Now It's Here, Now It's Gone

Unplugged. Defunct. Plain dead.

From Pets.com to CDWorld to eToys, more than 600 major Internet companies have met their demise in the past 18 months. The same with many of the hundreds of online suppliers servicing meetings: Many have downsized and laid people off (or filed for Chapter 11 protection, as Halo Industries recently did), and others have failed (Remember MeetHead.com?).

What should you ask dot-com suppliers before you sign on? What steps can y

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