The E-Biz Surprise
It wasn't all hype. For companies as well as consumers, e-commerce is hotter than ever. Since mid-2000, when the stock market slump began turning dot-coms into dot-goners, the popular perception of the Internet has spiraled ever downward. By last year, Internet bankers and analysts, those onetime masters of the business universe, were targets of government investigations. A book titled dot.con, deriding the Net as "the greatest story ever sold," became a best-seller. One academic even claimed that porn, gambling, drug-dealing, and the like comprised more than 70% of e-commerce. The bold and transforming vision of the Net, it seemed, had dissolved into a digital dud.