Web’s Worst Internet Startup Fails of All Times

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]If we dug into the data on internet’s startups that died, we may find a list of names reminding us that startups for anyone can be a risky business. You can easily judge by yourself that sometime even millions of dollars cannot save a startup in free fall.


1. Lastminute.com:

Year of Birth: 1998

Year of Demise: Purchased By Sabre Holdings in 2005

CEO: Matthew Crummack

Founded By: Martha Lane Fox and Brent Hoberman

This website was best known for its sale of vacant rooms and undersold flights. This website earned a value of 768 million pounds roughly $1,238,937,600 on its first day in London Stock Exchange and kept all the big US companies under its influence over the next six months. But it remained in the limelight for its extreme earnings for just a year then the company’s stock price fell 90% and never gained that height. In 2005, it was purchased by the parent company of Travelocity named as Sabra Holdings.


2. Startups.com:

Year of Birth: 1998

Year of Demise: 2002

CEO: Donna Jensen

Founded By: Donna Jensen

This company was founded for helping businesses for the purchase of office space. It was based in Silicone valley and had offices in Boston and New York. During the dot-com bubble, startups.com collaborated with other startup companies for setting offices and focus on their core business. It’s clients included Google, eVite, GuruNet and Epinions. But with the Bubble burst, its clients base shrunk and they never stood up straight again.


3. Pixelon:

Year of Birth: 1998

Year of Demise: 2000

CEO: David Kim Stanley

Founded By: David Kim Stanley

Pixelon was founded on the basis of provision of a better quality video on the internet but it was later discovered that the company was using technologies that were fake or misrepresented. The founder of the company was using “Micheal Fenne” as another name for himself and was invovled in stock scams. It made expenditures of US$16 million on its product launch which made it clear that the company was a fruad.


4. Procket Networks:

Year of Birth: 1999

Year of Demise:  Acquired By Cisco Systems 2004

CEO: Randell Kruep

Founded By: Dr. Shahrad Mehrotra, Dr. Bill Lynch and Dr. Tony Li.

This company raised itself close to $300M in 2002 as the router startup company. Upended unexpectedly by Cisco and Juniper Networks, the company’s property was acquired by Cisco for less than $100 million in the year 2004.


5. eToys:

Year of Birth: 1997

Year of Demise: 2001

CEO: Barry Gold

Founded By: Frank Han

The eToys.com started as a retail website for selling toys over the internet. During the end of the dot-com boom, the company went under bankruptcy and shifted in the hands of different owners. In February 2009, it was finally purchased by Toy “R” Us.


6. Broadcast.com:

Year of Birth: 1995

Year of Demise: Acquired By Yahoo! in 1999

CEO: Todd Wagner

Founded By: Cameron Christopher Jaeb

This company was founded for broadcasting radio over the web and gained immense popularity with record IPO. This startup company made its founders overnight billionaire. Yahoo took over the company in 1999 for $5.7 billion and since then its working under its banner.


7. Pointcast:

Year of Birth: 1996

Year of Demise: 2000

CEO: David Dorman

Founded By: Christopher R. Hassett

This website’s initial products were screensavers that were used for displaying news and other related information over the internet. This website was known to use the “Push technology” and launched itself in Beta form in 1996. It was purchased for $7 million before shutting down.


8. Pseudo:

Year of Birth: 1994

Year of Demise: 2001

CEO: Josh Harris

Founded By: Josh Harris

This company was founded for live audio and video webcasting under the name of Jupiter Interactive by Josh Harris. Pseudo Programme provided the online net-television entertainment and became an important part of the press mentionaings. In 2001 Pseudo’s assets were all taken by INTV and the founder claimed it as a fake company.


9. Kibu:

Year of Birth:1999

Year of Demise: 2000

CEO: Judy MacDonal

Founded By: Jim Clark

This company was one of the companies that just had a catchy name and were launched with very undefined business strategies. It was founded to catch the attention of teen girls but the Silicone Valley high rollers withdrew their investment, this company lost its power to even survive in the marketplace.


10. PlanetRX:

Year of Birth: 1998

Year of Demise: 2001

CEO: William J. Razzouk

Founded By: Micheal Bruner

The PlanetRX started as a pharmacy company but struggled to secure an infusion of capital. It once carried a $290 stock price but then lost more than$120 million in a year. Before closing down for good, the company took necessary steps to sell the company’s assets and distributed the sum of $9 million among its shareholders.


11. Dr. Koop:

Year of Birth: 1999

Year of Demise: 2001

CEO: Donald Hackett

Founded By: Dr. C. Everett Koop

Founded by the American pediatric surgeon, this startup company was a self diagnostic website. With an overwhelming response, its earnings rose over $50 a share within no time. But it lost its significance after the bubble burst and started loosing its investors. It was sold for less than $200K after bearing many losses.


12. MySpace:

Year of Birth: 2003

Year of Demise: Present

CEO: Tim Vanderhook

Founded By: Chris DeWolfe and Tom Anderson

MySpace was established as a social networking site for friends, personal profiles, blogs, groups and photos. News Corporation purchased this company for over $500 million in 2003. Although this site was revamped many times but it kept on experiencing a continuous drop in its users.


13. Freeinternet.com:

Year of Birth: 1998

Year of Demise: 2000

CEO: Robert McCausland

Founded By: Robert McCausland

This company started as a free internet service provider in 1998 and was acquired by United Online in 2000 which relaunched the website in 2008 for providing free and discounted offers. But this company lost nearly 20 times in a year and was then forced to shut down.


14. Bolt Media:

Year of Birth: 1996

Year of Demise: 2007

CEO: Aaron Cohen

Founded By: Dan Pelson, Lee Morgenroth, David Cancel, Jane Mount

Bolt Media was started as a social networking as well as a video website in 1996. It got popular among teenagers and reopened in 2007. But due to copyrights violations it leaded to bankruptcy and was shifted in the hands of new owners in 2008. Although it operated successfully during a short time but finally went offline in 2008.


15. Blue Mountain:

Year of Birth: 1996

Year of Demise: 2001


Founded By: Susan Polis Schutz

Blue Mountain was established as an online postcard and greeting card website. Created by using the digital media and was considered environmentally friendly as paper was not used as an end product. The company was sold for $35M to other owners.


16. Value America:

Year of Birth: 1996

Year of Demise: 2000

CEO: Craig Winn

Founded By: Craig Winn and Rex Scatena

This company was basically established to directly connect customers with the manufacturers in the online market. It was intended to provide better prices and faster shipping without the intervention of any middleman. Getting the orders on the value America’s website, these were transmitted directly to the manufacturers. The manufacturers on getting the orders would then pack the products shipping them directly to the customers. With lack of traditional supply chain and missed orders with delayed shipments, the company went bankrupt and was forced to shut down with stock prices falling to $0.72.


17. Digital Convergence:

Year of Birth: 1999

Year of Demise:  2001


Founded By: J. Hutton Pulitzer

A cat shaped handheld barcode reader was developed by Digital Convergence Corporation in the year 2000. The CueCat was connected to computers and communicated to CRQ software running in Windows on desktops. This barcode reader was criticized by Walter Mossberg in The Wall Street Journal as

“In order to scan codes from magazines and newspapers, you have to be reading them infront of your PC. That’s unnatural and ridiculous”.


Even though this was available for free, the device was not considered a good solution for problems and was widely described as an open failure.


18. Micro Stratygy:

Year of Birth: 1989

Year of Demise:  N/A

CEO: Micheal Saylor

Founded By: Micheal Saylor

This software company was a provider of Business intelligence, mobile software and cloud based services. Physically located in Washington, this company used to serve worldwide. In order to make business decisions and mobile applications, this company created software to analyse the internal and external data. In the year 2000, MicroStratygy’s shares reduced from $226.75 to $86.75 and beard a collective loss of $11 billion in a day.


19. Digiscents Inc:

Year of Birth: 1999

Year of Demise: 2011

CEO: Joseph Deutsch

Founded By: Dexter Smith and Joel Bellenson

A personal scent synthesizer  in the form of iSmell for computers was developed by Joseph Deutsch. This peripheral device when connected to a computer through USB used to emit various odours when a user visited a web page. But in 2006 this product was listed as one of the “25 Worst Tech Products of All Times” and the company closed down in 2011.


20. Nupedia:

Year of Birth: 2000

Year of Demise: 2003

Ceo: N/A

Founded By: Jimmy Wales

An English language based encyclopaedia on the internet was developed by Jimmy Wales. Nupedia is mostly known as the predecessor of Wikipedia. The articles on Nupedia were volunteered by contributors and each article was required to undergo a seven-step approval process before getting posted. Nupedia was able to post only 25 articles that got approved and complated the review process. As an experiment Jimmy Wales developed Wikipedia by making changes with Nupedia’s ideas and luckily, Wikipedia became more successful.


21. The Learning Company:

Year of Birth: 1980

Year of Demise: 1999

CEO: Jill Barad

Founded By: Ann McCormick, Leslie Grimm, and Teri Perl

The three Phd educaters Ann McCormick, Leslie Grimm and Teri Perl developed this software company in order to enhance the ability to teach different subject to young children and to build their thinking skills. Computer games such as Oregon Trail, Carmen San Diego and the ClueFinder Series were developed for children. Bought for about $3.8 billion by Toy magnet Mattel, the company was sold in less than three years for $27.3M.


22. Lycos:

Year of Birth: 1994

Year of Demise: Stll hanging in there

CEO: Bob Davis

Founded By: Bob Davis

A search engine and web portal was developed by Bob Davis in 1994 that included social networking, webhosting, email and entertainment websites. With a venture capital funding, Lycos was established with $2 million and remained the most visited online platform for few years. Spanish telecommunications Telefoncia acquired it for $12 billion in 2000. Telefoncia is losing more than $11 million per day, for more than three years on their initial investment.


23. Cyber Rebate:

Year of Birth: 1998

Year of Demise: 2001

CEO: Joel Granik

Founded By: Joel Granik

Established in 1998, this company worked as an online retailer. By satisfying customers to pay full rebates on electronics and other items, the company aimed at earning high profits as they assumed that 5% of the customers would forget to apply for their rebate. The company sold various items for 10 times more than the list price but went bankrupt in 2011.


24. Intro Space:

Year of Birth: 1996

Year of Demise: 2007

CEO:  Naveen Jain

Founded By: Naveen Jain

In American Northwest, IntroSpace operated as one of the largest internet companies before the dot-com bubble. Once of worth over $30 billion came under a series of lawsuits and failed to deliver its promises.


25. Caspian Networks:

Year of Birth: 1998

Year of Demise: 2006

CEO: Brad Wurtz

Founded By: Dr. Lawrence Roberts

Using fibre-optic infrastructure, the company planned to provide a wide range of telecommunication services such as broadband, data, SWIFT etc. It promised to provide good quality Telecom router. It started with a venture funding of almost $300 million and had once 300 employees working under one shade. But the company struggled to make a name for itself in the market and after six years of suffering financial losses, it shrank in size and reduced the number of employees to only 100 in the year 2006.


26. North Point Communications:

Year of Birth: 1998

Year of Demise: 2001

CEO: Micheal Malaga

Founded By: Micheal Malaga

The Northpoint Communications company was established to focus on data transmission  and to provide copper phone lines to internet service providers. Verizon made aggrements with this company but backed out of the deal when it saw the staggering condition of the Northpoint Corporation. With a shortage of funds, Northpoint failed to deliver service to customers and closed its network for good in 2001.


27. All Advantage:

Year of Birth: 1999

Year of Demise: 2001

CEO: Jim Jorgenson

Founded By: Jim Gorgenson, Johannes Pohle, Carl Anderson and Oliver Brock

Alladvanatage company was established as an internet advertising company and paid its users a part of the advertising profit that were made online. With a slogan of “Get paid to surf the web” made it very much popular among online users. The site lost its significance because of the poor demographics and realized later that it paid out almost $150 M venture capital to children who searched the internet.


28. Napster:

Year of Birth: 1999

Year of Demise: 2002

CEO: Chris Gorog

Founded By: Shawn Fanning  and Sean Parker

Napster was basically a single name that was allotted to two of the music services on the online platform. The purpose of this site was to share audio files that were encoded in mp3 format. It was acquired by Raxio after it underwent legal difficulties. The company was forced to shut down even though Napster tried to monetize its service by making it subscription based in 2002.


29. I Fusion:

Year of Birth: 1996

Year of Demise: 1997

CEO: Micheal Ricanati

Founded By: Micheal Ricanati

I Fusion was established as world 24 hour cable new channels but due to its low clearance from cable systems, the founder sold the channel to CNN after a year.  The company closed after bearing a debt of $11M and lack of funding in 1997.


30. CDNOW:

Year of Birth: 1994

Year of Demise: 2000

CEO:  Jason Olim

Founded By:  Jason Olim and Mathew Olim

Established by twin brothers Jason Olim and Mathew Olim, this website was launched as a Telnet service in August but became a retail website in September. Started with just three employees under the founder’s parent’s basement, the company expanded to 55 employees and shifted to Penllyn, Pennsylvania. But after some times it came under financial difficulties and was sold to Amazon.


31. GovWorks:

Year of Birth: 1998

Year of Demise: 2000

CEO: Kaleil Isaza Tuzman

Founded By: Kaleil Isaza Tuzman and Tom Herman

This website was basically established to provide help to government in tracking contracts and purchasing functions. It became an internet web portal with the internet expansion. The website was aimed at providing a platform that can allow citizens to access, apply and pay for city services. But the software company was built with undefined strategies so after three years, it closed down with $60M in venture capital


32. The Globe:

Year of Birth: 1994

Year of Demise: 2008

CEO: Stephan Paternot

Founded By: Stephan Paternot and Todd Krizelman

The internet startup was established as a social networking site. The two founders spent months on programming their primary website and secured salaries in excess of $100,000 and revenue shares sales upto $500,000 each. But after popularity they started behaving like immatures and went under lawsuits due to their indecent behaviour. In 2008, the company went offline for good.


33. e. Digital Corporation:

Year of Birth: 1998

Year of Demise: N/A

CEO: Alfred H. Falk

Founded By: Elwood “Woody” Norris

Based in San Diego, California, this company was one of the traded companies.  It kept on bleeding money throughout its 22 working years. They incurred significant losses and negative cash flows and its ability to grow as a strong business went in doubt.


34. Nortel Networks:

Year of Birth: 1998

Year of Demise: 2000

CEO: Frank Dunn

Founded By: John Roth

This website started working as a multinational telecommunications and data networking equipment manufacturer in Canada. It grew till a stage when it employed 60,000 people and $400 billion in the market capital but with the wave of dot-com startups failure, the company started loosing cash. Losing almost 99% of its market capital, it closed down in the year 2000.


35. Megaupload:

Year of Birth:2005

Year of Demise:2012

CEO: Finn Batato

Founded By: Kim Scmitz

This company’s assets were seized by the US Department of Justice do to its wrongdoings.  The owner of this site got arrested for allegedly working as a corporation that was aimed at copyright infringement. The owner of the company was reported to be living an extremely lavish life in a $24M home in New Zealand. The US government froze $40M of company’s assets.


36. Think Tools AG:

Year Of Birth: 1993

Year of Demise: 2004


Founded By: Albrecht Von Muller

This Swiss IT company gained its peak and fell to the ground with the dot-com bubble crash. A consultancy company was founded by the philosopher Albrecht Von Muller. The company promised to develop software tools that can play a central role in transferring the world into a knowledge economy. But the company’s share started to be overhauled due to charges for plagiarism. The company suffered losses for a complete whole year and was sold to redIT AG in 2004.


37. Netscape:

Year of Birth: 1994

Year of Demise: 2007

CEO: Jim Barksdale

Founded By: Jim Clark & Marc Andreessen

Netscape started as an American computer service company and was best known for its internet browser. The company developed JavaScript and its IPO rose from $28 o more than $75 on its trading for the first time. It occupied a big part of the user’s share on the internet once but lost its significance during the browser war with falling of 90% of its user’s share. On November4, 1998 America Online (AOL) announced for Netscape acquisition for over $4 billion. AOL disbanded Netscape on July 15, 2003 and laid-off most of its programmers and taken off the logo from its building.


38. [email protected]:

Year of Birth: 1999

Year of Demise: 2001

CEO: Tom Jermoluk

Founded By: Williom Randolph Hearst III and John Doerr

The two internet companies Excite and @Home Network merged in 1999. The $6.7 merger was one of the greatest merger of that times and were named as [email protected] It became one of the biggest internet service providers with over 1000 employees working for it. Its stock share rose to $100 per share and continued to operate till the bubble burst. In 2004 it was acquired by Ask Jeeves who promised to reintroduce Excite and iWon but failed to do so.


39. Beenz:

Year of Birth: 1998

Year of Demise: 2002

CEO: Philip Letts

Founded By: Charles Cohen

Beenz website was a startup company that was established with a crazy idea to develop some kind of online currency that could be spent with only online merchants. This currency could be used for shopping online and logging on through an internet service provider. It went to a peak level and built its offices in 12 countries. The company was later sold to a US based Carlson Marketing Group in 2001 but the business struggled to service and finally shuts down.


40. Webvan:

Year of Birth: 1999

Year of Demise: 2001

CEO: George Shaheen

Founded By: Louis Borders

Webvan was started as a credit and delivery service for grocery business and promised to deliver products to customers within thirty minutes. But the company suffered lack of cash due to its spending that rose more than sales growth. The company went bankrupt in 2001 and donated all non-perishable food to local food banks.


41. Go.com:

Year of Birth: 1999

Year of Demise: Ceased Search engine operations in 2001


Founded By: Jeff Gold

Operated by Disney Interactive, this website served as a web portal and included content from ABC News and ESPN. Most of the internet users preferred search engines and this platform appeared useless. Developed by Jef Gold, this site became popular on the web for a short period but then most of its employees were laid of by Disney announced to close down the Go.com.


42. Kozmo:

Year of Birth: 1998

Year of Demise:  2001

CEO:  Joseph Park

Founded By: Joseph Park and Yong Kang

This company was started with venture capital funding and promised to deliver videos, DVDs, basic care, magazines and even food with one hour. But the founders never anticipated that transporting even smaller goods will make them struggle hard. It did become popular among college students and young professionals for delivery free of cost.  But the company failed to survive after the dot-com bubble and was forced to close down.


43. Exodus:

Year of Birth: 1994

Year of Demise: 2001

CEO: Ellen Hancock

Founded By: K.B Chandrasekhar and B.V. Jagadeesh

This company was established as the first to offer collocation and enterprise-level web hosting services. This California based company rose from $0.00 to over $37 billion in monetary values. It was once known for providing high quality internet services and rapidly started acquiring dot-com companues on a global level. With the bubble burst, Exodus suffered unpaid bills on behalf of its customers and went bankrupt. Cable and Wireless (USA)- division acquired this bunkrupted company for $800 million and merged it with smaller operations.


44. GeoCities:

Year of Birth: 1999

Year of Demise: Closed in US in 2009

CEO: Tom Evans

Founded By: David Bohnett and John Rezner

Another web hosting service that was originally established by David Bohnett and John Rezner in 1994 but was acquired by Yahoo in 1999. At that time it was considered the best web hosting service as it allowed its users to create their personal web pages. From being a most visited webiste in the world, GeoCities stopped working in US and Canada and limited itself just to Japan.


45. Boo.com:

Year of Birth: 1998

Year of Demise: 2000

CEO: Ernst Malmsten

Founded By: Ernst Malmsten, Kajsa Leander and Patrik Hedelin

This British internet company started in 1998 and gained momentum more rapidly then one can imagine, it employed up to 400 emplyees at one time. It used to sell branded fashion clothing to its online users. But Boo.com fell down to the ground due to its terrible user interface which was dependent on JavaScript and Flash. In a short period of less then two years, the company lost almost $200 million and went out of business in the year 2000.


46. America Online:

Year of Birth: 1983

Year of Demise: N/A

CEO: Gerald Levin

Founded By: Steve case and Jim Kimsley

America Online provided provided internet services to millions of Americans during its years of working. It developed and grew to a height of success and became a hot spot for internet services. This platform included a web browser, media player and instant messaging.

In the mid 2000s, AOL lost its significance due to the worst merger in corporate history with Time Warner. Following many practices after the merge made many subscribers and advertisers to leave the group and made the company to bear the loss of $99B. It came under criticism for its terms of service and community policies.


47. Pets.com:

Year of Birth: 1998

Year of Demise: 2000

CEO: Julie Wainwright

Founded By: Greg McLemore

The sock puppet mascot remind most of us a lot about the Pets.com, an enterprise that took the initiative of providing pet supplies to customers. Because of its unique idea, Pets.com got a lot of attention and got promoted by a high profile marketing campaign who give an oppurtunity to the company to mark its presence in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in 1999. But despite being one of its kind, the company’s foundations were not strong enough to make it survive for long. The founder of the company underestimated the shipping costs and marketing expenditure which caused a note worthy failure to it. Within the first fiscal year, the company spent almost $12M just on advertising where as gained revenue of only $700 K.


48. Flooz.com:

Year of Birth:1998

Year of Demise: 2001

CEO: Robert Levitan

Founded By: Robert Levitan

This New York based startup started with an idea of creating a currency that can be used by the online merchants. This product got promoted by a comic actress Whoopi Goldberg but still it did not get much appreciation. Its online community remained limited to few of the customers and online merchants. This company was struggling to survive when it got accused by the FBI that Russian credit car thieves were invovled in laundering cash through this site. That was the major blow for Flooz.com which made it worthless and forced its doors to close


49. JDS Uniphase:

Year of Birth: 1999

Year of Demise: Still active

CEO: Thomas H. Waechter

Founded By: Jozef Straus

This company was formed with the merger between two optic-fibre companies, Uniphase Corporation and JDS Fitel. Its stock prices nearly doubled during the early 2000 and made its employees earn money that landed them into millionaire categories. After the bubble burst, JDS stock fell from $153 per share to a little above $2 per share. It unemployed its workforce from 29,000 employees to approximately 5,300 and got many of its factories and facilities closed down. The company was reported to bear a loss of $56 billion.


50. WorldCom:

Year of Birth: 1983

Year of Demise: Files for bankruptcy in2002

CEO: Bernard Ebbers

Founded By: Bernerd Ebbers

Originally started as a telecommunication corporation, it merged with MCI Communications Corporations and became MCI WorldCom. The company grew quickly in the 1990s and its CEO became extremely wealthy with the increasing stock prices. With many accounting scandals, the CEO Bernerd Ebbers was sentenced an imprisonment of 25 years.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Written by Hisham Sarwar


That is all you ever need to know about me but let me warn you, freelancing for me is a journey, certainly not a destination :)