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CNN Today

DotComGuy's Self-Imposed Exile Ends

Aired January 2, 2001 - 2:28 p.m. ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

LOU WATERS, CNN ANCHOR: A Dallas man's year of self-imposed exile to cyberspace has come to an end. He has rejoined life outside after changing his name to DotComGuy -- that's his real name now, DotComGuy. He confined himself to a two-bedroom condo for a year, the Internet his only connection to the rest of the world.

Now, Jeff Crilley reports on a year in the life lived online.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

DOTCOMGUY: I've never been an actor or anything like that. This is all a new experience for me.

JEFF CRILLEY, KDFW REPORTER (voice-over): He gave up his private live last January 1st...

ANNOUNCER: Live from the Dotcompound (ph), in Dallas, Texas.

CRILLEY: ... to become perhaps the most public person on the planet.

DOTCOMGUY: To camera four. All right, move to kitchen cam.

CRILLEY: His every move was followed by 20 cameras, in a live continuous broadcast on the Worldwide Web.

ANNOUNCER: He's DotComGuy.

CRILLEY: And he did it all to prove a point: that you can order everything you need to live online -- all you need is a credit card and a computer, and you never have to leave your house.

DOTCOMGUY: He's a life-saver.

CRILLEY: Over the last year, Web viewers saw him completely furnish the place without ever stepping outside. Sure, there were times when it was a big yawn. But he says most of the year passed by pretty quickly: When he wasn't answering e-mails from viewers...

DOTCOMGUY: It's a 24-hour a day job, and it's...

CRILLEY: He was answering question from the media about his self-imposed house arrest. (on camera): And in terms of free publicity, DotComGuy may have set a new world's record. It's been estimated that he's been mentioned in the nation's newspapers more than a billion times this past year, and he even made "People" magazine's most intriguing people of the year 2000.

(voice-over): Then, finally, with his freedom clock ticking down to midnight, he said goodbye to his viewers.

DOTCOMGUY: I get e-mails every now and then that say you're boring.

CRILLEY: Then it was time to leave, on a little motorized scooter, almost running over his father with the camcorder in the process.

And so how did this very public man spend his first day of freedom?

DOTCOMGUY: ... A few things to say.

CRILLEY: In a small private gathering at his parents' house.

Then in a surprise to everyone, he turned to a woman he met on the Web during his year of solitude.

DOTCOMGUY: I love you so much. I want you to be my wife. Will you marry me?

CRILLEY: He's still not sure exactly what he's going to do next, but one thing is for sure: He won't be alone in this life, because DotComGuy is going to have a Dotcom wife.

Jeff Crilley, reporting for CNN.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

WATERS: Well, we tried to locate DotComGuy today. We were unsuccessful.

However, we did find his business partner Len Critcher. Len's on the phone from Dallas.

Len, I was told I was going to interview DotComGuy. Then I was told we can't find him. Where is he?

LEN CRITCHER, CEO, DOTCOMGUY INC.: DotComGuy's been on cameras for -- gosh, if we added up all the hours -- 24 hours a day, 366 days -- I think he wants as breather.

WATERS: Really?

CRITCHER: He's getting ready to go to Disney World.

WATERS: I've been here for 1 1/2 hours -- I want a breather. I understand the feeling. CRITCHER: Right.

WATERS: He didn't go stir crazy or anything, did he?.

CRITCHER: Actually, he kept up very well. There were times we were like what is he going to be like when he leaves the compound with all the attention he's received, but I think he's holding up very well. In a private meeting between all of us, he said: Guys, I hope that it's OK, I would like to be away for a few days.

WATERS: And when he comes back, what happens then?

CRITCHER: Well, we will have to see. I think all of us in the corporation here have worked very hard and been through an incredible year and an incredible experience.

But we all are taking a little breather to find out what is next for the crew. We did up with something crazy enough -- to lock our friend up for a year. There might be some future -- but either way, we all look at this as a huge success for all of us involved.

WATERS: Is it a business in search of an idea, or do you have the idea and you got the business now -- I don't quite understand?

CRITCHER: We do have some ideas. We were in a unique position this year where we pure entertainment when we started, and our business was not operating on products and services that we were offering on the web. More on the lines that we were showcasing other corporations offering products and services.

So we got to really watch how people were doing things well and how people were not doing things so well, and we have a few ideas that we would like to launch into. I think we would also like to venture into some other medias: There's talk of a DotCom cartoon, in print media -- kind of like a "Dilbert" for technology; there's talks of a magazine and there's talks of TV shows -- we'll just have to wait and see.

WATERS: OK, Len, good luck with all of that.

CRITCHER: Thank you.

WATERS: And you going to be at the wedding?

CRITCHER: I was as surprised as everyone.

WATERS: Oh, I see.

CRITCHER: So I'm still taking that in.

WATERS: OK, say hello to DotComGuy when you see him.

CRITCHER: Sure will, thank you.

WATERS: OK.

CRITCHER: Take care.

WATERS: That's Len Critcher.

NATALIE ALLEN, CNN ANCHOR: And Mrs. -- and the Mrs.-to-be DotCom gal.

WATERS: Oh, that's right, it's his real name. I wonder if she'll...

(CROSSTALK)

WATERS: ... I think I'll keep my real name, if you don't mind.

ALLEN: It's a good idea.

WATERS: Mrs. DotComGuy.

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