Keeping Score - Page 4

How We Rank Em

Money matters. Interactive Weeks second annual Interactive 500 ranks companies by the amount of revenue they generate from Web operations.

We based our listing on online sales over the four quarters ended June 30. If a company did not close a fiscal quarter on June 30, we looked at the four fiscal quarters that closed closest to that date. Our listing includes public and private companies in business at the end of June.

We followed the broad guidelines issued by the Department of Commerce: "E-commerce sales are sales of goods and services over the Internet, an extranet, Electronic Data Interchange or other online system. Payment may or may not be made online." Associate Professor Erik Brynjolfsson, co-director of the Center for e-Business at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, was instrumental this year and last in helping define what should and shouldnt be counted as online revenue.

This years list was compiled, starting in July, with a survey conducted by Advantage Business Research. The pollster sent out online-sales questionnaires to more than 40,000 e-commerce executives, interactive managers, chief executive officers and chief information officers. We also were assisted by Victor Petri, a partner at PricewaterhouseCoopers who leads the firms Internet sector. A PWC team plowed through corporate filings and helped us dissect general financial releases to retrieve online sales figures.

While the survey and our research efforts turned up most of the numbers needed for the ranking, many companies do not break out online sales figures from overall revenue. And a handful of companies said they couldnt, or wouldnt, assist our research effort. If a company did share some numbers with us - such as the percentage of overall sales it took in from its e-commerce operations for a given period - we were able to calculate an online revenue estimate. In no case did we make an estimate without having at least two data points.

Some major e-commerce companies - such as Wal-Mart - are absent from both last years and this years ranking because they declined to participate in our data gathering efforts and there just wasnt enough information for us to make an estimate. In addition, other companies, such as L.L. Bean and J. Crew, were on last years list, but do not appear on this years Interactive 500 for the same reason.

As was the case last year, there may be a handful of companies that had the Web revenue to make it onto this years list, but either missed our deadline or - in what would most certainly be a rare occurrence - our group simply failed to identify them as an e-commerce leader. Companies that come forth with online revenue figures that would have been significant enough to make this years cut will be added to the Interactive 500 listing on our Web site.

In the end, we compiled online revenue information on nearly 1,500 companies. The top 500 became this years Interactive 500, the most complete listing of the Webs biggest revenue generators.

Weve started our plans for next years listing. Companies interested in being contacted for 2001s Interactive 500 can register at