Icebox.com Put on Ice

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Entertainment Web site Icebox.com is expected to lay off its remaining 27 employees and shutter its doors today. The lay offs continue the trend that saw more than 13,000 Internet workers fired in January alone -- a 23 percent increase over the previous month.


Icebox executive co-founder Steve Sanford said the California-based company's fate was sealed earlier this week when workers were unable to secure an additional round of financing in the neighborhood of $10 million.


Over the past few months, the company had already trimmed its staff by 60 workers in a last-ditch effort to cut costs.


"We could have raised a small round of financing, but we didn't think it was appropriate to run the company for three or four more months and have to be back out raising even more money," Sanford said.


Icebox, which pumped an estimated $15 million into the company, joins a growing number of entertainment-laden sites that have watched their plans go up in flames recently. Much heralded start-ups Psuedo.com, Pop.com and Riffage.com have all closed their virtual doors over the past few months after burning through large caches of cash.


The company had been in business for 14 months and, all things considered, had been able to develop a loyal following among college students who immediately took to some of its animated short features, Sanford said.


Plans now call for the company to find a single buyer for its sizable library of that material.


"If we can't keep it intact, we have a lot of offers for specific properties," he said.


January marked the seventh month in a row that Internet-related layoffs increased from the previous month. In all, 13,000 dot-com layoffs were announced last month, compared with just 303 in January 2000, according to Challenger, Gray & Christmas Inc., Chicago, an outplacement firm that tracks layoff notices.
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