Yahoo combined some smart acquisitions of companies with paying customers, such as the HotJobs recruitment company, with a new strategy de- signed to make people pay for things such as classified advertising and e-mail services. The result is a more diverse business with multiple revenue streams that continues to post profits, despite a general decline in the advertising market that constitutes 60% of its revenue.
None of this guarantees the future of these companies or those like them. Amazon in particular must demonstrate that after billions of dollars of losses since its launch in 1995, it will provide a good return in future. But it seems that people are prepared to spend their money with players whose brands they trust.
Every recent survey shows that consumer spending online is growing. People may not be buying many lobsters, but sales of items such as books, cds, dvds and electrical goods continue to grow. The Department of Commerce re- ported that online retail sales in the United States passed $45 billion in 2002.
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