Stories by Polly Sprenger

EBay Launches in France

The world's largest auction site has launched in the homeland of the company's founder, Pierre Omidyar. But EBay Inc. France has already run into legal problems involving the domain name eBay.

Efdex Leaves Workers -- and IBM -- Hungry for Cash

The small knot of people huddled in the rain outside the Reading Employee Tribunal office in southwest England were all that remained Friday of a $US65 million, 300-person venture that was Efdex, a 6-year-old company that had promised to create an electronic middleman for the food-and-drink industry.

AltaVista U.K.: No Unmetered Access

After weeks of silence, and furious hounding by the U.K. press, AltaVista Co. admitted Monday that its unmetered access product was dead in the water.

British Press Hunts AltaVista's Elusive CEO

There's a manhunt in Britain - for the chief exec of AltaVista U.K. Andy Mitchell, appointed to run the company's British subsidiary in January, is absent from his post for the second time this summer, and his timing couldn't be worse.

Will the Real Please Stand Up?

America was given another chance to gasp collectively about the Internet in May, when 18-year-old Katie Tarbox published her gripping account,, of being molested five years ago by a pedophile she met in a chat room. But for one Internet entrepreneur who actually owns the domain name, the book brought a flood of unwanted attention.

The Spy Who Loved E-Commerce

Israel's notorious Mossad Intelligence Agency has fallen on hard times. Once one of the most feared and revered spy outfits, the Mossad admitted last weekend that it was having difficulty recruiting agents - all because of Israel's high-tech boom.

Europatweb Faces Down the Internet Economy Blues

What a difference a year makes. In the middle of 1999, the European Internet scene had barely tasted investor enthusiasm, Group Ltd. was one of the world's coolest companies, and Bernard Arnault's Europatweb had 500 million euros (US$477 million) to spend on whatever Net play struck its fancy.

Brits Still Looking for an ISP Hero

In March, AltaVista Co. and NTL Inc. (NTLI) , a telecommunications company that competes with British Telecom, made headlines in the U.K. when they announced plans to offer flat-rate Internet services to a nation hampered by per-minute charges.

HavenCo in Uncharted Waters

HavenCo, a multiple-location Web hosting service, received unbelievable publicity this week when it announced a plan to provide data-hosting services operated out of a World War II military site off the southeast coast of Britain, where the firm says it would be free from taxes and government regulation.

Food and Drink Exchange Going Hungry

Efdex, an online exchange for the food and drink industry that has been funded to the tune of $65 million, is on the rocks this week. Although the site has been in development for six years, it's still in beta. Staff members haven't been paid since April, and a number of them have walked out.

'Those Pesky Dot-Coms'

After the dot-commification of the Sundance Film Festival, Internet companies at Cannes arrived with high hopes and deep pockets. Sadly, they're heading home with less enthusiasm. Follows Boo

Close on the heels of Group Ltd., 3-month-old U.K. Internet startup announced Monday that it would close its doors after having seen its funding disappear.