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The pace of the development of e-commerce – and its derivatives such as digital commerce and mobile commerce – has been irresistible. Or so it was thought.The last six months or so have been financially much harder for dotcom start-ups. Hot on the heels of the initial blaze of publicity surrounding stock market flotations of the likes of Lastminute.com and other high-profile dotcom pioneers in this country have come market-wide concerns about the sector’s financial health. There have been the liquidations of Boo.com and Netimperative and the placing of Leisureplanet.com into administration. And, more recently, high-flier Clickmango.com has announced its intended shutdown, while Urbanfetch.co.uk has laid off 15% of its staff only two months after its launch. The liquidations have been particularly notorious for the huge disparity between the investments made and the asset values realised by the liquidators.Commentators tend to focus on these financial problems from the perspective of the companies concerned or the investors. This article will look briefly at certain impediments that hamper dotcoms generally and what this means for the management of the companies involved.

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