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discussion: Who's to blame for the worst excesses of the Internet bubble? Did Wall Street betray the public's trust?


Dear FRONTLINE,

The investment bankers should be somewhat responsible for the actions of their firm while bringing a company into the public market. If analysts are touting the business models of companies, that are being brought public in their firm, in order to inflate the stock price it is manipulation.

john aston
virginia beach, va


Dear FRONTLINE,

Who's to blame? The buyers who let their greed overpower their good sense. The late-1990s were characterized by a sense of infallibility of youth in the capital markets. The buyers truly believed that the Internet would usher in a "New Economy" in which the old rules would be replaced by new metrics. Once again, history showed that a "sucker is born every minute." Many of the investing public threw caution to the wind, in search of instant riches instead of "getting rich slowly." May we all learn from this and may we be wise enough not to fall for the next mania, whatever that may be.

Jim Ogburn
greensboro, nc


Dear FRONTLINE,

I think Wall Street has a good deal of the blame to shoulder, as they allowed greed to over rule common sense. This also rolled over into investors who thought they were getting in on a good thing, but did not look close enough at the cost. It is very hard to justify a stock at $60.00 per share when they continue to have losses in the millions every quarter or don't even have a product to market and are paying the executives of that company huge salaries. That goes against basic rules of business. Unfortunately this has hurt others as well. Our company is currently presenting its own DPO, because we choose to only do it for 5,000,000 shares at a $1.00 per share,with a $500 minimum subscription, the big underwriter don't want to work with us so we are forced to do it ourselves. They said we are not looking for enough capital. My question is why do a $100 million offering when in order to do a controlled growth more reasonably it is only necessary to get $5 million? Why not allow for a IPO (DPO) at $1.00 per share and then tell the investors to put it in the dresser drawer and give the company a chance to grow. Why pay high to start and watch it drop most of the time if you are investing for long term profit? Put in smaller dollars across more people to allow for less potential risk and loss and greater chance of higher reward. I know, not playing by the rules as it is contrary to the belief that stock has to be listed on an exchange. Why put something on an exchange until it has a history to then create a trade market based upon historical performance. Does than not make more sense that putting certain IPO's or DPO's out at higher prices on the initial market openings where people may have a tendency to follow blindly? Getting rich off the stock market IPO's is not the way the average American investor makes their money. They should be able to buy in low in a new company then let the company earn its worth. If they have capable management, belief, and a good product, they should have prosperity and the investors will get a more stable or higher return.

lincoln, nebraska


Dear FRONTLINE,

The person from Fortune said it well. Democratization through all the various tools has NOT changed the playing field.

It is not level and it is still an "old boy's network". Some people (insiders) still have information that others (the public) won't have.

The IPO game was bad then, and still is bad. For a time, analysts had access to corporate information before the public. That changed. Now the rules are being forced for change on insider trades.

Analysts are in business for themselves and their clients. They usually do not ask the tough questions and this is evidenced in corporate conference calls. Questions are 'soft' because they fear being excluded from the company's inner circle when it comes to information.

The recent debacle concerning Enron ensures that 'conflict of interest' is alive and well and that people are making money on the backs of honest people. The only way to change this trend towards immorality (and a lack of ethics) is a strict enforcement of laws and the establishment of an aggressive apparatus to catch these white collar criminals and put them behind bars for a significant part of their lives. Monetary penalties are not strong deterrents from people who have profited significantly from their actions.

No one involved in an apparent act of shredding should have any right afforded to them under the Constitution to plead the fifth.

Information is not perfect and it has not led to full democratization.

toronto, ontario


Dear FRONTLINE,

Who's to blame? I blame the banks. They saw the ipo as the quickest return they'd ever seen, gave no regard to the liklihood of these companies making a profit thru their own business practices, and new the nature of the VCs was to maximize THEIR return. It was nothing more than large scale fraud.

elida, oh


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