eWEEK at 30: Web Expansion Drives Frenzied Dot-Com Boom and Bust
eWEEK 30: The rapid growth of the Internet in the 1990s sparked immense investments in new e-commerce ventures, the so-called "dot-com" companies, many of which collapsed as spectacularly as they grew.In mid 1990s, the Internet was just beginning to take shape as a global business juggernaut. The Netscape Navigator Web browser had been launched, and it would soon be followed by Microsoft Internet Explorer, allowing anyone with a computer and modem to go online to see what there was to discover on the World Wide Web. Quickly, entrepreneurs around the world saw that the Web would support new e-commerce ventures based on the new idea of selling goods online and shipping directly to buyers. During this period, suddenly it seemed brilliant to sell dog food, groceries, toys and anything else online to consumers. The sky was the limit to what could be sold on the new global marketplace because the fledgling Internet was the secret sauce that seemed to promise instant profits and riches. This period gave rise to the concept of supposedly "frictionless" retailing that would enable online marketers to sell goods of all kinds without having the massive overhead of brick-and-mortar stores staffed with battalions of shelf stockers and checkout clerks.
Venture capitalists appeared ready to throw cash at anybody with a vaguely plausible e-commerce business plan on a PowerPoint presentation. This gave rise to what came to be known as the dot-com boom, which rapidly saw hundreds of companies get massive influxes of cash from venture capitalists and investors to build Websites and the distribution infrastructure required to sell any conceivable commodity or service