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'Son of Bubble' Comes of Age

Sure, the tech IPO market is all but dead. And Internet stocks, which are still overvalued, have been down recently. More importantly, it's been the case for some time that there is more money going into tech venture funds than there is coming out in the form of startup investments. And who is so eager to put money in the venture funds? Why, it's the same institutional investors who are bashful about tech IPOs.

But all it could take to spark speculative buying in tech IPOs is a few big debuts. Google's (GOOG) hot IPO in 2004 has been written off as a one-time fluke, but there are a few candidates that could follow its act: MySpace (should NewsCorp (NWS) decide to spin it off), YouTube and even Wikipedia.

Look what happened 10 years ago: After Netscape's IPO took off in 1996, it was discounted as a one-time quirk. Then Amazon.com (AMZN) went public the next year and slowly the mania for tech IPOs caught on.

It's the particulars that these bloggers were reacting to that are probably the most disconcerting in the short term -- the early signs that the practices of the bad old days may be on their way back: excessive spending on pointless marketing, the cult of tech celebrities, and, above all, the funding of companies because the money was there and not because the company would someday turn a profit.

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