Job losses at online bookseller Amazon.com and recent staff cuts at other dot com companies appear to be fulfilling some analysts' predictions.
Last November at researcher GartnerGroup's European symposium, Alexander Drobik, vice president of ebusiness transformation, predicted a bumpy ride for ebusinesses.
He warned that inflated expectations would tumble, and said that "as early as 2001, companies will go through a trough of disillusionment as they see traditional bricks-and-mortar and dot-com businesses fail in their ebusiness attempts".
Amazon's job losses wiped eight per cent off its share value on Friday, and other dot com companies have also had their bubble pricked.
Last week online retailer Boo.com laid off 70 staff. Other casualties include business-to-business retailer Beyond.com, which is cutting 20 per cent of its workforce, and consumer site Value America, which is shedding 50 per cent.
However, a spokeswomen for Boo.com said the job losses do not signal rocky times ahead, adding that the retailer plans to recruit more staff this year.
"The layoff was predominantly in the call centres and magazine staff. We hired extra people over the Christmas period, but found that customers preferred emailing us and they wanted the magazine integrated into the site," she said.
Noah Yasskin, an analyst with researcher Jupiter Communications, said job losses at Amazon point to a maturing of the market.
"It's going to take a bigger catastrophe than Amazon laying off some staff to show the ebusiness bubble bursting, but the business environment is changing," he said.
"A year ago it was grow at any expense. Now there's more focus on the bottom line and the need to show some profitability."
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