Forget the dot-com crash. There's evidence of a second coming for Web businesses - at least in higher learning.
According to a soon-to-be-released study, universities haven't abandoned "e-business"-related majors and graduate programs. In fact, they have proliferated in the last three years.
While many in academia have pushed to integrate e-commerce into the normal curriculum, another camp still firmly believes in Internet-intensive degrees.
After all, there are "unique challenges" for the Amazon.coms and eBays of the world, said Andrew Whinston, director of the Center for Research in Electronic Commerce at the University of Texas.
According to the study by two business professors at Northwestern State University in Louisiana, e-business master's programs nearly tripled - to 107 from 38 - from February 2000 to February 2003.
For undergraduates, the study identified 66 schools offering e-commerce programs, up from eight in 2001.
Whinston credits fresh business strategies and the Nasdaq's upswing with rekindling student interest in Internet companies. He says early mistakes in e-commerce thinking - such as that "brick and mortar" operations are obsolete - will not be repeated.
Still, not everyone is sold. Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Va., discontinued its program this semester as resources dwindled and student interest waned.
"We need to include technology and the Internet in everything we do," said business dean Nancy Bagranoff. "We thought the business model was going to be so different. It's still business."