The Internet Stock Craze Will Never End — Ever

I’ve been crunching some numbers lately, precisely factoring in the
current Internet IPO registration rate with some vague assertions and unfounded generalizations, and have reached this startling conclusion: By the year 2003, not only will every person in America hold stock in an Internet company, each person will be an Internet IPO.

The Internet and the Internet economy are taking us to some place we’ve
never been before. We all know that. It’s clear that every last one of
us soon will be making our living via cyberspace.

As we each become our own electronic commerce profit centers, why not
offer others the chance to invest in us? Is that not the bullish thing
to do?

IPO will come to stand for Individual Public Offering. It’s really not
that far-fetched. David Bowie’s already done it. He also has his own
ISP. And the British rock star’s track record as a pioneer is
unparalleled. After his Ziggy Stardust phase, what man didn’t dye his
hair orange and don glittery, skin-tight green body suits?

Well, some of us did.

As the blinding pace of Internet IPOs continues to accelerate, there
will be a
“defining event” in which the new technology and resultant stock fever
will cross
over, merging shares and bids with skin and bone.

Soon all newborns will be issued little NASDAQ ticker symbols instead of
Social Security numbers. Highly anticipated births, or spinoffs, will be
Webcast in real-time to the trading floors.

We will have no parents, just board members, venture capitalists and
underwriters. Doctors will measure our health by P/E ratios (sorry, this
is the Internet; make that “projected revenue growth”) and bandwidth
capacity.

This is where our world is headed, and there is no stopping it.

Unless, of course, the IPO market turns down.

Stuck in the pipeline

It appears that the ‘name your price’ online auction site is having
trouble naming its IPO launch date.

First we heard priceline.com reportedly planned to go public this week.
Then underwriter Morgan Stanley said the offering wasn’t due to price
until March 8. Now we hear that priceline.com won’t go out until March
29.

One reason for the delay might be because the company doesn’t want to
make its Wall Street debut on the same day — or even in the same week
— as high-profile women’s Web site network iVillage. (And if they also
happened to be wearing the same
outfits…well, let’s just say we know two Internet start-ups that would
absolutely die of embarrassment.)

Trouble is, priceline.com isn’t buying itself much running room. Slated
to hit the street the last week in March are Critical Path, Razorfish
and Value America, with iXL Enterprises, Litronics and Net Perceptions
also possibilities.

Still, there’s certainly no iVillage in that bunch, so priceline.com and
Morgan Stanley may deserve credit for shrewd positioning.

To investors awaiting an offering, however, this kind of maneuvering for
sole possession of the Internet IPO spotlight is annoying.

“I think it’s getting like Hollywood,” said Bob Silvestri, a trustee at
Tiburon Group
Pension Plans in California.
“The opening is so
important they don’t want to be up against another ‘blockbuster.'”

Maybe, by the end of the month, priceline.com will be ready for its
close-up.

Looking ahead

Other than iVillage, there’s nothing else scheduled on the Internet IPO
front next week, unless GenesisIntermedia.com doesn’t make it out today.

For the following week, beginning March 15, FlashNet Communications,
Multex.com and Ziff-Davis/ZDNet are slated to price.

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