the knowledge economy correction, the future of e-business and JeVs place in that future.

In his opinion, the "dot-bomb" swept aside a pile of "rubbish," showed bad advice for what it is and demonstrated that, contrary to hype the Old economy and the New Economy are, in fact, One Economy. And this economy has laws that are, in fact, laws and not just good ideas. Its first law is "walk the path to profit", with free eventually translating into bankrupt.

Freedom Isn't Free

Freedom of access is one the great things about the Internet, but to offer accessed data for free will not cover the costs of creating or acquiring that data. Costs that need to be controlled as you go for the real revenue - and forget about the exit strategy. Exit strategies result in unsound businesses in Jacobsohns view and are grounds for immediate dismissal of a business proposal.

But while some things are just the same, Jacobsohn stresses that the Net has changed some things irrevocably. Notably it is radically improving the efficiencies of internal company processes, processes like customer relationship management, procurement and inventory control, administration, training, etc.

Giants Among Us One thing it hasn't changed is the tendency for giants, even monopolies to form. Jacobsohn cites Amazon, Yahoo, AOL and, closer to home, mentions that Johnnic Communications (Johncom), JeV's holding company, is itself slowly becoming a giant of almost monopolistic proportions.

Johncom's interests span the media, entertainment and telecommunications sectors, owning the Times Media Limited stable of publications, Nu Metro, MTN, Ananzi, CareerJunction and I-Net bridge, among others. I-Net Bridge, which sells financial information to more than 6000 companies, charging over 30,000 users a monthly subscription fee, earned more revenue last year than the entire online adspend in South Africa.

Next year, they intend to tender for the second fixed line license when Telkom loses its monopoly a monopoly that Jacobsohn says is the single biggest obstacle to e-business, and thus business, in this country.

Know Your Market

JeV focuses on the corporate market, rationalized by the fact that 1,6 million access the Net from work vs. 782,000 from home, and that businesses are far more likely to pay for content and services that they believe will add value to their business.

Even Ananzi, the consumer oriented portal, is being groomed as a corporate portal that will allow businesses to control which Web sites their employees are able to access. And CareerJunction, free to consumers, is not free to the agencies seeking employment.

Content is Still King

What JeV is selling, to corporates and consumers, is information a synonym for content. Free content is here to stay, which Jacobsohn refers to as commodity content. This content will be added value to an existing service, bundled together with an offer to make it more attractive.

Standing apart from commodity content is high value content, not easily available except from a single source and for money. It is this kind of information that I-Net Bridge derives its income from.

High value content is intel