Not Welcome

 
 
By eweek  |  Posted 2001-03-26
 
 
 

Reporters didnt cause the Internet bubble to burst, so why wont anyone talk to me these days?

A year ago, my phone wouldnt stop ringing with pitches from newly minted Internet start-ups looking to conquer the world. Now, even Internet icons like Amazon.com, BlueLight.com, eBay and Walmart.com reject me like Im an incurable plague.

Its like a bad relationship. They dont return my calls. Finally, I get hold of a person, who seems anxious to get me off the phone.

What gives?

A few weeks ago, Bill Curry, head of public relations at Amazon, told me he was sorry he couldnt help me out when I requested to visit the Internet retailers headquarters in the next few months when its convenient for them.

Amazon doesnt have enough staff to handle all the media requests it receives, Curry e-mailed me. Can I suggest a self-guided tour with headphones? I guess not. And I didnt even want an interview with Jeff Bezos, the founder and CEO. I just wanted to see the inside of the building.

Next I tried BlueLight. Ive always liked Kmart and their blue light specials. Surely, they could spare a few minutes.

Public relations manager Abigail Jacobs reported back that no one was able to see me, and the company planned to add some new features to its site in a few weeks, so check back again later.

Walmart.com bagged on me, too. Cynthia Lin, public relations spokeswoman, said the company didnt have any news to share, and the company headquarters was a mess because another company was moving out.

I was sure eBay, the online auction giant, would have some time to see me. But the public relations woman there told me she checked with her supervisor, and the company did not have "enough bandwidth" to support my visit.

I finally figured it out. Its not me, its them. Last year, Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? was hot. This year, its Survivor. So, venture capitalists, listen up: Open your wallets to get these companies some more staff and repair their pool tables so they can at least be ready to receive company again.

Rocket Fuel