Millions of websites have had to go through hell and back to survive long enough to reach profitability, but there is an elite list of websites that have managed to survive and prosper through the past decade and beyond. The things they went through dwarf any issues that their more recent counterparts have had to face.
It wasn’t easy by any means for these sites though. From the dot-com bubble to the economic recession, the web has, at times, been plagued with turmoil that would make most website owners pack up shop. But, by luck or by design, the following have managed to keep their business going and, in many cases, growing.
Before there was ever this thing called Wikipedia, there was About.com, which came about in 1997. It differs from Wikipedia in that the site hires knowledgeable employees — called “Guides” — in their respective subject matter who are responsible for creating, publishing, and maintaining content. It might be considered a bit too closed minded for some in today’s open-information society, but The New York Times certainly didn’t mind when they acquired it for $410 million a few years ago. The wealth of information that this site has produced is nothing less than impressive.
Amazon was founded in 1994 with the Amazon.com domain going live in 1995. Going against the norm, Amazon’s founders did not expect profitability from the company for four to five years after its creation, which probably caused some investors to wet their pants. But now that the retail giant has survived the dot-com bubble and is the number-one online retailer of goods, those investors are enjoying the good times. Still, it will be interesting to see how Amazon copes with rising competition from other retailers.
3. Ask (Jeeves)
Created in 1996, Ask Jeeves — now Ask.com — was one of the most prominent search engines that focused on answering questions asked in natural language. It certainly did have it’s prime-time in the past. In 2005, “Jeeves” was phased out of the company image, and the brand was repackaged as Ask.com. The site has never reached the popularity of the other big search engines like Google and Yahoo, but it has survived amidst that heavy-hitting competition and should be commended for it.
Buy.com came to life in 1997 with the goal of selling electronics and computer equipment online, but it has grown substantially from its early beginnings and now sells a myriad of goods on the cheap. Unfortunately, the company’s track record isn’t flawless and a few problems with the company’s practices has put them in the hot seat. Still, the company pushes on, but one must wonder if they can last much longer.
Established in 1993, CNet.com was the place to go throughout the ‘90s and early ‘00s for tech news, reviews, and information. Still a powerhouse of content, CNET Networks was recently acquired by CBS Media and is making a push to reestablish itself as a centerfold for technology information on the Web. With the backing of CBS, the site probably has nothing to worry about for the foreseeable future.
Since 1995, millions have been buying and selling stuff on Ebay, the website that has enabled millions to buy and sell items in online auctions. Nowadays, there are far more ways to make transactions on Ebay that have deviated from the site’s roots, but that has only served to spur on the site’s growth. To this day, no other competition has managed to steal the spotlight from them.
Founded in 1998, Google is the most successful company out of all the ones recognized in this list, and it just so happens to have one of the most popular websites throughout the entire Internet with Google.com. It’s amazing how this page’s simplicity has changed so little throughout the 12+ years that it has been in existence, but if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
Founded in 1999, Monster.com was on the forefront of websites that assist job hunters. It allowed people from all over to post their resumes and receive job offers, and it truly was a great service. Unfortunately, the site is showing its age and there are plenty of questions over the relevance the site has in today’s ever-changing job market. The domain name itself is just awesome!
Since 1997, people have been getting great deals with the big ‘O’ of Overstock.com. It has had its times of increased popularity, particularly through the mid ’00s, and the site continues to market itself to try and stay relevant.
The current incarnation of PayPal came into existence in 2000, after a merger between Confinity and X took place. But the site truly shined after being acquired by Ebay. PayPal then became a powerhouse in online money transactions. Nowadays, it is one of the more popular methods of making and receiving payments online.
Founded in 1998, Priceline was a huge hit because of the “name your own price” system it had devised for travel-related items. Recording over 600,000 hits on its first day, consumers were obviously intrigued. Unfortunately, the company has struggled to maintain the success it once experienced during the dot-com explosion. Regardless, Priceline will always be memorable for teaming up with the Shat!
The Internet was forever changed in 1995 when Jerry Yang founded Yahoo!, which, at one point, was one of the most popular destinations on the Internet. It was the portal that connected (and still connects) many to the World Wide Web. Unfortunately, Yahoo hasn’t done much lately, and there is plenty of pressure on the company to perform. But, at least for now, Yahoo! still remains a survivor amidst amazing competition.
Nice article. Sorry to be a pain, but the screenshot for #8 is wrong though… 😛
The internet was so much fund many moon ago when all these sites came about. I remember when hardly any companies had a site so when you saw one advertising their URI you always HAD to check it out. I really miss the old days of eBay.
Thanks. Fixed. 🙂
Yeah. I am fortunate to have been born at a time when I could see the explosion of the Internet around the AOL and CompUServe days. Of course, back then, I was mainly using the Internet to look up cheat codes for games. Haha.
No love for The Internet Movie Database? The wealth of information is staggering, covering the recorded history of moving pictures, both foreign and domestic, adding television credits and now expanding into video games and some web content. There is no better place for all things great about one of this countries greatest inventions, the motion picture. Great list but I would have swapped Ask.com or Overstock.com for IMDB.
Ask Jeeves? Are you kidding me?! They are basically a google property now: show google results and get money from google ads.
The funny thing is there are five I’ve never visited before and three more that I haven’t been on for years…
Show us retro pictures of these sites! We want to see what they used to look like! 🙂