Doom Stalks The Dotcoms

A market recovery won't help a passel of sinking e-tailers and other once hot sites

When the stock market careened out of control last Tuesday, Rick Neely could only hold on tight. Neely, the interim chief executive of a struggling software seller, had 200,000 options priced at $7 a share riding on every lurch. Last April, when stock hit $37, such options would have been worth $6 million--chump change by dotcom standards but far better than last week's figure. With down to $3.75, his options were "under water"--worthless. "The drop this week was so dramatic, you can't even comprehend it," says Neely, who took over in January...

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