A Peacock Gets Plucked

The small-biz business just keeps getting tougher. In yet another lesson that marketing to entrepreneurs on the Web isn't as easy as it sounds, NBC Internet Inc. plans to shed its money-losing AllBusiness.com unit. The service will be merged into a joint venture with Bigvine.com, a Redwood Shores (Calif.)-based barter exchange, leaving NBCi to focus on consumer mass markets.

That's quite an about-face. Only last February, San Francisco-based NBCi paid about $225 million in stock to buy AllBusiness when it was barely more than a year old. Back then, NBCi stock was trading for more than $100 a share. With its shares now below $5, NBCi's entire market cap is just $280 million. No wonder they want to change the channel.

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