In another sign that the shine has come off Internet companies, some are removing dot-com from their names.
Billserv.com Inc., which has experienced the stock-price fluctuations that have come to typify Internet companies in recent months, is seeking shareholder approval to become billserv Inc.
There are several reasons for the need to change, but perhaps the most compelling is that we offer far more comprehensive services than a traditional dot-com, said Michael Long, chairman and chief executive officer of the San Antonio bill payment/presentment provider. Were not an Internet company relying solely upon acquiring consumers at our site and then relying on consumer traffic and/or advertising revenues for our profitability.
The two-year-old company is doing business under the new name and says shareholder approval at a meeting set for May 24 is just a formality. The billserv Inc. name would officially take effect then.
Billserv.coms stock closed at $3 its first day of trading, Dec. 1, 1998, peaked at $31 in March 2000, then began the type of slide so many technology companies have suffered. It closed at $4 Friday.
The name change is aimed at gaining the confidence of venture capitalists and individual investors, said Jack Roney, vice president of investor relations.
He echoed Mr. Longs observations about branding, saying billserv Inc. better reflects the companys true identity a service bureau that helps companies format and present their bills to consumers online.
The Web is merely a medium to distribute our services, Mr. Roney said. From that standpoint, the Internet is important to us, but we are not a Web site-based company that relies on third-party advertising to generate revenues. Our revenues are generated from implementation fees and transactions associated with signing up and implementing billing customers.
Paul Kaump, vice president of equity research with Dougherty & Co. in Minneapolis, said the name change might help attract new investors and that he expects the billing outfit to be profitable by the first half of 2002.
Given the name billserv.com, the company got thrown in with a lot of business models that have failed, Mr. Kaump said. To confuse them with being something like an Amazon.com or some of these other companies that might be bleeding red for a long time or perceived to be is an inaccurate way to position them. The company is involved in creating payments infrastructures.
Infospace Inc., a provider of Internet infrastructure services, last spring became one of the first to excise the dot-com from its name.
We had expanded beyond the dot-com realm, said Infospace spokesman Mark Peterson. The Bellevue, Wash.-based company, which once sold products solely for Web-based businesses, has added wireless and broadband applications.
Until mid-November, GPN Network, an Irvine, Calif., company that matches start-ups with investors, was GoPublicnow.com.
It wanted to illustrate our expanding business model, including our brick-and-mortar business entities, said Bruce Berman, its CEO.
Strategic investors see beyond the name, Mr. Kaump said. But at the end of the day, would they want to invest in something with dot-com at the end of the name?