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The Greatest Defunct Websites and Dotcom Disasters

CmdrTaco posted more than 6 years ago | from the i-remember-everything dept.

The Internet 192

NotableCathy writes "CNet has an interesting retrospective write-up documenting the most notable dotcom disasters and now-defunct Websites that were massive in their day, detailing what happened to them and what they led to. Nupedia didn't escape a slating (remember Larry Sanger's memoir?), or indeed Beenz, whose founder and CEO once said 'would become the universal currency, supplanting all others,' according to The Register seven years ago."

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manufactured 'weather' causing current disasters (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23668869)

the lights are coming up all over now. conspiracy theorists are being vindicated. some might choose a tin umbrella to go with their hats. the fairytail is winding down now. let your conscience be yOUR guide. you can be more helpful than you might have imagined. there are still some choices. if they do not suit you, consider the likely results of continuing to follow the corepirate nazi hypenosys story LIEn, whereas anything of relevance is replaced almost instantly with pr ?firm? scriptdead mindphuking propaganda or 'celebrity' trivia 'foam'. meanwhile; don't forget to get a little more oxygen on yOUR brain, & look up in the sky from time to time, starting early in the day. there's lots going on up there.

is it time to get real yet? A LOT of energy is being squandered in attempts to keep US in the dark. in the end (give or take a few 1000 years), the creators will prevail (world without end, etc...), as it has always been. the process of gaining yOUR release from the current hostage situation may not be what you might think it is. butt of course, most of US don't know, or care what a precarious/fatal situation we're in. for example; the insidious attempts by the felonious corepirate nazi execrable to block the suns' light, interfering with a requirement (sunlight) for us to stay healthy/alive. it's likely not good for yOUR health/memories 'else they'd be bragging about it? we're intending for the whoreabully deceptive (they'll do ANYTHING for a bit more monIE/power) felons to give up/fail even further, in attempting to control the 'weather', as well as a # of other things/events.

dictator style micro management has never worked (for very long). it's an illness. tie that with life0cidal aggression & softwar gangster style bullying, & what do we have? a greed/fear/ego based recipe for disaster. meanwhile, you can help to stop the bleeding (loss of life & limb);

the bleeding must be stopped before any healing can begin. jailing a couple of corepirate nazi hired goons would send a clear message to the rest of the world from US. any truthful look at the 'scorecard' would reveal that we are a society in decline/deep doo-doo, despite all of the scriptdead pr ?firm? generated drum beating & flag waving propaganda that we are constantly bombarded with. is it time to get real yet? please consider carefully ALL of yOUR other 'options'. the creators will prevail. as it has always been.

corepirate nazi execrable costs outweigh benefits
(Score:-)mynuts won, the king is a fink)
by ourselves on everyday 24/7

as there are no benefits, just more&more death/debt & disruption. fortunately there's an 'army' of light bringers, coming yOUR way. the little ones/innocents must/will be protected. after the big flash, ALL of yOUR imaginary 'borders' may blur a bit? for each of the creators' innocents harmed in any way, there is a debt that must/will be repaid by you/us, as the perpetrators/minions of unprecedented evile, will not be available. 'vote' with (what's left in) yOUR wallet, & by your behaviors. help bring an end to unprecedented evile's manifestation through yOUR owned felonious corepirate nazi glowbull warmongering execrable. some of US should consider ourselves somewhat fortunate to be among those scheduled to survive after the big flash/implementation of the creators' wwwildly popular planet/population rescue initiative/mandate. it's right in the manual, 'world without end', etc.... as we all ?know?, change is inevitable, & denying/ignoring gravity, logic, morality, etc..., is only possible, on a temporary basis. concern about the course of events that will occur should the life0cidal execrable fail to be intervened upon is in order. 'do not be dismayed' (also from the manual). however, it's ok/recommended, to not attempt to live under/accept, fauxking nazi felon greed/fear/ego based pr ?firm? scriptdead mindphuking hypenosys.

consult with/trust in yOUR creators. providing more than enough of everything for everyone (without any distracting/spiritdead personal gain motives), whilst badtolling unprecedented evile, using an unlimited supply of newclear power, since/until forever. see you there?

"If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land."

meanwhile, the life0cidal philistines continue on their path of death, debt, & disruption for most of US. gov. bush denies health care for the little ones;

whilst demanding/extorting billions to paint more targets on the bigger kids;

& pretending that it isn't happening here;
all is not lost/forgotten/forgiven

(yOUR elected) president al gore (deciding not to wait for the much anticipated 'lonesome al answers yOUR questions' interview here on /.) continues to attempt to shed some light on yOUR foibles. talk about reverse polarity;

Thank God (5, Funny)

name*censored* (884880) | more than 6 years ago | (#23668903)

Thank God we live in the enlightened days of Web 2.0, in a bubble that will never burst!

Re:Thank God (3, Funny)

Tetsujin (103070) | more than 6 years ago | (#23669083)

Yes, there will be no more dot-com distasters for us!

Re:Thank God (3, Interesting)

E IS mC(Square) (721736) | more than 6 years ago | (#23669265)

Well, one of the guys who made millions in the dot com boom is now making sure there are no more 9/11 disasters by writing books on terrorism: Craig Winn [] of ValueAmerica [] .

Read dot.bomb by David Kuo - a very interesting insider look into what all went wrong in a typical company.

Re:Thank God (1)

billcopc (196330) | more than 6 years ago | (#23670019) summary:

Geeks got gobs of venture capital to spend on toys. Geeks != business tycoons. Geeks = fail.

Really, we just got a lot of money in a short amount of time, failed to make it profitable, and the money was pulled. That's what went wrong.

If people hadn't all gone retarded and ignored the concept of profit during those years, we wouldn't be in this stink.

Re:Thank God (1)

E IS mC(Square) (721736) | more than 6 years ago | (#23670707)

Not sure if ValueAmerica had anything geeky in their business other than having a store on teh Internets which did not even function properly.

It was simply [new buzzword] -> Start up -> IPO -> Get rich -> Profit!! What you read in the book is how they did it.

About geeks and business, I think its more true vice versa : Business Tycoons != Geeks. They don't know what works and how, while we have many examples of geeks going on to make hugely successful enterprises.

Re:Thank God (3, Funny)

thatskinnyguy (1129515) | more than 6 years ago | (#23669391)

Yes. But the only thing that really changed is that the web is now funded with venture capital AND ads.

Re:Thank God (4, Insightful)

Daniel Dvorkin (106857) | more than 6 years ago | (#23669609)

There will still be booms and busts, of course, but I do think people are a little wiser these days about how to make money on the web. (And no, I'm not talking about porn; anyone who, um, pokes around a little can find enough free porn to satisfy any appetite.) No amount of collective knowledge can save the truly stupid from themselves, but most folks do seem to realize that "... on the INTERNET!" is not in and of itself a recipe for making tons of cash. The truly successful dot-coms such as Google and Amazon and Ebay provide an example for internet business models that actually do make money, and smart would-be web entrepeneurs will study these few successes and (as well as the many, many failures) carefully.

Re:Thank God (2, Insightful)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 6 years ago | (#23670315)

Well there is a difference between "Web 1.0" and "Web 2.0" Web 2.0 wasn't ment to be the ultimate answer, just a tool to make it better. Back durint the .COM there was this strive to break all boundries change the world be the next multi-billionare. Now it is toned down. Making a web-site even a good one wont make you a billionare, you chances are just the same as any other company. (most companies are small under 100 employees) in which 90% of them fail in the first year. Yes we got some Web 2.0 big winners... YouTube/Google, MySpace... However most of them out there are just normal guys making an average living. And that is what is now expected.
The Web is in a state where the Telephone was in the 1960's where people are comfortable using it for their day to day activites, and is difficult to remember a world without it.

Please .... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23668913)

Won't someone post a link that doesn't have 11 pages?

Re:Please .... (5, Funny)

conureman (748753) | more than 6 years ago | (#23669039)

One look & I decided to NRTFA and save time by reading /.comments.

Re:Please .... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23669131)

seconded. it was one of those rare times when i actually was going to RTFA, but after taking a glance at it.. hmm.. no, you don't deserve ad income.

minus the pictures (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23670697)

At the turn of the Millenium the Internet burst out of academia and hobbyism in a volcano of money, sex and possibility. It barged its way into our lives, our economy and our global culture. For many people the dotcom boom meant oodles of boodle, and the promise of even more. But most of these Web pioneers were shown how dangerous it can be to run before you can walk -- for as night follows day, bust followed boom.

Collected here are history's most important failed dotcom businesses, and Web sites that were massive in their day, but now lie dormant in the graveyard of binary has-beens. We'll see people broadcasting themselves over a decade before YouTube existed, new global currencies that tried to leverage the booming global-local economy, and the best ways to let overexcited entrepreneurs burn through tens of millions of pounds and dollars in mere months.

Welcome to the dotcom bubble: the black hole of Web history. -Nate Lanxon

JenniCam (1996-2004; precursor to

JenniCam, beginning in 1996, was the first really successful 'lifecasting' attempt. We're more familiar these days with lifecasters Justin Kan and oh-God-look-at-how-hot-I-think-I-am Justine Ezarik. But these modern exhibitionists are doing a decade later what Jennifer Ringley started back when we were all using dial-up connections.

Jenni started out broadcasting her often mundane life from a single webcam, but eventually quadrupled her cam count and didn't shy away from broadcasting anything, including any bow-chicka-wow-wow with blokes, or even when bored on her own. She was 19 when she began doing this (lifecasting, not bow-chicka-wow-wow), and continued the hobby for seven years (lifecasting, not... you get the idea).

No subscription, no sex for you
Money rolled in from $15-a-year subscriptions and Jenni ended up featured on massive US talk shows and on the cover of popular magazines. It's reported that her site was receiving over 100 million visitors a week -- remember this is 1996 and the Web as we know it now had barely lost its virginity, let alone given birth to the God-child we know as the modern Internet.

In 2008, when reality TV shows such as Big Brother deliberately exploit chumps for the entertainment of idiots, Ringley's unapologetic self-opened window gave the world its first taste of what was to eventually dominate our tubes: user-generated video, interactive Web sites, paid-for Net subscriptions, video on-demand and self-exploitation.

But it seems almost eight years of such revelation was enough for the 20-something Jenni, who apparently now leads a quieter life as a computer programmer. (1998-2000; precursor to:, et al)

If you were cool and wanted clothes, you were part of's target audience. was one of the first to demonstrate the calamity that was to be the typical scenario for dotcom businesses at the turn of the Millenium -- overhype, overfund and overexpand. It was an online consumer fashion Web store, founded by Ernst Malmsten and ex-model Kajsa Leander in 1998, and launched the following year -- after eating £80m before selling a single item of clothing.

To guide you around the bandwidth-heavy site was Ms Boo, an animated little shop assistant. The problem was that in 1999, the limited numbers of people on the Net were using the also-limited bandwidth of dial-up modems, and browsing the site was a slow affair.

Overstaffed, overpaid, over here
Perhaps that's why eight weeks before its demise in mid-2000, had only managed to generate £200,000 in turnover from 300,000 customers. For a company that employed 400 people when it only estimated it needed 30, such a disappointing revenue was hardly enough to keep it afloat. Worse still, the company needed countless millions in additional funding, and as the tech stocks were plummeting like a pigeon shot mid-flight, the doors of banks were slammed, locked and welded shut.

In retrospect, simply tried to do too much, too soon. With over half of Britain's Internet users now on broadband and trust for online shopping much greater than it was in 2000, Malmsten and Leander's venture could've seen great success. (1997-2000; precursor to Xbox Live, PSN)

Back in the day, was an online gaming community created by Sega, similar to today's Xbox Live. Gamers would sign up for about $10 a month to play games such as Kingpin, Baldur's Gate, Unreal, Quake and Sin over the Net.

The site developed a decent community of bleeding-edge gamers who could earn 'Degrees' -- Heat's own currency earned by frequent players in reward for, well, playing frequently. But as of 31 October 2000, Sega closed and redirected users to SegaNet -- a pseudo-ISP for gamers created in 1999, access to which was provided by local telephone numbers.

Ahead of its time
Sega eventually decided to move away from PC gaming to focus on making the new Dreamcast console an online gaming system. This resulted in the amazing Phantasy Star Online and a Dreamcast broadband adaptor, right after shut its virtual doors.

But even SegaNet passed away a couple of years later, a casualty of the Dreamcast's failure, leaving the gaming world wondering what could possibly replace the experience that was effectively several years ahead of its time.

Nupedia (2000-2003; precursor to Wikipedia)

We're all familiar with Wikipedia -- one of the world's most visited Web sites. But it wasn't the first iteration of a free, open-source, collaborative online encyclopaedia.

Jimmy Wales initiated the pre-Wikipedia project, dubbed Nupedia, by assigning Larry Sanger -- now an ex-Wikipedian and founder of Wikipedia competitor Citizendium -- as site leader, as Wales "was specifically interested in finding a philosopher to lead the project," reminisces Sanger in an article on Slashdot.

Nupedia's first article concerned 'atonality', and was the first to pass through the early Nupedian system of submitting articles through mailing lists, as the site itself was not live at this point. When it eventually was, it looked nothing like Wikipedia but functioned in a similar fashion. Except for one key difference: articles had to be reviewed by editors before being posted.

Editorial control
This is the fundamental difference between Nupedia and what is now Wikipedia: the latter allows anyone to edit articles without so much as registering an email address, or create entirely new articles after a simple registration.

It was this difference that provoked Sanger to leave Wikipedia and start the aforementioned rival -- Citizendium -- for which articles go through a screening process and are written by certified academics and similar individuals. It's this difference that helped Wikipedia generate a total of over 6.5 million articles when counting just the 10 most popular languages on the site, whereas Citizendium offers around 6,500 (and only in English).

Nupedia closed in 2003, soon after Wikipedia passed its two-year anniversary, and is now dormant.

Webvan (1999-2001, precursor to, et al)

Thankfully, the UK didn't have its own version of Webvan -- it was one of the most epic fails in the dotcom bubble fiasco. It was a Web site that sold groceries such as bread and vegetables in the US, and was founded in 1999.

Within 18 months it had spent $1bn (over £500m at today's exchange rate) on a string of $30m futuristic warehouses, rapidly expanded into multiple US cities, raised almost half a billion dollars by going public and even bought out one of its largest rivals, HomeGrocer. By 2001, it announced its bankruptcy, firing 2,000 employees in the process.

Live faster, die younger
Webvan -- none of whose senior executives or investors had any experience in the supermarket trade -- went from being a $1.2bn company with 4,500 employees to being liquidated in under two years. High-profile investors in the store, including Sequoia Capital (which fortunately got it right with Apple, Google, Paypal and others), would have known trouble was in store for their investment when they saw Webvan's stock plummet from its all-time high of $30 to just six cents within a few months.

"One of the hallmarks of the dot-com crush has been the presumption that you needed to get big fast, which worked for and virtually no one else," commented Gartner analyst Whit Andrews in an interview with's sister site at the time of Webvan's bankruptcy.

The site exists now as merely a traditional link farm, a relic of one of 2001's most enormous financial implosions, which all binary entrepreneurs should be familar with. If nothing else it can stand as a cautionary example of how not to start your Web business.

Beenz (1998-2001)

Back at the turn of the Millennium, tried to form its own Internet currency. You could earn -- yes -- beenz by buying products from participating Web sites, among other methods, and subsequently redeem your beenz for products and services in real life.

The idea was a fairly simple one -- on online version of today's multi-store loyalty card schemes, such as Nectar in the UK -- but its founders got caught up in their 'international currency' hype. Beenz ultimately hit the big red button marked 'FAIL' and went under in 2001 after neglecting to prove that the idea was anything more than an ambitious loyalty points scheme.

Or was it?

There was a huge controversy over the idea of a global, online currency, and as making your own money is very much illegal, Beenz came under severe scrutiny from governments around the world. Its offices were even raided by the police and the UK's Financial Services Authority. But this was all in spite of massive investment from some serious people, and a partnership with MasterCard that allowed your beenz to be credited to your account.

It seems, however, that beenz went the way of so many of its contemporaries -- most of its clients were dotcom failures themselves, and they took beenz with them. Its technology was eventually bought by Carlzon Marketing Group in the US, and it officially joined the ranks of hasbeenz. (1998-2000; precursor to: PetPlanet, et al)

A company that goes public and subsequently liquidates itself within a year is a classic example of what the Internet bubble burst did to businesses. was the classic example of this classic example, and no-one felt the wrath of the immature online shopping world as much as, or more to the point, its risk-taking founders and investors. sold pet food and accessories in 2000, and like Webvan spent hundreds of millions of dollars on infrastructure, marketing and warehousing, but discovered it would take anything up to five years just to be earning the $300m a year it needed to earn to simply break even.

Hesitant customers
This was a time where countless millions upon millions of people who are online today were just considering buying a modem, and far away from putting their credit card details on to "this Internet thing everyone's talking about".

So when the company tanked, high-profile publications jumped all over it, commenting on how dangerous a space Internet business was at the time.

If you ever bought anything from, hopefully you still own it, because it's a fine memento of the days where it was possible for a business to lose money almost as fast as a football club.

AudioGalaxy (circa 1998-2002; precursor to: BitTorrent and torrent sites)

Napster, Kazaa, Grokster -- these are just a few P2P services that rose up, offered free distribution of music, then got sued out of existence by the record labels.

But AudioGalaxy, which began as an FTP search engine in 1998, offered a different approach to file-sharing -- it provided a community, an edited front-end that promoted featured bands, and operated on a pseudo-centralised network that used a Web-based interface and a desktop application to facilitate music discovery and downloading.

Napster 2?
For anyone using LimeWire these days, AudioGalaxy may be completely new to you, but it was one of many services that sprang up to replace Napster shortly after the Millennium. It, too, was ultimately sued out of existence.

It's important not to forget AudioGalaxy, though, as it was one of the most innovative P2P applications in history, and a huge number of people loved the service. Although the protocol and delivery method is very different, BitTorrent is loosely comparable to AudioGalaxy in that communities can be built around available files, and editors and users can promote and discover music by looking at what other people have suggested you check out.

AudioGalaxy shut its doors for good in 2002.

Stage6 (2006-2008; precursor to:

DivX and Xvid are highly thought of in the video world, thanks to their efficient encoding techniques and superb image quality. With this in mind, DivX launched Stage6 in 2006 to showcase the codec's abilities, and to provide high-quality video downloads from producers and users.

It was a welcome service, considering the low bandwidth and poor video quality of sites such as YouTube. But of course, the intense bandwidth and data transfer costs weren't being generated by users, as Stage6 didn't cost a bean to download from. This resulted in reported costs to DivX of around $1m a month.

High definition
What made Stage6 particularly unusual is that it offered support for 1080p HD video -- although our HD guru Ian Morris mocked the claim on the grounds that, while it offered a frame size and rate of 1080p, the data rate was so low it isn't worth comparing to any 'proper' HD format, such as Blu-ray. Even so, its on-demand, Web-based nature made it lip-smackingly attractive to producers and downloaders alike.

The site now points users to Veoh -- a site that offers high-quality streaming, supports DivX uploads and lets users download the originally uploaded source file, using P2P technology. The company is not affiliated with DivX, although it is backed by Time Warner.

Historical search engines
We all know what a search engine is. You may well have found this article by using one. And it's not our intention to document their history, though we do want to pay homage to ones you may never have used.

Archie, for example, is credited by pretty much everyone as the first search engine, and was created in 1990 by Alan Emtage. You could argue that the 'Integrated Information Management' system created by Steve Myers in 1985 was truly the first, but it was never a Web search tool, as it was used by a business for internal system searching, based on keywords and documents they reference.

One of the first three Web engines you may recall is HotBot, which launched in 1996 and was the Inktomi database creators' first commercial customer. What you might not be aware of is that it was owned and operated by Wired magazine. It's still knocking about and primarily uses the Yahoo Web directory.

You may not even remember 1998's, but it ranked search results based on what links users clicked on, how long they stayed on the page they were directed to, and whether or not they returned to the search results listing to find a more appropriate link. Its demise came after a timely acquisition by what was then Ask Jeeves, circa 2000.

And let's not forget All The Web -- an engine based on technology developed by FAST (Fast Search & Transfer), a result of research at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology. Launched fully in 1999, All The Web became a respected player in the search market for a brief period. It was ultimately bought by Overture, which also bought AltaVista. Overture itself was subsequently acquired by Yahoo and All The Web now mirrors the results generated by Yahoo searches.

beopen (4, Funny)

gmack (197796) | more than 6 years ago | (#23668923) .. Hired a full staff of reporters with the dream of competing with slashdot.

When it ran out of money a guy I know came back with T-Shirts. Not the cheap ones you get at trade shows but solid fruit of the loom stuff that lasted me 7 years of constant use (I throw shirts out when they get their first hole) as it turns out that was longer than the company lasted in the first place.

Re:beopen (1)

physman_wiu (933339) | more than 6 years ago | (#23669023)

I know many blogs like this...People are just impatient and expect returns quickly. You have to plan ahead at least 5 to 10 years if you are going to start a business.

Re:beopen (1, Insightful)

AutopsyReport (856852) | more than 6 years ago | (#23669575)

People are just impatient and expect returns quickly. You have to plan ahead at least 5 to 10 years if you are going to start a business.

Well isn't that great advice. Identify a market need, wait ten years to come to market and learn that someone else already executed nine years earlier?

I just can't understand the logic behind your advice. Things change quickly in business making it impossible to predict five to ten years ahead of time. You just can't plan for that, especially when you're not even in business yet.

The reasons new business fail is because they planned poorly (or not at all), couldn't adjust between what they expected and what they got (big revenues to big losses) etc.. It has nothing to do with long-term planning. That comes later.

Long term plans are only valuable if you've got the minerals to get yourself past day one.

Re:beopen (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23669929)

I think I meant that you have to plan how things are going to work vis-a-vis having minerals between day 1 and day 3652, when you can't expect the business to produce its own minerals (or vespene)

Re:beopen (3, Informative)

peragrin (659227) | more than 6 years ago | (#23670069)

That's just it the dotcom didn't plan 5 years out. heck they didn't plan 2 years out. Some of them took a billion dollars in venture captial spent it all inside of 6 months, grossed maybe $300 million in revenue, and suddenly realized they owed more money than the would make back in 5 years. They tried to start walmart or Home depot sized business overnight and then couldn't figure out why they failed.

you want to start a business and even have some start up money to get going that's great. but you had better carefully plan out the next two years of bills that you know about. as if you start coming up short your screwed.

Re:beopen (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23670379)

Wow, impressive way to misinterpret him, mock the strawman, and then give your own inaccurate assessment.

GP was in part referring to the fact that businesses often expect revenues and profits to come much more quickly than they actually do and have not planned ahead for the initial stages of a start-up. For traditional small businesses, lack of sufficient capital is the main cause of failure for new businesses. I suspect that remains the case with web businesses, even if it sometimes could be more accurately described as over-valuing the worth of your product.

The factors you mention are factors in the failure of a business, and it was a nice touch that you mock someone for talking about planning 5 years ahead and then list poor planning as your first idea of why most businesses fail. Five years may seem like a lifetime to you and the world of tech, but a solid business plan will almost always hold up over that long of a period without a huge amount change. (If you need to make huge changes to your business plan every year, you're probably in your death throes - even for tech companies.) Moreover, a business shouldn't expect profits for at least the first two years of its existence. Five years is a pretty short deadline to expect to get out of start-up mode.

Of course, you can opt to say "It's the web" and then accelerate all of your deadlines by a factor of four. That worked well last time, and I'm sure it'll work well with Web 2.0.

Re:beopen (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23670711)

Well said. Wish I had mod points left.

Re:beopen (1)

bkr1_2k (237627) | more than 6 years ago | (#23670601)

Nobody said anything about waiting to get to market. What gmack said was to plan 5-10 years instead of expecting returns quickly.

The problem tech startups have is that they have what they think is a good product and somehow think it will market itself. The real world, especially the business world, doesn't work that way though. You have to plan everything on paper thoroughly to expect success. Otherwise you've just gotten lucky if you make any money at all.

Essentially you and gmack are saying the same thing, just in different ways.

i'm confused (4, Funny)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 6 years ago | (#23669947)

so the company went belly up, but no one lost the shirts off their backs

somewhere, a cliche has just died...

Re:i'm confused (1)

acecamaro666 (1243364) | more than 6 years ago | (#23670723)

and the investors were taken to the cleaners!

One Good Thing (3, Funny)

FurtiveGlancer (1274746) | more than 6 years ago | (#23668935)

The chairs were sweet!

deja vu anyone. (1)

mgblst (80109) | more than 6 years ago | (#23668967)

Ok, it was slightly different, this is the biggest websites, they where the worst IPOs?

Is it the end of the year already?

I've been missing out (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23669001)

I must have been visiting the wrong sites all these years... The only two from that list that I remember are Jennicam and (4, Interesting)

oahazmatt (868057) | more than 6 years ago | (#23669009)

I remember the sock-puppet.

Then I remember a commercial for "Bar None" credit, where an astoundingly similar sock-puppet declares "because everyone deserves a second chance".

I have no idea if that was intentional or not, but it still makes me laugh to this day. (5, Informative)

Daver297 (1208086) | more than 6 years ago | (#23669035)

that is the same sock puppet (4, Funny)

oahazmatt (868057) | more than 6 years ago | (#23669075)

Yeah, I just found the info on wikipedia. Slashdot would not let me reply to my own post for whatever reason. Apparently, I do not deserve a second chance. :) (1)

Daver297 (1208086) | more than 6 years ago | (#23669241)

Nope, No Second CHANCES!.. besides it gave another user (me) a chance to break the silence.. God I miss the god ole Dot Com days (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23670187)

the funny part is that it's been so long since closed that practically nobody remembers them or the origin of the sock puppet, so the "second chance" statement is lost on most people (1)

ENIGMAwastaken (932558) | more than 6 years ago | (#23670201)

It's good to know he can still find work. (4, Interesting)

IorDMUX (870522) | more than 6 years ago | (#23670339)

There was a similar (Amazon?) super-bowl commercial that showed the company's mascot riding on a donkey through a silicon-valley-esque ghost town of boarded up offices, broken glass, and whitewashed signs where only the ".com" was visible. On his way out of town, the mascot came across the limp sock puppet (with X's for eyes) blowing in the wind. The commercial ended with a suggestion to trust the stable, surviving business [or something along those lines]. yeah. Obviously my memory is a bit faulty; this is one of my all-time favorite commercials, even if I can't remember the sponsoring company. Does anyone remember this commercial? Can someone fill in the blanks, here? (4, Informative)

IorDMUX (870522) | more than 6 years ago | (#23670411)

Never mind, I found it!

It was the 2001 eTrade SuperBowl commercial [] .

...hmm. Maybe I didn't remember it so well, after all.

Where are the Macarena-Dancing Chipmunks? n/t (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23669027)


I miss Dejanews (5, Interesting)

tmark (230091) | more than 6 years ago | (#23669033)

I know that Google took it over and still makes Usenet content searchable, but a part of me pines for the simple days when it was Usenet that contained the useful technical information we needed, and when Dejanews was the best way to get to it.

Re:I miss Dejanews (3, Insightful)

dwye (1127395) | more than 6 years ago | (#23669393)

> part of me pines for the simple days when it
> was Usenet that contained the useful technical
> information we needed, and when Dejanews was
> the best way to get to it.

Noob. Getting a feed from someone was the best way, and second best was getting a login on a small machine that had the feed. Dejanews was the Harbinger of Death for Usenet.

Re:I miss Dejanews (1, Informative)

ucblockhead (63650) | more than 6 years ago | (#23669521)

I pine for the days when Usenet contained useful technical information and you needed a Unix shell account and "rn" to get to it.

Re:I miss Dejanews (2, Funny)

Undead NDR (1252916) | more than 6 years ago | (#23669785)

I pine for the days when Usenet contained useful technical information

I slrn for those days.

Re:I miss Dejanews (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23670023)

I pine for the days when Usenet contained useful technical information

I slrn for those days.

And then there was Robert T. Morris, as the worm trns.

Re:I miss Dejanews (1)

Mikkeles (698461) | more than 6 years ago | (#23670465)

'I slrn for those days.'

I tin relate to that!

Re:I miss Dejanews (4, Funny)

halcyon1234 (834388) | more than 6 years ago | (#23670183)

I pine for the days when I used a mail reader called pine...

Re:I miss Dejanews (1)

devotedlhasa (1298843) | more than 6 years ago | (#23670599)

I pine for pine

The Former United States of America (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23669047)

is now the United Gulags of America [] :

Patrick Cockburn reports that the U.S. is demanding of Iraq, '50 military bases, control of Iraqi airspace and legal immunity for all American soldiers and contractors,' in a deal that 'raises huge questions over our independence,' writes Ali Allawi.

The pact, which also reportedly lets the 'U.S strike any country from inside Iraq,' was denounced by two Iraqi parliamentarians at a U.S. House hearing, with one estimating that about 70 percent of Iraqis favor withdrawal of U.S. forces, and another declaring that 'The surge didn't work.'

K. Trout, PatRIOT

Re:The Former United States of America (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23670529)

Dear Obama supporter, your story was over here [] .

Coincidentally... (3, Interesting)

Otter (3800) | more than 6 years ago | (#23669051)

GMail just served me up an ad for the book by a founder of For the youngsters, previous dot-com IPO hysteria had centered on companies like Netscape, which had products, if not necessarily a reasonable business plan. [] , a useless website that no one could explain exactly what it did, was worth $600 million at the end of its first day, breaking the first-day runup record previously held by the IPO that left Mark Cuban as a permanent pain in the ass of our society. Henceforth, any idiot with a domain name and a copy of PageMill thought he should be a billionaire.

Anyway, the founder wrote a book.

Re:Coincidentally... (1) (645325) | more than 6 years ago | (#23670607)

From that article:

Lead underwriter for the offering was Bear Stearns & Co...
Heh. (4, Informative)

mlwmohawk (801821) | more than 6 years ago | (#23669069)

bit for bit the best and most relevant search of the time. We went head to head with Google and we *HAD* better results with fewer duplicates.

FAST could have been Google, it was better, but the upper management decided there was no real money to be made in web search.

Alas, no matter how smart the engineers, or how good the technology, stupid management can screw up a free lunch. Unfortunately, win or lose, they *ALWAYS* get the pay off. (2, Insightful)

quarrel (194077) | more than 6 years ago | (#23669345)

alltheweb was good, agreed.

However, the while google's search results were/are good, the key thing they twigged to earlier than most was how HUGE web advertising was, and how to monetise it. That could have happened in Norway with alltheweb, but it didn't.

When google filed IPO documents people finally understood how HUGE web advertising was.

--Q (5, Insightful)

14erCleaner (745600) | more than 6 years ago | (#23669403)

For me, the greatest appeal of google was the lack of ad images (and it still is). Most of the web world still hasn't quite learned this lesson: don't annoy people. (1)

quarrel (194077) | more than 6 years ago | (#23669465)

As a search user, I agree. The simple design has been good.

However, we're talking about business models - they got the search business model right, where so many others missed the boat.

--Q (1)

mlwmohawk (801821) | more than 6 years ago | (#23669505)

When google filed IPO documents people finally understood how HUGE web advertising was.

Agreed, but FAST gave up WAY before then. (2, Informative)

Hankapobe (1290722) | more than 6 years ago | (#23669535)

FAST could have been Google, it was better, but the upper management decided there was no real money to be made in web search.

Maybe it was and maybe it wasn't, but tell that to the investors. The free market said that Google's original business model wasn't good enough - the tech wasn't good enough apparently.

Unless you have the money and you don't care about any sort of return, when you go into business, you must make a return on investment. And when you have investors, if you squander their money, they fire you and possibly you go to jail for fraud. At the very least, if you do not meet their requirements for a return, they will also fire you. The free market works the same way for technology.

Technology isn't the end all and be all for a successful enterprise. Their management made the right decision as far as I'm concerned and I'm sure Google's stock holders would agree. After the "customers" their opinion matters the most. (1)

ChrisMaple (607946) | more than 6 years ago | (#23669653)

AllTheWeb in its prime produced the best results, but HotBot had a feature I appreciated: I could set a date range, and as long as a site was honest about the date of its page I could eliminate many inappropriate results.

ClubCastLive (3, Interesting)

SIGBUS (8236) | more than 6 years ago | (#23669087)

I miss - it had live webcasts of bands at various clubs in Austin, TX. Shortly after they appeared on one of the morning TV news programs, they vanished from the web - and the domain eventually got snagged by a squatter.

I think bandwidth costs ate them alive - they streamed in 112 kbps MP3. I managed to snag a few shows before they went Tango Uniform.

CNet (5, Interesting)

truthsearch (249536) | more than 6 years ago | (#23669115)

I'm surprised CNet't not defunct. So many parts of their sites are very hard to look at, including this one. It's a shame because I always felt they had such potential, but I really can't browse their sites. It's still hard to understand why CBS valued them so high with their purchase.

Re:CNet (3, Informative)

Rob T Firefly (844560) | more than 6 years ago | (#23669647)

It's still hard to understand why CBS valued them so high with their purchase.
The domain was what CBS spent a metric pantload of money on. If it were attached to a dog groomer rather than an Internet company from the 1990s, CBS would now probably be grooming dogs while their management figures out how to best exploit the coveted domain.

Re:CNet (1)

thermian (1267986) | more than 6 years ago | (#23669669)

one word, userbase.

CNET has had a large userbase for years, and a lot of those users stick around. Loyalty in users is hard to come by.
I used CNET sites almost exclusively for several years, only stopping when I started to rely more on open source products. I still go back there for some things, and even use it as a mirror for my own product.

Re:CNet (1)

PawNtheSandman (1238854) | more than 6 years ago | (#23669683) domain name is why.

Re:CNet (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23670263)

cnet got lotsa good domain names, such as news/tv/radio/ and more...

I miss... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23669133) It was a pretty lively community.
I have yet to find another web based chatting site which was as well laid out and provided the right balance of services.

ABC/Go network can DIAF.

What sites do you miss? (1)

ThinkingGuy (551764) | more than 6 years ago | (#23670131)

For a while, about 7 years ago, was one of my favorite sites. It had a nice forum for IT professionals to gather and vent about technical, managerial, and other problems. Then it suddenly seems to have been abandoned. The last time I checked, the main page of the site was still there, frozen in time.

Distasters! (3, Funny)

Ai Olor-Wile (997427) | more than 6 years ago | (#23669135)

Where does one submit resumes for becoming a Dot-com distaster? I find dot-coms to be extremely distasteful and I would like to share my experiences on the matter.

Not "slating" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23669141)

"Slagging" (4, Interesting)

alan_dershowitz (586542) | more than 6 years ago | (#23669177)

Where the heck is, the bright, shining, and defunct future of music distribution? I still have probably a thousand of free MP3s of cool bands I found through that site. (2, Insightful)

68030 (215387) | more than 6 years ago | (#23669885)

I've found to be a suitable replacement at least for finding interesting new music. That's where I've got tons of my own music: []

Remember... (3, Interesting)

SGDarkKnight (253157) | more than 6 years ago | (#23669195) it was one of the best internet sites for getting all the lastest (and funniest) commericals from around the world. I remember when they closed down their site, they just got to big too fast and couldn't support themselves anymore... too bad, it was definatly one of the best.

Re:Remember... (2, Interesting)

spuke4000 (587845) | more than 6 years ago | (#23670579)

If you liked adcritic, you should check out [] . Every year there is a commerical fesitval France, with ~5000 submissions. A friend of mine watches them all, picks the 100 best, and writes a haiku about them. There's some very funny stuff there.

Don't forget Pixelon (3, Interesting)

futuresheep (531366) | more than 6 years ago | (#23669221),1902,14183,00.html [] $35 million from investors, and a $10 million launch party featuring acts like The Who, The Dixie Chicks, Kiss, and Brian Setzer. All this for a streaming video service that never worked so at demos they used a custom front end for Windows Media Services.

All of those collapse and still lives on (5, Funny)

multi-flavor-geek (586005) | more than 6 years ago | (#23669245)

How, for the love of God, how....

Re:All of those collapse and still lives (1)

Daver297 (1208086) | more than 6 years ago | (#23669299)

haha I almost forgot about that.. Almost

Re:All of those collapse and still lives (5, Funny)

multi-flavor-geek (586005) | more than 6 years ago | (#23669365)

I still wake up in a cold sweat sometimes screaming "I think I can see his kidneys, my eyes, my eyes!"

I don't get it (5, Insightful)

Moraelin (679338) | more than 6 years ago | (#23670093)

You know, I don't quite get it. I've seen bigger arseholes in upper management or on the cover of some management magazines, and noone gets a shock at seeing those ;)

Well, now seriously, it was just an arse. Admittedly a rather stretched one, but I gather there must be _some_ demand for seeing that on a woman, judging by the whole category of porn and whole sites dedicated to it. I haven't heard of people reeling in shock after being exposed to almost seeing a <insert female pornstar>'s kidneys up her rear end after an anal scene. Or sometimes in the middle of it.

Seriously, it wasn't the most appealing or aesthetically pleasing picture out there, I'll grant that, but I just can't figure out the _horror_ some people claim to have experienced seeing it. It seems a rather disproportionate response. You'd figure that a simple, "hmm, how's this relevant to the topic at hand?" and hitting the back button would be enough for all practical purposes. Horror or shock? Erm, why?

Or was it just the implicit hint of homosexuality that gives the average male in some parts of the world the idea that he must seem properly outraged and horrified by it, lest someone might get the idea that he's gay too? Not trolling, just genuinely trying to figure it out.

@home (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23669309)

the number of people who were screwed in terms of their own homepages and emails AND internet service has to go down as the wooooorst dotcom/internet related fiasco evar. thanks at&T

And the winner is... (2, Insightful)

rezalas (1227518) | more than 6 years ago | (#23669327)

Everyone but these guys! It might seem a little crass, but when you think about it all the businesses that succeeded did so in part from the lessons learned during the "great crash". Which in many ways helped to bring the good idea makers and engineers together through the rubble to form meaningful companies and worthwhile investments from what could have been a severe slowdown for our overall progress in internet spread.

Jenni Archives (3, Insightful)

bikeidaho (951032) | more than 6 years ago | (#23669343)

So where are the Jenni archive videos, especially bow-chicka-bow-wow? I know someone has them... come on, fess up.

Jenni-cam? (2, Interesting)

ucblockhead (63650) | more than 6 years ago | (#23669455)

How was that a disaster? The woman made a shit-load of money and got a shit-load of attention for no work.

Re:Jenni-cam? (1)

Daver297 (1208086) | more than 6 years ago | (#23669547)

and she wasn't all that.. no offense to Jenni, but.. come on

Re:Jenni-cam? (1)

thermian (1267986) | more than 6 years ago | (#23669573)

that was mentioned as a defunct, rather then failed, venture (2, Interesting)

commodoresloat (172735) | more than 6 years ago | (#23669461)

A daily fix of news about crime and criminal justice delivered with a sense of humor. You can look through the old ones using the wayback machine [] . It's a little like what thesmokinggun would have been with real editors and reporters. They went under around 2002 but it used to be one of my daily browsing spots.

That and our own nofuncharlie [] , which went under not because of lack of funding (there never was any in the first place), but because we let some domain-snatchers grab the domain out from under us.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23670161)

I did some consulting for APB in what turned out to be their last 6 months of operation. 65 Broadway, the old Amex building. They most certainly burned through the cash like a Hummer on white gas. Staffed with 'professional' journalists, set up much like a newspaper newsroom. Helped them set up a audio news service. God, wish I had that job now. Anyone wanna loan me a grand or two?!

List of the 30 websites. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23669483)

reminisces Sanger in an article on Slashdot.

A /. reference on an article talking about defunct or disastrous websites....a subtle insult?

What about Wireplay? (2, Interesting)

thermian (1267986) | more than 6 years ago | (#23669497)

No-one ever mentions Wireplay.

When that first started it was, in my opinion, the best online gaming service available. For those who don't know you paid for a connection direct to their servers, not the internet, which made it the fastest gaming experience available in the pre broadband era.
There were gaming leagues, prizes, admins/judges for all games,and the chatroom system was excellent. I don't think their chatroom system has ever been bettered in fact.

All my best gaming memories come from my time as a Wireplay member. I even made skins for lots of clans who played in the leagues.

There was sort of informal feel to the place too, The staff had a webcam in their office that let you watch them work, and they had a log that they wrote whatever came to mind in, who was off sick, what they'd got up to at the weekend, anything.

I don't recall who bought them out, but sometime during the boom they got taken over, and everything turned to shit, somost of the people I knew quit and moved over to barrysworld leagues. I left shortly after the new owner assraped the chatroom system and wrecked its charm.

Now I find that it exists as some sort of free affair, but it's not the same.

Re:What about Wireplay? (3, Funny)

oahazmatt (868057) | more than 6 years ago | (#23669633)

No-one ever mentions Wireplay.
I'm still waiting for a mention of Chips & Dips. Whatever happened to that place?

LNUX (parent company of Slashdot) (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23669517)

VA Software is notable because of its IPO on December 9, 1999. The shares for the IPO were offered at $30, but the traders held back the opening trade until the offers hit $299. LNUX later popped up to $320, and closed their first day of trading at $239.25, a 698% return. However, this high-flying success was short-lived, and within a year the stock was selling at well below the initial offer price. As of 2005, this is still the most "successful" IPO of all time.

Stock currently trades at a buck forty

Category Missed (1)

darkrowan (976992) | more than 6 years ago | (#23669591)

Any 'pay to surf' bar or widget. My brain remember UtopiAD and All ADvantage. Paid you to surf and, like all good pyramid schemes, you got even more if those below you in the food chain surfed.

Re:Category Missed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23669771)

I remember AllAdvantage - I think the compensation checks equaled something like $12 a month, but hell, they were paying me for a passive activity that I was already doing anyways. At some point, I drank the conspiracy theorist Kool-Aid and decided this was some kind of sinister plot by The Man to compile my personal information to use it for nefarious purposes, and I took the AllAdvantage software off my computer.! (1)

Gigiya (1022729) | more than 6 years ago | (#23669621)

I started using the internet when I was 12 from playing Rogue Spear on - they didn't go under, though, they were sold to Gamespy in 2001. I miss it!

what about everything2? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23669645)

During the last slashdot IRC interview (wow, that was a long time ago... how about another one?), someone mentioned wikis. Cmdr "No wireless, less space than a nomad, lame" Taco responded that wikis were a passing fad and not scalable to slashdot's load. The next week, Wikipedia surpassed slashdot in page views and has seen their traffic steadily increase while slashdot has floundered and been hit with database problems and excessive downtime.

But before wikipedia, there was everything2. Everything2 could have been what wikipedia is now, but CmdrTaco's poor programming and database skills left it unscalable and slow as fuck (much like slashdot, but without Linux/SourceForge cash to throw hardware at the problem).

what no Efront? (1)

Harlockjds (463986) | more than 6 years ago | (#23669649)

i'm amazed eFront wasn't on the list but i guess that was more felt by internet geeks than anyone. (3, Informative)

superdude72 (322167) | more than 6 years ago | (#23669697)

I still miss With a few clicks you could have a sandwich, a pint of Ben & Jerry's, a Razor scooter, and some porn delivered to you in 30 minutes. Everything you need for the perfect evening! And no delivery charge.

I kind of knew at the time that they'd never turn a profit, but it was nice while it lasted.

what a bunch of has beenz (0, Redundant)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 6 years ago | (#23669891)

thank you, i'll be here all week

Re:what a bunch of has beenz (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23670079)

Beenz!!!!!!!!!! The web's currency
Everything I touch turns into Beenz
Time to kick it and stream these Beenz broadband style purchases Macromedia for record ten million beenz []

19100 (1)

David Gerard (12369) | more than 6 years ago | (#23670045)

19100 was the year the tech bubble burst as the Y2K Bug caused the Internet to overflow and crash, and web browsers stopped working and people had to return to their Etch-a-Sketches. (This is why websites popular after 19100, such as My Space, appear to have been designed on an etch-a sketch.)

In 19100, the King of the Internet first started to suspect he would never in fact become a millionaire from the Initial Public Offering of a tech company.

Historical search engines (2, Interesting)

Sun.Jedi (1280674) | more than 6 years ago | (#23670077)

I recall the early lycos [] search business model -- you'd get 40 or free searches, then a subscription was 'required' (not really, but it was supposed to be required). I can specifically recall goofing off in my IT hardware support role searching and downloading DOOM [] *.wad files for late night fraggage. There was no /. [] then, sadly, there was only DOOM and Efnet [] .

Altavista [] seemed to get replaced by google, in rather short order. I can't recall a specific reason I stopped using it, unless it was related to the repeated sale/reorg of DEC -> Compaq -> HP. I remember the news spreading about altavista hacked in '97 and '01 (the pr0n).

Maybe I'll use that webcrawler [] search thingy to look this stuff up. Maybe I should go back to work [] instead.

Well... I guess I was out of touch... (1)

mark-t (151149) | more than 6 years ago | (#23670549)

All of these were big back in there day, huh? Out of all the sites and tools that were mentioned in that article, the only one I had ever even heard of before was Archie (used for finding files available via anonftp, iirc).

List of sites from the link (1)

mcguyver (589810) | more than 6 years ago | (#23670653)

The list:
JenniCam (1996-2004; precursor to (1998-2000; precursor to:, et al) (1997-2000; precursor to Xbox Live, PSN)
Nupedia (2000-2003; precursor to Wikipedia)
Webvan (1999-2001, precursor to, et al)
Beenz (1998-2001) (1998-2000; precursor to: PetPlanet, et al)
AudioGalaxy (circa 1998-2002; precursor to: BitTorrent and torrent sites)
Stage6 (2006-2008; precursor to:
Historical search engines

Circadence (3, Interesting)

Rowanyote (980640) | more than 6 years ago | (#23670699)

Likely a company name you have never heard of, but another sunken testement to the Dot com bubble burst.

Circadence started as a small online games developer (VR-1) with well under a hundred employee and in a very short time grew to just under 500 people, millions of dollars of deployed hardware at 20+ network backbone nodes, a 24 hour NOC, 4 full time customer service people (each making 40k+) all without having a single customer. During this growth, the only money making arm of the company (the games development section) was sold off for additional capital.

Circadence was going to revolutionize e-commerce by speeding up vender to backbone node communication through packet manipulation. (Thus all the deployed hardware). No more static image caching for them, they could deliver dynamic shopping pages to the customer as much as.... 5-10% faster.... Wait. (To give some credit, the speed improvements would have been better if the projected e-commerce boom started to congest the internet, unfortunately that also never happened)

The first layoff went from 400+ employees down to 130 or so and was couched in terms of a company wide meeting in both an upper and lower conference rooms. The lower conference room got the talk and were walked out the door en masse and then escorted back one by one to get personal possessions. The upper conference room was told to go home for the day and to come in tomorrow for business as usual.

A couple months later was the next round of layoffs, which took the company down to 11.

All those millions of dollars of network gear and servers showed up on trucks to be auctioned off at pennies on the dollar. An entire building worth of computers, office furniture, desk detritus, everything either went into dumpsters or boxes (which later went into dumpsters), or was also auctioned off.

Millions and millions of investor capital spent all for nothing. I wanted to cry as I watch everything being thrown out, boxed up and disassembled. The beautiful NOC where I watched the events of 9-11 for half a day in shock was cold, dark, and in pieces... as was the hopes and dreams of the rest of the company.
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