Internet Giants That Are No More
Updated: Mar 19
The following is an article “Internet Giants That Are No More”
by Marc Primo.
Why is being first not enough? What happened to the tech giants that went viral first?
Back in the 90's the internet was beaming with potential but we had yet not understood how it would ultimately change society.
Years before Google YouTube Netflix and Facebook ruled the web many tech giants came out with their proposals and were expected to take over the world. Instead, they are either gone or are just a shadow of the giants they once were.
For the first mass users of the internet, AOL was your gateway to the digital highway. Floppy disks came in the mail, and you installed a slew of software that allowed you to interact with the digital world. AOL handled your email instant messages, and it was your news source and home page. AOL seemed to be for many the only way to use the internet for a long time. The main problem with the company was their tactics to retain customers involved making it near to impossible to get out of your paid subscription and even after you managed to stop paying getting rid of the software was another considerable ordeal. Instead of changing and growing with the trends they tried to force their customer base to continue using the internet the way they saw fit.
KAZAA & Napster
The first of the rebels. These guys worked in and around a grey area. Claiming to represent true freedom these services would allow users to share music video and pictures with hundreds and thousands free of cost. Copyright issues had not yet been pointed out, and for many years everyone used the services guilt and consequence-free. Of course, nowadays you can still illegally download anything you want online, but you must take several precautions to avoid legal consequences. The scenario has changed.
The first social network. According to the Guardian, ''Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation bought Myspace in 2005 for $580m. In 2006 Google signed a $900m deal to sell ads on Myspace; by 2007 it had 300m registered users and was being valued at $12bn.'' Only to be outdone by Facebook. A company that launched a full year later. Myspace was sold again to an internet ad company for a mere 35 million dollars. As Facebook users piled on Myspace seemed to keep dropping and with the users gone so did the ad deals and market value.
If you didn't use AOL to access the web chances are you used Yahoo. News videos games yahoo was doing everything at once, and without much competition, it was doing great. The tech giant tried to do too much at once and ended up with low-quality complicated services. Google came out with a simple alternative, and the rest of the internet kept giving the users more and more choices. Let us say it was an uphill battle for Yahoo.
Back in the day, it was nearly impossible to find out what your high school buddies were up too. Before Facebook keeping in touch with family and old friends was harder than you might think. This is where friends reunited came in to save the day. As more and more ways to connect with others launched, the service died out as an essential tool.
Once bigger than Google, Jeeves retired in 2006, but Ask.com is still around Changing its function to a questions and answers website. It is still the 6th most prominent web property in the US with 90 million monthly users. But will this model work in the long run? For how long will we need others to answer our questions directly? The flow of information keeps growing, and ease of access seems to be the norm.