2000 is the year the Internet hit the Inc. 500, big-time. One indicator? Of the companies, 64, or 12.8%, used the word Internet, e-commerce, Web, e-business, e-something, .com, .net, or online either in their name or in the brief description we publish of what their companies do.
That's more than a twofold increase from 1999, when there were 31 (6.2%) such companies, and a dramatic increase from 1998, when there were only 9 (1.8%). Last year our list included two dot-coms and one dot-net; this year it contains 10 dot-coms and 2 dot-nets.
These are not, however, the fly-by-night dot-com start-ups you heard so much about in the general press last year -- and this year, as some of them ran out of capital. The Internet-related companies on our list tend to be of a somewhat different breed. They're companies that didn't go public when they were raw start-ups and that were still private at the end of 1999 and growing very fast. These companies have business models that work at least well enough to bring in dramatic sales growth. And many are making money: for example, of the 12 dot-coms or dot-nets on the 2000 Inc. 500 list, two-thirds were profitable in 1999.