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Webnoize Suspends Operations, Prepares For Re-Emergence

A poster child for the digital entertainment craze of the past few years, the publisher and research house has been forced to rethink its role in a fast-changing economy.
Webnoize, a company that symbolized the lavish spending on digital entertainment in 1999 and 2000, said Monday it would suspend operations while it reorganizes itself. The publishing and research company became an icon for an industry that grew at a frenzied pace during the latter days of the dot-com craze but has contracted rapidly in the past several months.

Company execs could not be reached for comment, but president and publisher Tom Roli said in a statement that the company would re-emerge early next year with improved events, products, and services. Roli's statement acknowledged that the firm has fallen victim to the same struggles that have claimed scores of digital entertainment startups in recent months. "We are not immune to the same market influences that have affected others in our space," he said.

Webnoize became particularly visible for its analysis of the Napster case and the burgeoning peer-to-peer file-swapping market. During the height of the technology boom, the firm's events grew into lavish gatherings that were must-attends for digital entertainment execs. But the impact of the industry's contraction was clear when Webnoize's annual conference in Los Angeles in October attracted just a fraction of the crowds present for the 1999 and 2000 shows. In particular, the slowdown severely affected the firm's ability to sell booth space for the recent event, with the crowded, full-blown exhibition halls of the previous years giving way to six exhibitors crammed into a lobby area.