Each week, I hear about some new e-commerce idea or company. Each week, I learn about some great new Web site that will revolutionize the consumer automobile industry with information or services or whatever. And each week, someone has some great idea for an automotive Web site that will do great things for buying or selling - or both - for manufacturers or suppliers.
New Web sites are being announced every day, and almost all of them are losing vast amounts of money and are being funded by some sort of initial public offering. There is more risk capital funding Internet projects with no history or promise of profit than you can shake a stick at. And I hasten to add that there is no letup in sight.
Now, I have to admit that we, too, have joined the Internet club. Yes, you can log on to AutomotiveNews.com and you'll get our version of what the electronic Automotive News is all about. But if you aren't into that stuff, your copy of our newspaper will still be on your desk every week.
More than a quarter of a million people read Automotive News every week, so we should be able to get the word out to our audience fairly easily.
I have no idea how the other 20 million automotive sites will reach their potential audiences of car and truck buyers or industry executives. For them, it will be a fairly long and expensive task.
Most new Web sites will have to spend an extraordinary amount of time and money to become known. And all that will get them is a shot at a new viewer. If their Web sites don't live up to the consumers' expectations, forget it. Those consumers are gone forever. It's a lot like launching a new publication: no readers, no recognition
There are hundreds - no, thousands - of new Web sites every year. Not many will survive, much less prosper. But that doesn't seem to deter Wall Street. Those people seem to have an unlimited amount of money to back all of those new ventures.
Think of how hard it is to establish a new model car and the millions it takes. Try that with some Web site. All I can say is good luck.