“What are your thoughts on investing in yahoo and/or aol for the long haul? is their recent drop just an airing out or the beginning of a further slide?” — Jim Dunn

I think AOL is almost certain to survive and possibly thrive, and that Yahoo may, too. I am an enthusiastic user of both. But to me, even at these somewhat lower prices, they don’t seem like good long term bets. Could the market cap of either ten-tuple over the next decade? Maybe, but I don’t see it. I think if things go well, their current market caps may be justified in 5 or 10 years.

But that’s just me. It’s a brave new world, and all but impossible to see that far in the future. Still, you must have read a lot by now about the analogy to the early auto manufacturers. Guess what. The pioneers in this incredible new industry that changed the world did not make money. Mostly, their investors went broke.

Jim Grant, who is widely accepted as one of the financial world’s wisest and deftest commentators, says all this in his current newsletter much better than I ever could, in comparing the revolution of the Internet to the revolution of the air conditioner. Click here. The Internet is catching on with lightning speed compared with the air conditioner (or the automobile!). But gushing profits and — dare I say it? — cash dividends may be slower to follow.

 

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