Work.com to Cease Operations in March

Citing a decline in online advertising and slow market development, portal
Work.com will close up shop March 31, Chairman and CEO Donald P. Hutchison
has announced.


Most of the 113-member workforce, based in Redwood City, Calif., and New
York City, will leave the building for good this week. Others will stick
around to close out deals with vendors and partners.


Work.com is a business resource portal launched last year with investments
from Dow Jones & Co. and [email protected]


While the portal accrued more than a million visitors, the company said in a
statement that the market for such a service did not develop as quickly as
anticipated. In fact, Work.com’s predicament is similar to other firms that
offer consulting services and Internet business advice, such as Modem
Media
and Razorfish.


“The current decline in online advertising spending, the challenges of
securing further funding, and an accelerated focus on profitability for the
venture necessitated this decision,” said Mark C. Stevens, executive
vice-president, corporate and business development, of [email protected] and a
Work.com director.


Work.com launched in late February 2000 and combined content from Dow
Jones’s dowjones.com portal with Excite’s existing online service for small
businesses, also called Work.com.


The closing of Work.com is an indication of the shaky positions some media
conglomerates are finding their portals in, as most analysts say consumers
won’t stick regularly to just one portal. In January, Walt Disney said it
would discontinue operations of its Go.com Web portal and lay off 400 employees.


The company said it will focus on the individual Web sites instead of
growing the Go.com umbrella site, including Disney.com, ESPN.com, ABC.com,
ABCNews.com, Movies.com, Mr. Showbiz, NFL.com and Family.com.

Despite this promise, Walt Disney’s Internet Group was dealt what could
potentially be a hard blow last week when it was reported that the National
Football League spurned an offer to continue having its NFL.com site
produced by ESPN.com. That revised offer was worth a reported five-year,
$250 million deal.

Though ESPN.com officials refused to confirm or deny the
report, SportsLine.com said it would definitely be interested in producing
NFL.com if the professional football league opted to look elsewhere.

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