10 big internet names that have fallen

We run down the 10 big net players who didn’t make it.

Affiliate marketing schemes are prevalent across the internet today, but one of the earliest examples and a real pathfinder for the idea fell long before it could realise its potential.

The idea of Beenz was to create an internet currency, something that troubled authorities across the world struggled to weigh up, and thus instantly caused legal problems. The idea was that you picked up Beenz by visiting assorted partner sites, and those could then eventually be converted into items of value on those sites who supported it. The value of Beenz in different countries could fluctuate, too.

Again, though, this was an example of too much too soon. And as the bubble burst, Beenz went with it. Despite being sold to new owners, it soon fizzled out, taking nearly $100 million of capital investment with it.

AltaVista

The AltaVista names lives on, but it's certainly not the cutting edge search engine that it once was. One of a clutch of similar services that were ultimately trampled under the feet of Google, AltaVista at one point was the most popular search engine on the internet, with tens of millions of visitors a day.

But the competition came, and it proved to be fierce. And while the website and name are still around, it's now running Yahoo's search engine underneath a marked contrast to the time when it provided the search technology to Yahoo itself.

Lycos Europe

Many big web names of the late 90s struggled to adapt to the fast-changing habits of users, and Lycos falls firmly into that category.

At one time, it was one of the most popular portals and search engines in the world, and yet for a name that was at one time ahead of the competition, it now lags some way behind. As such, earlier this year it shut down the Lycos Europe operation and the services contained within it, leaving behind such a search engine in its place. Lycos.com still remains, yet is failing to give the dominant Google much in the way of a headache.

CDNow

For some time, CDNow was one of the planet's most popular music retailers, with the American site earning itself customers across the globe. It held off competition from the likes of Music Boulevard, and proved to be ahead in its thinking when it offered the likes of music samples long before anyone else. And yet at the turn of the millennium it started to hit cash problems, and a proposed merger with Columbia House fell through.

In the interim, Amazon who had snared a slice of the market away from CDNow bought the form, and ultimately redirected the business to its own. The site's founders incidentally, Jason and Matthew Olim, penned a book about the site's rise back in 1999 (ISBN: 978-0966103267).

Yahoo! and Amazon Auctions

Back before eBay pretty much exclusively owned the online auction marketplace, Amazon went toe to toe with it in an attempt to snare a share of the market for itself. It invested advertising dollars, built the functionality into its site, and yet people simply wouldn't come.

Yahoo faced the same problem, and while the pair had successes in one or two territories, the simple fact was that neither could match eBay's numbers, which quickly cantered ahead. Yahoo's service now only runs in Hong Kong, Taiwan and Japan, with the US and UK operations closed down. Amazon also stopped allowing new listings on its service, instead concentrating on its far more popular Marketplace.

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