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Amish dating website goes bankrupt

"I don't understand where we went wrong," says CEO

Screenshot of NEW YORK CITY (NeTw0rK) -- It started out like many other dot com companies in the late nineties; fancy offices, plush furniture, millions in venture capital, and a relatively small staff of forward-thinking Gen X geeks with big ideas for the future.

But somewhere in the craze of "dot com" companies going public and then crashing and burning, seemed as though it would survive. With their state of the art matchmaking software, fresh looking website and flashy TV ads, was -- and still is -- the only website for Amish people to meet singles in their area and across the world.

" only survived as long as it did due to the perseverance of its co-founder and CEO, Robert Michaelson," says industry analyst Michelle Finch. "He ran the company as well as he could for as long as he could, but in the end that just wasn't enough."

We asked CEO Michaelson -- who is not Amish himself -- about the company's failure.

"The company just never took off like I thought it would. We ran ads during the superbowl with all the other dot coms, we had banner ads all over the internet... I think our marketing was drowned out in a sea of advertising." is best known for their "Pilgrimage to a Happy Relationship" slogan and their television spots featuring the bearded "Otto the Amish" dating various conservatively dressed women. Inc.'s (ADATE) stock started out at $24 per share in October of 1998, but it's now less than thirty-five cents and investors have been warned that the New York Stock Exchange will be delisting by the end of the week.

"Our analysis points to a rift in customer demands and the services they offered," suggests Finch. "Perhaps a more aggressive marketing strategy would have strengthened revenues, but I think they needed to focus on putting their customers demands ahead of their lattes and BMX bikes."

"The truth is, I just don't understand why failed," says Michaelson. "Maybe years from now we'll all look back on it, and the reasons will seem obvious. Right now though, it's a mystery."

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