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Dot-Com Service Memories?

Cliff posted more than 10 years ago | from the back-in-the-day dept.

The Internet 96

Buster Chan asks: "As the dotcom boom was still going strong in 1998, there was a service called MyTalk, which I used to send/recieve e-mail/voicemail/telephone calls/horoscopes and so forth, for free; it was mostly a unique, ad-driven way to avoid paying a quarter for telephone calls from payphones. Most of the ads were recruitment ads for the U.S. Army. MyTalk was a major tool for my online socialization when I was seventeen. Does anyone else have fond memories of MyTalk, or know of similar services that exist for free nowdays, or does anyone remember using interesting, unique services from the dotcom boom that no longer exist?"

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OOOH OOOH! (-1, Offtopic)

higuy48 (568572) | more than 10 years ago | (#8414031)

Remember Heady days, crazy nights.

My fondest memory (3, Funny)

CptChipJew (301983) | more than 10 years ago | (#8414061)

Was that SuperBowl commercial right after the burst where they showed a wrecking ball destroying buildings for .com's that were clearly really stupid ideas.

My favorite:

Re:My fondest memory (1)

schoolsucks (570755) | more than 10 years ago | (#8414080)

What was all about? They sold socks?

Re:My fondest memory (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8414088)

It was a commercial, they were all made up parodies of the whole .com situation. Lots of companies tried selling lots of useless services on the Internet.

Re:My fondest memory (1)

Tackhead (54550) | more than 10 years ago | (#8441891)

> It was a commercial, they were all made up parodies of the whole .com situation. Lots of companies tried selling lots of useless services on the Internet.

The best part of the commercial was the punchline.

The sock puppet lying in the dust. As the dust settled, the logo/slogan: "E*Trade: Invest Wisely."

For once, truth in advertising.

Re:My fondest memory (4, Funny)

Glonoinha (587375) | more than 10 years ago | (#8418524)

My fondest memory of that era : jobs.

Please God let there be one more tech boom, I promise not to piss it all away this time.

Re:My fondest memory (1)

tverbeek (457094) | more than 10 years ago | (#8446759)

Please God let there be one more tech boom, I promise not to piss it all away this time.

I promise not to spend the next one going back to school. I'm going to actually get one of those well-paying jobs doing neat stuff, and enjoy it while it lasts.

um, yeah (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8414070)

know of similar services that exist for free nowdays, or does anyone remember using interesting, unique services from the dotcom boom that no longer exist?

Yeah, its called going outside and talking to people.

Re:um, yeah (4, Funny)

Alphanos (596595) | more than 10 years ago | (#8414106)

know of similar services that exist for free nowdays, or does anyone remember using interesting, unique services from the dotcom boom that no longer exist?

Yeah, its called going outside and talking to people.

So going outside and talking to people is a unique service that no longer exists:)?

Re:um, yeah (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8414118)

Hi, I'm the ability to understand English, have we met?

Read the first part clearly. Pay attention. Here I'll even restate it:

know of similar services that exist for free nowdays

Here's a service: a bar without a cover charge. You go meet people.

Right about now you're upset because I have made you look like such a fool. Well, I'm sorry, but you deserved it.

Propz to GNAA

Re:um, yeah (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8421492)

GNAA in the hizouse. (3, Interesting)

Doobian Coedifier (316239) | more than 10 years ago | (#8414085)

What, like [] ? Delivering movies and snacks was a good idea, in theory...but apparently not a sustainable business model. I knew bad things were coming when they started delivering Rolexes and other rediculously expensive things...

Kozmo/Urban Fetch (5, Funny)

autarkeia (152712) | more than 10 years ago | (#8414089)

The best service that went the way of the dodo during the boom was either or Urban Fetch. Though they started out with video & DVD rentals, you could order ANYTHING from them. In one instance, our office was swelteringly hot during the summer. I hopped onto Urban Fetch and ordered myself an air conditioner. I also ordered Palms, ice cream, videos, and Smith & Wollensky steaks.

At one point Urban Fetch dropped off a "free" CD along with a DVD rental that the bicycle delivery people had "written, produced, and directed." It was horrible-- all I can remember was something about "what can we fetch fo' u?" rapped to nasty pseudo-hip-hop music. I scrawled a "please never deliver one of these promos to me again" note on it and returned it alongside my DVD rental.

Ahh, the good old days.

Re:Kozmo/Urban Fetch (2, Interesting)

The Cydonian (603441) | more than 10 years ago | (#8415527)

Googled it up, and found a very amusing article [] about it:-
Although he did not say specifically how many DVDs BigStar ordered from Urban Fetch, company sources say they ordered close to $5,000 worth of DVDs before Urban Fetch established a limit of one DVD per order yesterday. "We were glomming for a few days," says Friedensohn. "Now we might switch to ice cream, which they also seem to sell below wholesale. Or maybe their VC can just send us the cash directly."
Somes it up nicely, doesn't it? :-)

Re:Kozmo/Urban Fetch (1)

Temporal Outcast (581038) | more than 10 years ago | (#8438693)

Is glomming a real word? :)

Re:Kozmo/Urban Fetch (1)

Ryosen (234440) | more than 10 years ago | (#8441045)

Ask Mr. Webster [] .

AllAdvantage (4, Interesting)

Strike (220532) | more than 10 years ago | (#8414096)

Okay, it actually didn't provide me with anything ... but it paid WAY better. I was the first person that I knew of in my circle of friends at my university who signed up for it, so I got a lot of friends and their friends and their friends ... ad inf. to sign up and as a result I started banking some decent cash. At one point I was making upwards of $150 a month for having a mouse emulator just do random clicks for 8-10 hours a night a few days a month.

Re:AllAdvantage (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8414257)

so you and your "circle of friends" added loads of air to the bubble. way to go.

Re:AllAdvantage (1)

ffsnjb (238634) | more than 10 years ago | (#8414953)

I combined AllAdvantage and GoToWorld (I think that was the name, too lazy to look in the cd archives for the software) on three of my windows machines back in the day. The first few months checks rocked, then they caught on. I think I pulled a grand or so for no effort at all in about 3 months of 24/7 fake-surfing. Heh, D'oh!

Re:AllAdvantage (4, Interesting)

RevAaron (125240) | more than 10 years ago | (#8415334)

you may have ahd a mouse emulator, but i got you beat- i built a lil contraption with my lego mindstorms and a taken-apart trackball... hooked that shit up with alladbantage+everything else... i think there was about a 640x180 of usable space on the screen. but i didn't care- i did it whilst i sleapt, and in vmware. eh eh eh. worked like a charm, and nothing could detect it- alladvantage could sniff out a lot of the click emus later on... :D

Re:AllAdvantage (1)

aquasheep (681072) | more than 10 years ago | (#8419741)

I signed up for Cashfiesta during that time, and was probably one of the few people that DIDN'T use a mouse emulator, but actually managed to use my computer for 16 hours a day for a whole month.

Then, surprise surprise, the day before Cashfiesta was supposed to send me a check, they claimed I was cheating and cancelled my account.

But I'm not bitter, really.

The good old days... (4, Interesting)

BigZaphod (12942) | more than 10 years ago | (#8414104)

I remember back in 1998 when email was still pretty useful and not so spam-filled. And how ICQ wasn't entirely bogged down in crap and was still mostly just a messenger. What happened to those services?

Re:The good old days... (3, Informative)

alphaseven (540122) | more than 10 years ago | (#8414729)

ICQ is still around, I think most Americans have abandoned it but it's still used a lot in Canada and Europe and places AOL hasn't that strong a foothold. Not to say AIM isn't popular in Canada but a lot of people still use ICQ up here.

Re:The good old days... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8415081)

Remember, AOL owns ICQ too... not just AIM

Re:The good old days... (1)

Curtman (556920) | more than 10 years ago | (#8419960)

Where? I used to think that too, but the last time MSN went down for maintenance in the middle of a conversation (last night), I found myself with two ICQ contacts left to chat with.

Dear God: Please help the world to use Jabber [] .

Re:The good old days... (1)

TwistedSquare (650445) | more than 10 years ago | (#8434572)

MSN going down is why people are still using ICQ... Until about six months ago I had 2 MSN contacts and a fair few ICQ contacts, nowadays MSN is gaining, AOL is absolutely nowhere. I'd like to use Jabber but its the "network" effect - you have to really use what your friends are willing to use. I'm UK, btw.

Re:The good old days... (1)

Curtman (556920) | more than 10 years ago | (#8435790)

I'd like to use Jabber but its the "network" effect - you have to really use what your friends are willing to use

No, check it out some time. It has "transports" which enable you to communicate with people on other IM networks including ICQ, AOL, and MSN.

Re:The good old days... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8435920)

MSN going down is why people are still using ICQ... Until about six months ago I had 2 MSN contacts and a fair few ICQ contacts, nowadays MSN is gaining, AOL is absolutely nowhere.

Actually, AOL owns ICQ (they paid 300 million for them back when the dotcom bubble was nearing its peak). Why they haven't merged ICQ and AIM, well - your guess is as good as mine.

Re:The good old days... (1)

jmauro (32523) | more than 10 years ago | (#8453979)

They have merged them. Enter an ICQ number as a buddy into AIM or an AIM name into ICQ and it works fine. The backend for both is the same severs running the same protocol. ICQ/AIM difference is kept around to get those people who are too cool for AOL and to get the people who are too afraid to use anything but AOL. It's all marketing.

Banner Driven Software (3, Informative)

Moderator (189749) | more than 10 years ago | (#8414112)

I remember DesktopDollars, which was a system where you were paid to have advertisements placed at the top of the desktop. It promised $150 an hour. I made $7 in three months.

I also remember Juno and NetZero providing free internet, the later of which now charges $14.95 a month for dialup.

Re:Banner Driven Software (-1)

Horny Smurf (590916) | more than 10 years ago | (#8415204)

a friend of mine used one of those free isps for a while. I've never seen so many pop-up and banner ads.

Re:Banner Driven Software (1)

thelenm (213782) | more than 10 years ago | (#8415462)

I used to use ClickDough, which was actually still around as of a few months ago, albeit with a greatly modified "business model"... A couple of months in a row, I got checks for about $30-40 just for having a fairly small banner ad in the corner of my desktop. Ah, those were the days.

Actually, there is still a service that basically pays you to receive ads: MyPoints [] . They send you emails with links that you follow to earn points. I've been racking up the points and just a few weeks ago redeemed them for $75 in Barnes and Noble gift cards. Not bad. (Oh, and yes, the above link is a "you were referred by 'thelenm'" link... if for some reason anyone wants to join but would rather not give me credit for it, just go straight to their main page [] and check it out.)

Re:Banner Driven Software (1)

billbaird (166492) | more than 10 years ago | (#8416372)

That would be $9.95 a month.

Re:Banner Driven Software (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8427907)

Free internet from Juno is an evil I can whole-heartedly relate to. I was the first of my friends that found how to get the real username and password for the accounts and log in through dial-up networking. They later made some programs to do it that made it easier. I had to create nearly in the 10's of thousands of accounts cause they deleted them constantly. I battled them for quite a while and prolly did more work than it would have taken to just get a normal ISP. Ahh yeah. those were the days.

Napster (4, Interesting)

Captain Splendid (673276) | more than 10 years ago | (#8414133)

Can't have this thread without mentioning Napster at its peak.

I was lucky enough to be working for a cybercafe/reseller/small ISP at the time and had access to some serious bandwith. It was during this period I managed to track down all the rare songs I hadn't heard in years. I must have downloaded dozens of tracks a day.

Good times

Re:Napster (0)

TJmoney (754109) | more than 10 years ago | (#8438451)

Ah, napster. My first experience with it was at my high school in programming class, having the school's t1 all to myself, downloading at over a megabit. Those were the days. Even better was having an Unreal lan party in that room every day during 7th period, eventually the administration realized what we were doing and put a stop to it. (2, Interesting)

crow (16139) | more than 10 years ago | (#8414135)

I used a similar service through It worked like a prepaid phone card, only you earned minutes before the call was connected by listening to ads. The big downside to it was that if you listened to enough ads to have a nice conversation and then got a busy signal, your time was wasted because the minutes wouldn't carry over to the next call.

At the end, they limited the number of free minutes per month before shutting down entirely.

Going there now, it seems to be some sort of web directory. (1)

Paddyish (612430) | more than 10 years ago | (#8430092)

I used broadpoint too. It was great for making a quick payphone call without a quarter (until they put a stop to that) or making a long distance call in short increments. I used a speakerphone for that so the ads wouldn't make my ear numb.

Then, I moved to - another great way to make free phone calls...albeit, a bit choppy, but hey, I got what I paid for :-P (5, Funny)

Ieshan (409693) | more than 10 years ago | (#8414138)

Well, if you can't find a more specific service, you can do everything at Anything. Welcome. Anything. You can do anything at (5, Interesting)

vasqzr (619165) | more than 10 years ago | (#8414160)

It still exists today but it's not the same. I used to use it to make free calls back home all the time. It worked great for calling relatives, long distance relationships...j

Basically you signed up for free, then dialed the number with your mouse, and used your microphone/headphone to talk in full duplex. Very good sound quality, even with a 56k modem. You'd hear a "thank you for using" and it would call your destination. Completely transparent, no operators involved. The other party had no idea.

It was also great for prank calls. The calls seemed to get routed to a local number, so they couldn't call you back with *69 or caller ID. I'm sure a subpoena could though...

Nothing like stalking an ex-girlfriend anonymously, without having to buy a pre-paid cellular phone.

After a while, DialPad started limiting calls to ten minutes, then they started charging... (2, Informative)

bhtooefr (649901) | more than 10 years ago | (#8414302)

I remember DialPad. I also remember that their POS Java applet did not work well at all. Come to think of it, sound quality SUCKED ASS on a 33.6K, too. I also distinctly remember DialPad bluescreening multiple boxes running Win95 or Win98. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8414906)

I distinctly remember looking intently at the screen bluescreening multiple boxes running Win95 or Win98. (1)

bhtooefr (649901) | more than 10 years ago | (#8419791)

Actually, I have one of those few "lucky dog" systems. A lucky dog is a box that runs Windows 95, and the OS never crashes, even when you do something insane like run Word 2000, Internet Explorer, and a game - with 16MB RAM. The only times I've gotten it to bluescreen were when I had put floppies on their last legs in there, for a while after I forgot to take it out of a truck in the middle of August (got 250,000 bad bytes, that way, too - before then, it was PERFECT - 0 bad bytes), and when some config that always messes up and then corrects itself on Win95/98 messed up (it was a warning, not a fatal error). These are the boxes that seem more stable than a W2K box, when you KNOW that W95 is inherently MUCH less stable than W2K.

BTW, the systems I tried DialPad on were Cyrixes, and they both fell over QUICKLY. My Cyrix was a MediaGX (never trick me like that again - tell me it's a 5x86, not a Pentium clone, next time), and the uptime would have impressed Bill Gates it was so low. The other system was a 6x86 PR150 (120MHz), and it got reloaded about every month. So, I never tried DialPad on a lucky dog, but since they made the two Cyrixes LESS stable, it'd probably crash a P75, too. (1)

enigmatichmachine (214829) | more than 10 years ago | (#8415803)

worked great for me when i was in college, except it was LAGGY as hell. for some reason they timing was just off enough so that you always seemed to start talking at the same time as the other person, leading to this sort of conversation roadblock. after trying it for a couple weeks my girlfriend finaly mailed me a 20$ phone card, i got the picture and stopped using dialpad except to call the folks back home. (1)

billbaird (166492) | more than 10 years ago | (#8416383)

I don't remember what it was called, but about 5 years ago we used this logged onto the website and entered the number you wanted to call, and your number. Shortly after, your phone would ring and you just had to click "stay connected" on your computer every few minutes. One of the best free services ever offered in my opinion...anyone remember what it was called? (1)

billbaird (166492) | more than 10 years ago | (#8416682)

just to add...The best part of it was the "double prank", someone would get a call saying, "please hold while we connect you" then the other person would pick up the phone and everyone would be confused. Sounds dumb, but when you are bored at college, it is very fun. (1)

lewp (95638) | more than 10 years ago | (#8427855)

So... that was you! (2, Funny)

Buster Chan (755016) | more than 10 years ago | (#8417337)

Friends told me about dialpad, but MyTalk was more useful because of its portability. You needed a computer in order to place calls over dialpads telephone/computer network, but you could access MyTalk's long-distance network of connected telephones/computers from any phone in continental North America. In the early days of MyTalk, I was exploiting the system by being a "telephone tourist" -- I'd call as far North in Canada as I could, and as far south in Mexico as I could, and I'd call places like Carnegie Hall and Hollywood and Niagra Falls... and I still look back at those memories with joy. Now I've got a crappy job in a callcenter, and I must annoy those exact places with market research surveys; it's ironic, in a way, that the very places I called for fun are now being called by me at work as part of a torturous job that not only tortures me, but also tortures the people I'm calling at all hours of the day, to ask them questions regarding things about which they have no reason to give a damn.

Slashdot (4, Funny)

DAldredge (2353) | more than 10 years ago | (#8414377)

I miss /. they was it used to be, when tech articles didn't have to be written to a 3rd grade level to get more than 20 posts.

Re:Slashdot (4, Funny)

Brandybuck (704397) | more than 10 years ago | (#8414596)

"Hey, don't just put some guys name on the article blurb and expect us to know who he is! Please explain why I should care what this Richard M. Stallman fellow has to say."

Re:Slashdot (1)

Usquebaugh (230216) | more than 10 years ago | (#8415313)

It's not funny, it's sad. /. sold out for page hits.

The only high spot was when they ditched Katz :-) But Mickey and Timmy are still here :-(

I remember when Ask /. actually had some questions that took longer than 60 seconds on Google to answer!

Re:Slashdot (1)

thelenm (213782) | more than 10 years ago | (#8415490)

I know!! I used to read another site that was kind of like that, too. What the heck ever happened to Chips & Dips [] ??

Re:Slashdot (1)

narrowhouse (1949) | more than 10 years ago | (#8416487)

Okay, normally I leave the Grammar Nazi posts to others. However "they was it used to be" in a post cracking on the writing in the articles? Pot, the kettle called and would like to borrow some black.

And who could forget (1)

bmac (51623) | more than 10 years ago | (#8419329)

that Katz guy? /vomits/

Some change *is* good.

Peace & Blessings,

Re:And who could forget (1)

kiwimate (458274) | more than 10 years ago | (#8433355)

Please. I'd have Katz back in a second if it would get rid of Michael. Katz could be irritating, but Michael is just plain abusive/nasty/egomaniacal/powermad. I'd put him on ignore except...once in a blue moon he puts up something interesting.

Most of the time -- the vast majority of the time, in fact -- he puts up meaningless drivel and then expounds on it in the most asinine fashion, and I want to throttle the dreadful little man. But for those rare occasions when he's on duty, a halfway decent story comes through, and he is actually able to recognize it as such -- well, for those increasingly rare moments, I must suffer through the garbage, drat it all.

interesting, unique services from the dotcom boom (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8414456)

umnn, getting a decent, steady paycheck?

Free Parties (4, Funny)

cyranoVR (518628) | more than 10 years ago | (#8414484)

One public service my NYC dot-com provided was parties. Of course, these shindigs were intended as exclusive events with closely guarded invitation lists...but as you might expect, after about an hour everything would go out the window.

Bar-hoppers would see the line outside our offices and assume they had stumbled upon a new night club or spontaneous rave, and would proceed to talk their way in. We gave everyone nametags as they entered - I rember this one time I saw a guy that had written "SINGLE" on his. Yeah, those were some wacky times.

Of course, the parties themselves sucked compared to what other (bigger) dot-coms were doing - no caviar, no jumbo-tron screen, no smoke machine, no go-go dancers...but they're still in business though, so I guess that was the right thing to do?

Oh beans, mytalk... (2, Interesting)

dacarr (562277) | more than 10 years ago | (#8414546)

I got one email from them. A friend sent me one, it was a 2 MB .wav file over a dialup. Lovely. And they wouldn't accept a response by MP3.

Things I miss are the sites where you could get free webspace to do whatever with, and not have to fart around with banner ads, popups, etc. Granted that's moot since I have a friend who hosts one of my sites.

Re:Oh beans, mytalk... (1)

Buster Chan (755016) | more than 10 years ago | (#8417409)

I used MyTalk to send those .WAVs to my e-mail penpal in England. I'd been talking to her online for years beforehand, and she was happy to finally hear what I sounded like! I still don't have a microphone on my computer, and so MyTalk -- if it still existed -- would still be my only way to record .WAV files of my own voice; it was like my phone's reciever was a personal recording studio for the internet. I used to use a MyTalk generated .WAV as an intro to my web-site, and my friend Josh used MyTalk to record his voice to lay over an audio track on his computer for an interesting little song. MyTalk was a great tool for people who didn't have microphones on their computers.

Re:Oh beans, mytalk... (1)

duffbeer703 (177751) | more than 10 years ago | (#8418718)

I heard that this guy named Alex Bell invented this amazing device called a "telephone". It allows you to talk to people far away!

You might want to invest in one.

Re:Oh beans, mytalk... (1)

Buster Chan (755016) | more than 10 years ago | (#8418905)

You signed up for MyTalk with a computer, and their services were established through computers, but you didn't need a computer to use their services -- all you needed was a phone, because MyTalk was all about adding features to the telephone. On those grounds, I'd moderate your comment "off topic" ... but I won't because I'm happy to have a conversation about this topic. memories are sweet!

Re:Oh beans, mytalk... (1)

lewp (95638) | more than 10 years ago | (#8427873)

And because you already posted so you can't moderate?

I'm just sayin'...

Re:Oh beans, mytalk... (1)

Bluetrust25 (647829) | more than 10 years ago | (#8423987)

Things I miss are the sites where you could get free webspace to do whatever with, and not have to fart around with banner ads, popups, etc. Granted that's moot since I have a friend who hosts one of my sites.

My company, SurveyComplete [] , sponsors a service called AloofHosting [] which provides free webspace to people. Signups don't get to do anything they want with the space, it is understood that users are meant to host a website, and not use it as a file-server, but for the most part people seem pretty happy. It's also partially supported by a 2-line text ad placed in the footer of each webpage. So it's not really "free" as in without obligations, but it's very mild when compared with the popups and banners enforced on users of other "free" webpage services.

On the plus side, users do get 50MB of diskspace and 500MB of transfer a month. It's really a pretty good service, reminiscent of GeoCities before they placed the floating G on every page.

Priceline... groceries (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8414852)

I know a lot of people didn't like it, but I loved it. You picked out your groceries online but not the brand, and placed a bid. If your bid was accepted, you got the grocery at that discount rate. Then, you went to the store, picked out items from your list, and paid with your priceline card. The only thing I didn't like was that you had to keep your items seperate from normal stuff in checkout, and pay twice.

It also didn't hurt that their web code had a bug where you could always get the super-low-price tokens.

Re:Priceline... groceries (1)

CMiYC (6473) | more than 10 years ago | (#8422550)

Webwarehouse or something like that is what it was called. They did the same service for gas...

I loved both of these while I was in college. Each month when I got paid I bought $50-100 in gas (depending on how much I had left) and then did my groccery shopping. I got to the point where I knew which items my Meijer did and didn't have ... I thought it was great... especially since I could get the charge in right on payday and then go shopping when I got around to it.

I was really said to see it shutdown (especially the gas side of it.)

Re:Priceline... groceries (1)

syntax (2932) | more than 10 years ago | (#8424271)

A weird thing with priceline was that they never actually did any checking or accounting with the groceries thing. I think this is eventually what put her under. I occasionally when using the service would get an alternate brand if the brand I 'won' was out of stock, and noticed that the card never really cared.

Well, my friend's mom noticed too. She would reguarly just put ALL of her groceries on her priceline card. She'd charge things priceline's website didn't even offer, like lobsters, to the card, and she never got charged from it. Even when priceline groceries went under and refunded you what you hadn't spend no groceries, she never got a bill or anything.

It was fun while it lasted.

Some guy in a suit dot com (5, Funny)

jonesvery (121897) | more than 10 years ago | (#8414907)

My favorite dot com service was "some guy in a suit dot com."

As I recall, this service started up in 1997 or so. Some guy in a suit knocked on my door and said, "I hear that you know about this 'internet' thing -- I'll leave a big sack of money outside the door of your apartment every two weeks if you'll show up at my office for a couple of hours each day and sit there playing video games."

After that, about every three months or so a different guy in a suit (at least I think it was a different guy) would knock on my door and say, "I hear that you know about this 'internet' thing, and I also hear that there's still room for more sacks of money in your apartment; if you'll show up at my office for a couple of hours each day, and tell me that 'the rules have changed,' and that I 'don't get it,' I'll leave a bigger sack of money outside your door every two weeks.

I guess their their funding dried up or something.

My favourite Dot-com memory (3, Funny)

highwindarea (732127) | more than 10 years ago | (#8415088)

Reasonable chances of getting an job in IT .... that didn't require mocing to India.

Ricochet. (3, Interesting)

torpor (458) | more than 10 years ago | (#8415538)

Had a 128kb/s Ricochet Wireless modem, man that thing was sweet. Anywhere in LA, I could get on the 'net as fast as my home connection (128k partial T1) ... at the time, that was pretty trick.

Had some great times in Griffith Park with that modem... so suck that they went under and couldn't manage their network, because it was huuuge to have wireless connectivity like that.

Not really a service but a hiuge bottom line build (4, Interesting)

adzoox (615327) | more than 10 years ago | (#8416728)

I used to take advantage of's outreageous specials and free shipping deals. I was listing 20 epson printers on eBay a week in the summer of 2000. My price - shipped free overnight - was $50.00 - retail (lowest) for the exact same printer was $149.99. I shipped OVERNIGHT FOR FREE to ebayers. Lots of nice free feedback and profit - I sold them for $75-$90.

When sites were ad driven (as the parent suggests) things were very cheap if you knew how to exploit them right.

Re:Not really a service but a hiuge bottom line bu (1)

duffbeer703 (177751) | more than 10 years ago | (#8418744)

The best was the infamous Hitachi 19" monitor debacle in 98 or 99. I got like 12 $1000 monitors for like $200 with free shipping! My average selling price was like $700... I was in school at the time and that really saved my ass.

I had actually ordered 50, but they refused to ship the entire order... someone started a class action suit and I ended up getting a $60 check last year.

Re:Not really a service but a hiuge bottom line bu (2, Interesting)

Monkelectric (546685) | more than 10 years ago | (#8424611)

Yea remember when had -- free air shipping? I used to order shit from them like a pack of CD-R's, they were rediculously cheap (14$ for a 50 pack), no tax, and they'd arrive the next morning. It was cheaper/easier then driving 9 miles out of my way to the closest best buy.

14$ is STILL a pretty good price for 50cdrs, and this is three years later.

Not really a service but a bottom line builder (1)

adzoox (615327) | more than 10 years ago | (#8425362)

Paypal was another - when they were trying to woo customers - other payment services had to keep up - they all offered some cash referal bonus - I must've earned close to $400 in such bonuses for getting people to sign up for paypal, homepay, ecount, etc etc.

TellMe (2, Interesting)

holland_g (651151) | more than 10 years ago | (#8418834)

Used to make free calls from payphones using TellMe. A couple years later they dropped the payphone capabilities.

You can still use them to get a couple of different services, but cellphone apps today have the same capability.

Now their focus is VoiceXML applications.

Re:TellMe (2, Interesting)

Buster Chan (755016) | more than 10 years ago | (#8418944)

With even rudimentary knowledge of VXML, you can still get away with some awesome stuff on TellMe! I used to use it all the time until their free service stopped being offerred in Canada. You can still access it free in the states, and when Canadians dial the American eight-hundred number (1-800-555-tell), we get a recording that says: "Oh, I'm sorry, but we currently don't offer our services in Canada. But you can still access all of our services, by calling us long-distance at..." -- and then they say the area code, and the number. TellMe survived in ways that MyTalk crumbled. I'll bet TellMe will evolve eventually into way more than what MyTalk was. MyTalk, and many of the other services that people mentioned in this discussion, are good ideas, but they weren't planned perfectly, because they were way ahead of their times. I hope their times come soon...

Re:TellMe (1)

k4_pacific (736911) | more than 10 years ago | (#8418945)

Now their focus is VoiceXML applications

So is this an XML based audio format? Wouldn't that waste a lot of bandwidth?

Re:TellMe (1)

Mr. Slippery (47854) | more than 10 years ago | (#8423280)

So is this an XML based audio format? Wouldn't that waste a lot of bandwidth?

Just in case you're not trolling: no. VoiceXML [] is a language for writing interactive voice applications.

Ahh, the Dot Com Boom, those were the days (2, Interesting)

k4_pacific (736911) | more than 10 years ago | (#8418934)

Boy the way Steve Ballmer said,
Unix now is finally dead,
Windows was king they all said
those were the days.
Didn't need no business plan
so said the investor man
And now the stocks are in the can
Those were the days.
We all ran Windows 98
Blue screens that we had to hate
Gee our Packard Bell ran great
Those were the days
Mr. we can use a man like Linus Torvalds again
Those were the days!

Re:Ahh, the Dot Com Boom, those were the days (1)

Buster Chan (755016) | more than 10 years ago | (#8419003)

OH ... MY ... GOD. I need to use that song in one of the early episodes of my "virtual series" The Creator [] . Dude or dudette, whatever you may be, you MUST record that song to the tune of the theme of ALL IN THE FAMILY. The worse singing voice, the better. You wrote it, so you have the copyright -- so what if its lyrics are in this discussion... just freakin' record it now, because I want to buy it!!! (2, Informative)

DrLungoon (705937) | more than 10 years ago | (#8419489)

Groceries! Delivered! To your door! Did everything except put them up for you... *sigh* (1)

AragornSonOfArathorn (454526) | more than 10 years ago | (#8422953)

Groceries! Delivered! To your door! Did everything except put them up for you... *sigh*

You might want to check out Simon Delivers... (1)

BTWR (540147) | more than 10 years ago | (#8424584)

in NYC, it's very popular to use FreshDirect (is this national?). They used to give $50 free with every new account. Now I think you spend $100 and they give you $50 free. (2, Interesting)

BTWR (540147) | more than 10 years ago | (#8424543)

I did their opening promotion - you had to "play" a slot-machine game that came with 25 spins. Instead of cherries and bars, they were banners. Of course, you kept "winning more spins," so it took forever to finish an entire run. I had 25 friends sign up so that I could get a free Palm V (like $300 at the time) - I even signed up 30 just to be sure they wouldn't accuse me of cheating. Sure enough, they did. They would only send automated replies for like 2 weeks - even though I would email them all documented proof of my ~30 signups, until they just stopped replying at all. I sent one last email saying:

"You win. This is my last email I will send you. I have written a report of my experience with you, where you scam college students with the lure of a free Palm pda and then get your exposure, then don't give them their prize. I am planning on sending this to,, Yahoo, MSNBC, etc"

Wouldn't you know it, not 5 minutes later, the VP of the site emailed me. I had my Palm the next week.

Some wakeup call service (2, Funny)

BTWR (540147) | more than 10 years ago | (#8424554)

there was some dotcom for wakeup calls for free. My friend and I used to order them for people we hated in our house in college all the time! It was great! We'd hear a 5AM "Who the f--k keeps calling me?!?!?!?"

that was you?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8434365)

You sir, are WORSE THAN HITLER, and if I ever see you again, I WILL KICK YOUR ASS!!!!! - class A idiots (3, Insightful)

chuckfee (93392) | more than 10 years ago | (#8425070)

This has got to be one of the dumbest moves of all time - selling cars at invoice through dealers who charged a lot more.

Basically, you could go to, select
your car, and then they'd sell it to you. You'd
deal with a local car dealer (or they'd truck it to you on a flatbed truck)

I wanted a 1999 civic lx. Cheap, reliable transportation (especially when buying said vehicle at invoice) I had recently been in
an accident and my old car was a total loss. This
was in august/september of '99.

A week or so later, the supply of '99 civics has dried up. They offer to sell me a 2000 civic at '99 invoice price (about $500 below 2000 invoice) if I wait for a month. Since I'm driving a rental courtesty of the idiot who totalled my last car I take the deal.

About a month later (early october I think) I get
a call from the dealer telling me my car is ready. I get there are check it out. We go in to sign the paperwork. I ask about the whole deal.

The dealer person says that they don't know the whole story, but a check arrived in the mail. She pulls the check out. It's from and it's for about $2300.00. They basically gave
me a free downpayment on my car. I asked if I could make a copy of the check. I framed it and posted it in my office.

The moral of the story?

Losing money on every sale but making it up in volume probably isn't a good idea, especially when you are losing $thousands per sale.

Still, it was a sweet deal for me. The free TiVo I
got at networld+interop in may of 2000 was also a nice runner up. These were the glory days of N+I with a private party every night in vegas.


Pointcast (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8426464)

Years ago, there was this company called Pointcast (who knows, maybe they still exist). They were all about the push technology. They had a program that let you select all sorts of news items (among other stuff) and it would periodically be updated, so you could open the program and find the latest headlines. It's similar to something like My Yahoo! but I liked the interface much better than today's web-based stuff. Sadly, they decided to change things frequently and ditched the program, and thus I stopped caring about them.

Re:Pointcast (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8433608)

Pointcast... heh. Damn, I killed my share of kittens in Kim Polese's name.

Sunny Delight Scavenger Hunt (1)

RobertB-DC (622190) | more than 10 years ago | (#8432676)

I'd just gotten started surfing the net from work when Sunny Delight [] ran an online promotion. They gave cryptic hints about where to find a hidden bottle of SunnyD on some web site. You'd get a score based on how long it took for you to find the bottle, and the best score got the cool prizes. I won a $20 CDNow gift cert and a T-Shirt.

But better than that was the online community that sprung up. When we discovered that SunnyD was using banner ads from a single source, I compiled a JavaScript application to automatically generate BurstNet banner ads with every possible serial number. We pushed the limits of 1996 search engine technology doing reverse lookups on the bottle image filename. Other coders found creative ways around HTTP-REFERER when SunnyD caught on to our "creative" techniques. I learned the joys and pitfalls of message board moderation -- skills I still use today.

I guess the thing I miss from those days that's not available now is the sense of discovery. The 'net (or at least the www part) was new, and we (the searchers as well as the SunnyD admins) were exploring its limits.

For the curious, check out the Sunny D entry in this online Trophy Case [] . It's about 3/4 of the way down the page. (1)

CarrionBird (589738) | more than 10 years ago | (#8433348)

I remember reading suck on the old 486's in the back of the IT dept at my univ. while waiting for tech support calls. We were offering free ethernet access in the dorm rooms, and only had a few takers. Those were the days.... (1)

sulli (195030) | more than 10 years ago | (#8434522) is missed. The archive is still up - and at the original domain name, [] even though the owner (Carl) could easily sell it to a porn site for a pretty penny.

The list (2, Interesting)

Animats (122034) | more than 10 years ago | (#8442407)

I maintained Deathwatch, the list of doomed dot-coms [] . It's still up, with the predicted death dates and a current stock chart. Most of the stock charts now say "Chart not available for this symbol", of course.

Wierdly, some of them are still trading. Ziplink [] (ZIPL) is quoted at $0.0001 on NASDAQ. Their web site is still up, although most of the pages are bad links. Their last news item is "ZipLink, Inc. (NASDAQ: ZIPL), a wholesale Internet connectivity provider, today announced that the company plans to suspend its operations effective today, November 17, 2000."

Despite this, the stock is still tradable, and a few people trade it each day.

Re:The list (1)

Random Walk (252043) | more than 10 years ago | (#8451223)

Seems that some of these companies (or at least their stock) have recovered tremenduously during the last year or so. Just look at the Ask Jeeves chart, and imagine how much money you could have made ...

How to screw everyone??? (2, Interesting)

octalgirl (580949) | more than 10 years ago | (#8443547)

I know I am posting this so late, that no one may ever see it - but I just have to say, after reading through the replies - We were basically asked - what was cool, what do you miss about the era, and most of the replies are about how easy it was to screw over a vendor!!!! So many ppl found a way to profit over a vendor's attempt to offer a deal to the customer - buying online then selling it for more on eBay, while having the vendor ship for you?? Getting extra checks and just keeping them? Signing up to browse the web then having a mouse emulator do it for you?? The list goes on. Just one more element to add to the long list of failed business practices that led up to a very fateful economical crash. And some of those very same ppl who did the screwing, are now themselves screwed as they are unemployed, etc. Sheesh!!!

Survival of the fittest (2, Interesting)

quinkin (601839) | more than 10 years ago | (#8448388)

You have a point, but don't really consider the fact that the "customers" (scamming bastards or not) are an intrinsic part of the business environment.

If the business model does not take into account the basic greed, selfishness and cunning of the environment, then it is doomed to failure.

That is not to say that I agree with the actions of the above posters, but it is naive to believe that the companies did not bring it upon themselves.


Good ol' Days (1)

slicenglide (735363) | more than 10 years ago | (#8456525)

Being able to pick off Rocket Soldiers, Heavy Weapon's Guys, and Demoman with my sniper-rifle and a 384 ping in TeamFortress. I still cherish and would gradly accept the memories of getting grounded for playing TeamFortress all night on School nights... Nigh, those were the days. I miss my 28.8 with the upgrade chip to 33.6. I always wanted to learn how to whistle an ATA Handshake.... Dotcom? DotBust damn time of my life. -slicenglide
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