Business Week: In spite of the wretched economy and molasses-slow corporate spending on technology, profitable Web companies are no longer weird or even unusual. The tally of profitable Internet companies in the fourth quarter reached 84–more than 40% of the 208 publicly traded Net companies tracked by stock researcher Pegasus Research International LLC. That’s up from 49 profitable dot-coms for the first quarter of 2002, the last time BusinessWeek conducted such a survey. In key areas such as e-tailing and online finance, profitability has become the rule rather than the exception. And those profits are measured by generally accepted accounting principles–no “pro forma” tallies need apply.

This means the much-maligned dot-com generation of tech startups is beginning to prove the skeptics wrong. Sure, too many companies were created during the boom times, and many have failed or are sure to expire or be acquired in coming months or years. But, by the end of the year, more than 100 of the public dot-coms will likely be showing a profit.