Maybe the internet really has changed everything. But with the dot-com bust, a lot of the excitement about the transformative power of the Internet, and the innovative business models it would enable, vanished like so much seed money. Now, six years later, our second annual Web-Smart shows how entrepreneurs are continuing to deliver on Web technology's early promise.
Of course, there are big differences between these Internet entrepreneurs and the last batch: You won't find much by way of bloated outside investments or outsize marketing budgets at these companies. Yet they're taking Internet technology, and some pretty clever business models, into industries where it was thought to be impractical or impossible not too long ago. The big auction houses may have tried and failed to sell fine art online in the last century, but iGavel, founded by two Sotheby's veterans, is doing just that. Plenty of Web sites died trying to provide industry-specific information, but jets.com thrives by connecting charter pilots with passengers. And while the jury's still out on how Internet video is going to make money, TurnHere.com has found one answer in making short films that double as tourist promotions.
In this issue we're also checking in with three businesses we'd been profiling when Hurricane Katrina struck the Gulf Coast. While they've all faced difficulties -- sludge, insurance snafus, trouble hiring employees, and delayed Small Business Administration loan approvals, for starters -- we're happy to say they're all still in business, and still committed to New Orleans. You can find out more about them, and their struggles, at www.businessweek.com/smallbiz. As usual, I look forward to hearing from you, on any matter, at email@example.com.
Editor, BusinessWeek SmallBiz