When the Web wears thin

By now it seems pass to talk about an "Internet revolution" in business. The Web has practically become the establishment.

Web commerce will soar past $1 trillion by 2003, according to International Data Corp. in Framingham, Mass.

One quirky hint of the rising clout of "dot-com" companies: Half the television advertisements aired during the next Super Bowl - an annual showcase of extravagant ads - will tout Web-based firms, say some ad-industry watchers.

And what company in the bricks-and-mortar world still lacks a Web annex or alliance?

Job-hunters feel the pull. The most ambitious new entrants to the workforce are setting their sights on dot-coms, cauldrons of creativity where a load of energy and a fistful of stock options can have them set for life in no time.

But some Web companies appear worried that consumers may be getting Web weary.

Last week The Wall Street Journal reported some such firms were downplaying their dot-com auras to give themselves "a little old-economy patina."

In one case, a dot-com paid to have delivery trucks run by other businesses decorated to look like the company's private fleet.

Question is, will another kind of dot-com overload - too many players - eventually hit the Web's young, high-gear workforce?

Their business is raging now: competitive, but with funding to spare and niches for everyone.

As the money bubble deflates, and more Web companies converge, the big demand may be for experience, not youthful drive.

For an inside look at today's start-up scene, look right.

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(c) Copyright 1999. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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