The Portals of Yesteryear Still Open for Business

Spend enough time with any group of digital media veterans and the talk eventually will shift to stories about the old days (way back in, say, 1998). Defunct ad networks like Flycast and L90 are invoked. The running of $10,000 test campaigns that incorporated both banners and buttons are discussed. And everyone remembers, gleefully, that DoubleClick party with the midgets.
Given the power that search holds today (hello, Google), a walk down memory lane that includes big portal and search-engine anchor deals is all the more interesting—especially when the conversation drifts to “Remember Lycos? How about WebCrawler or Excite?” and people realize that most of the “forgotten” portals or search engines of the dot-com days still, well, exist. Some even get an impressive amount of traffic. Lycos, for example, attracts more than a million unique users a month. A few even make money.
Infospace, which owns Dogpile, MetaCrawler and WebCrawler, pulled in $250 million in 2010 with a profit of $27 million. Not bad for properties that claim less than 1 percent of the search share in the U.S. (Take that, Twitter.) To catch up with some oldies but still goodies, here is Adweek’s Web version of Where Are They Now?
All unique user numbers from comScore