So, was it all hype? After the dotcom bubble expanded at hyper speed toward the end of the 90s, only to disappear faster than our memories of the millennium, are we now seeing genuine growth in the sector for the first time?
So-called entrepreneurs and self proclaimed Internet Gurus spent hundreds of millions of pounds of (other peoples) money building up the infrastructure that we were all told was needed to support massive impending growth. Most of us were fooled by this strange new logic that judged good business not by profits and cash generation, but by strange measures such as the number of "hits" a Website gets, or the number of "sticky eyeballs" we could capture.
Reality brought us back to Earth not so much with a bump as with a shuddering crash. The collocation marketplace was a perfect example of this. Data centers sprang up virtually overnight all across Europe. "Build it and they will come!" was the cry... But they didn't... at least, that is, until now.
Internet hotels are starting to fill up, and collocation data centers are becoming busier. Data centers of bankrupted players, strewn across Europes landscape like wildebeest carcasses in a Kalahari heat wave, are being snapped up at bargain prices by banks and other such corporations.
Can it be true? Has the Internet finally grown up? If we analyze the facts, then the answer has to be "yes." We are all becoming more comfortable using the Internet and, as we do, we become more likely to actually spend money online. I have bought everything from books to TVs and washing machines to concert tickets via the Internet. Yesterday evening I bought some tulip bulbs from a Dutch gardening Website. By doing so, I hope to have saved enough time to be able to actually plant them myself this weekend!