It was easy to laugh at Barry Diller when it looked like he was assembling a Zapata-style internet empire of random companies. However, he's starting to get some attention as people are realizing that his collection of dot coms is now poised to bring in more revenue than eBay, Amazon, or Yahoo. And, Diller isn't done yet. One smart thing he's done is realize that valuations have dropped tremendously - so he believes the companies he's buying are cheap, and has no intention of waiting until they get any more expensive. He also talks about continuously improving the product - something he says AOL stopped doing during the merger. While it may look like a random collection of companies, most of them are in the "middleman" business - bringing buyers and sellers of specific products together. The real question, though, is whether or not there's any overall benefit to having all of these offerings under the same roof. The only bit of cross-site synergy he seems to be exploring is loyalty incentive programs that work across all the sites.
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