Dear Netizen:

Your help is needed.

Fueled by a “viral lack of confidence,” the Internet economy has slipped into a recession. If this trend continues, you might soon lose access to your favorite online store, greeting card site, news source, music site or financial chat group. Imagine the Internet without Excite, Yahoo! or

But you can help the Net regain its respect. We must band together and send the world a loud, clear message that the Net will not only survive, but thrive.

That’s why we’re asking you to demonstrate your dedication to the Internet. On April 3, join us in “Back the Net Day.”

Michael H. Tchong
Editor & CEO

Dear Mr. Tchong:

I can appreciate that you feel threatened by the current state of affairs on the Net… we’re in what’s probably an overly-corrective downturn, and the costs in terms of both human and financial capital have been severe. Just the same, it was precisely this kind of hollow media hype that led to the grossly inflated capitalization of the “Internet economy,” and the grossly inflated expectations of its investors. [Not to mention the grossly inflated egos of media hucksters, but you’re far more familiar with that than I.]

I find it highly unlikely that yet more hollow media hype — which is what your “Back the Net” campaign is — will serve any useful purpose. Especially hype that sows the seeds of fear, uncertainty and doubt [FUD]. The Internet has been around a while now, long before it provided either you or I with our milk money. I’d wager the Internet itself isn’t going anywhere any time soon. Now, Net based companies with business plans that don’t translate into revenue… those are another matter, entirely.

Don’t get me wrong, Mr. Tchong. I back the Net every day. I’m probably the most determined supporter of the Internet I know. Day after day I teach, I consult — I’ve even been known to evangelize — on the Internet’s capacity to create intimacy between companies and consumers, for their mutual benefit. Certainly the Net has the intrinsic ability to do far more… but frankly, we’re still struggling with the basics of spatial navigation and information design, meaning and metaphor.

So, Mr. Tchong, if you don’t mind, I’ll just get back to work. I’ll try today, as I do every day, to make the Internet a more meaningful, more useful place — one site at a time.

Best regards,


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