London's first ever World Internet Forum, scheduled to take place next week, has been cancelled following a lack of interest. Only 80 delegates registered for the event.
The event planned to feature more than 100 representatives from the UK's top Internet companies. The government's e-commerce minister Patricia Hewitt was to make a keynote speech extolling the excellence of Britain's e-commerce strategy.
The cancellation adds to the atmosphere of doom and gloom enveloping UK Internet companies and stocks in recent months. "It would be both unfair and unsatisfactory to both sponsors and speakers to continue with an audience that is anything other than of the highest quality and sufficient numbers," says Robert Blaney, chief executive officer of the World Internet Forum in a statement. "In the absence of this audience we regretfully have no alternative but to cancel the Forum."
Blaney is unsure why the event should fail to attract an audience but suggests that the collapse of UK dot-coms since the start of the year and the downtrend in value of Internet stocks could be partly to blame. "We have to take a step back and take a look at why," he says. "Maybe we were short of time in getting our message out about how good it is."
He also suggests than there could be too many e-commerce events in the UK currently vying for attention.
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