Just an Online Minute... Official Casualties

As you well know, January 2001 was a cruel month for the Internet sector. Here are some official numbers.

At least 49 Internet companies closed their doors as funding ran dry and customers failed to materialize in adequate numbers, says a new report from Webmergers.com, a company that provides a research-backed hub for buyers and sellers of Internet properties.

The above is particularly distressing considering that only one dot-com closed down in January of last year.

Shutdowns in the month included Disney's entertainment portal Go.com, group buying site Mercata.com, gifts e-tailer Send.com and health site SelfCare.com. January also saw continued shutdowns of DSL providers, most notably DSL wholesaler Northpoint. E-commerce properties, most of the e- tailers, again dominate the field, accounting for half of the casualties.

At least 270 Internet companies have shut down since January of 2000, according Webmergers.com research. The number has been accelerating in recent months with nearly 70% of the 270 fatalities occurring in the past four months. January's number tied with the previous record month of November, 2000. December's death count rose to 47 as several additional shutdown announcements came to light.

January's shutdown companies represented well over $1.5 billion in investment. At least a third of January's shuttered properties are actively seeking to sell their assets or to reorganize through bankruptcy filings or some other means.

But, on the bright side, the industry saw more than two weddings for every funeral in January as buyers acquired 112 Internet companies for a total of more than $5 billion. Almost $4 billion in merger and acquisition (M&A) spending in January went to Internet infrastructure companies.