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<nettime> TBTF: eToys pays in market cap for bullying etoy
t byfield on Sat, 11 Dec 1999 01:22:23 +0100 (CET)

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<nettime> TBTF: eToys pays in market cap for bullying etoy


Friday, December 10, 1999
12/10/99 12:18:51 PM 

eToys pays in market cap for bullying etoy. By now you know that
online toy retailer eToys, an Idealab company, has taken a group of
European artists to court and stripped them of the domain name
etoy.com, which the artists' collective owned years before eToys
even existed. Here's the first press account of the fiasco.[1] This
in-depth report by "Claire Barliant" was published in the Village
Voice on 1 December.[2] (A nearly identical story by "Claire
Adamsick" appeared the same day in the TwinCities City Pages.) See
here for a seemingly complete and up-to-date list of media coverage
on eToys/etoy.[3] 

This David-and-Goliath story has found resonance among that part of
the public that invests in Internet stocks. Here is a comparison
over the last three months of eToys' (NASD: ETYS) stock performance
compared to an index of Internet stocks. Until very recent days the
price behavior of eToys visibly followed the same trends as the
rest of the Net stocks. Until 2 December. See this close-up of the
last 10 days.[4] 
TBTF Irregular Ted Byfield, whose research provided the first three
links above, has these thoughts on the mechanics of eToys' recent
poor showing in the market. 
     Not for one moment do I doubt that there's a nearly
     mechanical cause-and-effect relationship here. Organizing
     boycotts used to be a desperate uphill battle; think, for
     example, of the grape boycotts, the difficulty of stopping
     shoppers in a supermarket parking lot and explaining why not
     buying brand X or commodity Y would somehow vaguely and
     indirectly be a good thing. No more: it takes no energy not
     to type "www.etoys.com" into a URL field, and one can just
     as easily -- say, five clicks -- find their competition in
     Yahoo. And, perhaps most important, I suspect that a lot of
     people get a complex charge out of "taking their money
     elsewhere." When you've been bludgeoned into the shape of a
     robot "consumer" whose only freedom and power is to vote
     with your wallet, it's just as the ads say: you will. 
TBTF Irregular Gary Stock adds: 
     There is a sense that "everybody" is getting in on the
     e-market. I think not. NASDAQ and IPO activity is most
     influenced by folks who've been in technology for a while.
     That is, e-markets are most affected by feelings /
     expectations of the slightly-to-extremely geeky. They're the
     folks with discernment, first-hand tech-knowledgey -- and
     they get those "friends and family" IPO buy-in offers. That
     crowd is most likely to be upset by eToys' approach. So,
     they (and the folks they frisbee golf, ski, or i-game with)
     are voting with their feet. 
[1] <http://www.villagevoice.com/issues/9948/barliant.shtml>
[2] <http://www.citypages.com/databank/20/991/article8260.asp>
[3] <http://dmoz.org/Society/Activism/Media_Activism/Culture_Jamming/
[4] <http://tbtf.com/pics/etys-iix-3mo.gif>

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