December 2, 2022

The dream of the 1990s internet is still there, if you look in the right corner.

More than 17 million Americans regularly use MapQuest, one of the first digital mapping sites to be overtaken by Google and Apple, according to research firm Comscore.Go.com, the internet portal of the internet age, shut down 20 years ago, but its ghost lives on in ‘Go’ Partial URL for some Disney website.

Ask Jeeves is a web search engine that started before Google and still has fans and people typing “Ask Jeeves” into Google searches.

You might laugh at AOL, but it’s still the 50th most popular website in the US according to SimilarWeb. The virtual world of Second Life in the early 2000s never went away, and now have a second life As an original virtual world brand.

Some one-time internet stars have stayed online much longer than we expected, suggesting that it is possible to carve out a life online long after stars have faded.

“These are pretty much all cockroach brands,” said Ben Schott, a branding and advertising columnist for Bloomberg Opinion. “They are small enough and resilient enough not to be killed.”

Probably not compared to hurried mistakes seem be a compliment. But there is something soothing about the pioneers who shaped the early internet, lost its cool and dominance, and eventually carved out a niche. They’ll never be as popular or powerful as they were a generation ago, but moldy internet brands may still have a fruitful purpose.

These brands have managed to stay alive through inertia, nostalgia, the fact that they make products people love, digital monetization power and the quirkiness of a crumbling internet. If internet giants like Facebook and Pinterest also lose relevance today, they could persist for decades.

System1, which owns sites like MapQuest and HowStuffWorks, has a strategy of attracting people to its collection of digital assets through advertising or other techniques, turning them into loyal users and earning money from their clicks or other sales. This is a far cry from the early 2000s’ web strategy of turning “eyeballs” into revenue.

Michael Blend, CEO and co-founder of System1, said his company spent money on Internet advertising to lure people to MapQuest and improved the map functionality.A feature added since System1 Buy MapQuest from Verizon In 2019, couriers can plan long routes with multiple stops.

Blend said Gen X nostalgia or online marketing might convince people to try MapQuest once or twice, but the company wants to make the site useful enough that they come back often. He also said that more than half of the people who use MapQuest are so young that they probably didn’t even know about it in its heyday.

Blend is proud that MapQuest has lasted this long. “There are a lot of Internet brands that come and go, and you’ll never hear from them again,” he told me.

I don’t have a good explanation for the resilience of some internet properties in the 1990s. People are searching for Ask Jeeves, even though it’s owned by internet group IAC/InterActiveCorp, In 2005, the English housekeeper name was abandoned and Give up trying to compete with Google Search more than ten years ago. The site, now called Ask.com, is primarily a compilation of entertainment and celebrity news.

A spokesman for Disney, which once owned the Go.com Internet portal, did not explicitly explain why some of the company’s Internet sites still have Go’s fingerprints. (onion a few years ago Laugh at Disney for this.) Generally speaking, a website today is usually built on the remnants of the old internet, like a modern mansion built on the foundation of a 19th century residence.

Short mentioned something that I can’t forget. When a once beloved restaurant chain or industrial plant collapses, the typical public response is to grieve for what people have lost, he said. But when Internet properties such as Yahoo and Myspace decline or die, they are often dismissed as a joke, Short said.

“There’s a weird kind of schadenfreude when tech companies fail, and I don’t think that happens in other industries,” he said. “I’m not sure what that was about.”

Maybe this is starting to change. Nostalgia came when Microsoft retired its 27-year-old Internet Explorer web browser this month. As the internet age progresses—and those of us who remember its early days are getting older—we may be more excited about what happened before.


  • China’s concerns about its citizens: A New York Times investigation found that Chinese authorities’ surveillance is broader than previously understood. Police need facial recognition cameras where people eat and shop, even in private spaces like residential buildings and hotels. Authorities are buying equipment to build large databases of iris scans and DNA. My colleagues report that the goal is “to maximize the state’s understanding of a person’s identity, activities, and social relationships, ultimately helping the government maintain its authoritarian rule.”

    Watch the video survey here.

  • Complaints about bait and switch: Small business owners say Google got them hooked on the company’s free custom email and other workplace software, and now they’re finding themselves asking for payment in one process. “I feel like it’s an unnecessary little thing,” one business owner told my colleague Nico Grant.

  • Other car companies are also envious of Tesla: Established automakers like Ford want to sell more cars directly to online buyers, like Tesla. One problem: Laws in many states require cars to be sold through dealerships, Paul Stenquist writes for The New York Times.

greet puppy in cart.


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