Dot Schadenfreude

SAN FRANCISCO (08/29/2000) - Those poor dot-coms. Once they were the golden promise of the New Economy, flush with cash and partying like it was 1999. But since the market downturn in April, many Internet-only companies can't afford a pity party.

In a particularly cruel twist, the dot-coms are getting their comeuppance from the Internet itself. Take Phillip Kaplan, who used to play a game with friends via e-mail in which they tried to predict which companies would suffer a setback. I was bored over Memorial Day weekend and made [the game] into a real site, he says.

Result? F**, a dot-com betting pool. Players pick five companies per week and get points based on bankruptcies, layoffs, and other e-commerce woes.

Kaplan's site follows the grand tradition of BlowTheDotOutYourA**.com. Instead of celebrating the dot-com demise, the site parodies e-madness. (As the names suggest, some of these sites arenÕt for everyone.)Then there's, a dot-collapse Web log. The site's top feature is a 'lackey calculator' that tallies a dot-com drone's hours worked, stock options, and salary, and then figures out how much those options would have to be worth to make up for the unpaid overtime. If you actually are a dot-com drone, it could be unsettling. But for the rest of us, schadenfreude has never been so much fun.








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