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This essay is taken from the Third Centro Einaudi/SISIM Report on the retail trade in Italy (Retail trade, modernisation in silence, November 2001). Besides reporting the evolution of the distribution system in Italy within the European and global context, the Report traditionally offers an overview of the development of e-commerce. In these pages, the author provides an initial summing-up and attempts to explain of the crisis of the .com economy, which has swept away the lists of Internet ‘rookies’ from stock exchanges the world over. Aside from exquisitely financial and stock exchange aspects, past enthusiasm for the stock of e-commerce companies clearly highlighted a significant limit on the development of B2C: the insufficiency of the highly tangible logistic networks that, with the delivery of goods, have to close the circle opened by the consumer when he clicks on the highly virtual web page of the seller’s site.