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Long before Facebook and Twitter, well before even Friendster and MySpace, before the first dotcom bubble burst, in the eons before Google was a glint in anyone’s eye, there was the first web. In comparison to everything that’s come after it, you could call it Web 1.0 or perhaps even just “the dark ages.” But for anyone born before, say, 1990, this was the dawn of our now-ubiquitous digital world. But as the digital giants of yesteryear have been replaced by the now-ubiquitous Facebook and Google, how many are still in play now?
The last 20 years of web history are a fascinating look at today’s biggest companies and yesterday’s biggest has-beens. Some imploded. Others were sold or merged. Some faded quietly away, and others are still quietly chugging along, making money — not Apple money, but enough — for someone somewhere. Here’s a run-down of the fates of a dozen of the biggest names from twenty years ago.
Lycos, like AltaVista and Excite, was another of the search-engine-cum-web-portals that vied to be everyone’s homepage in the early 90s, when consumers first started pouring onto the web. However, unlike many of the others, it did the early on buying-up of smaller properties, rather than being bought, and is still — after several changes of hands — in business today.
Ended: Still in operation
Began as: Lycos, a search engine and web portal
Currently: Lycos, a search engine, web portal, and internet company based in India
“Lycos became the first Internet search engine to go public yesterday, ending the day with a market value of almost $300 million and demonstrating to investors that Internet stocks are still the hot ticket on Wall Street.” CNet, April 3, 1996.
“While the tech press likes to constantly move on to the next big thing, seemingly irrelevant names like Lycos keep quietly chugging along as apparently viable businesses. Under relatively new ownership, Lycos seems keen to make that push back to mainstream relevance in 2013, and we’ll be keeping an eye on its new search product to see how it fares.” The Next Web, December 27, 2012