Commentary: Eyeballs, Bah! Figuring Dot Coms' Real Worth

Last month, when Amazon.com Inc.'s investor-relations team went to Denver to visit mutual-fund company Marsico Capital Management, it delivered its usual spiel: Amazon is a great play because of its "first to market" advantage. Big mistake. Last winter, such talk might have raised millions from Web-happy investors. But at Marsico, the pitch fell flat. Nor do Marsico folks give a hoot for "monthly unique visitors" or "eyeballs." All they want to know is when Amazon and its ilk will turn a profit. Says James A. Hillary, manager of Marsico's 21st Century Fund: "We made it very clear that we love Amazon--as consumers. We don't like Amazon as investors."

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