Can you remember the failed companies of the dot-com bubble?

By: Maria Trimarchi
Image: Shutterstock

About This Quiz

Whether it was in Silicon Valley, Silicon Alley, or any other part of the country (yes, there was also a Silicon Prairie, Silicon Desert, and Silicon Bayou, too), early e-commerce and content sites were hit hard when the dot-com bubble peaked on March 10, 2000. See if you remember the Web companies that didn't make it.

What online pet food retailer had a dog-like sock puppet mascot?

Pets.com was founded in 1998, but it turns out Pets.com was an online pet food retailer ahead of its time. Today, the pet food delivery market is estimated at $3 billion. The company did not file for bankruptcy, however. Instead, the asset sale proceeds were distributed among shareholders in 2000.

Which online toy store, with the motto "Childhood Dreams Delivered," was founded in 1997 and was bankrupt by the beginning of 2001?

eToys.com, with its motto,"Childhood Dreams Delivered," was founded in 1997, and by October 1999 its stock price was at a high of $84.35 per share. But by February 2001, the company was in $247 million in debt when it filed for bankruptcy. A month later, KB Toys bought the majority of eToys' remaining assets for $5 million. That wasn't the end, though. In February 2009, eToys.com was acquired by Toys "R" Us.

Can you complete this correctly? Kozmo.com offered local delivery, with no delivery fees, in ____ hour(s) or less.

From March 1998 through April 2001 when it shuttered its doors, Kozmo.com offered free local delivery of items including "videos, games, DVDs, music, mags, books, food, basics & more ... delivered in under an hour." In some U.S. cities Kozmo also delivered Starbucks coffee.

How many dot-com companies failed in the dot-com bust?

By 2004, 52 percent of dot-com companies had shuttered during the bust. Of those that did survive, the time was lean, and stock prices were significantly lower than during the salad days of the boom.

What site, considered the first social networking site, was based on the idea of six degrees of separation?

SixDegrees.com, which launched in 1997, was based on the idea of six degrees of separation. While it was live, members of the site could see who they were connected to through their friends. Its feature list was limited compared to what we're used to now and allowed its one million registered users to post only messages. By 2000, it was shut down.

What town changed its name to Half.com in 1999?

Halfway, Oregon's geographic coordinates put it (close to) midpoint between the equator and the North Pole. But it's probably better known for accepting a deal with Half.com, in December 1999, to change its name for one year in exchange for financial subsidies and computers for the school.

Which of the original web page building and hosting sites, that had "neighborhoods" and "homesteaders," weathered the bust along with its parent company, Yahoo!?

Not all the effects of the dot-com bust were felt immediately. GeoCities, one of the original Web hosting and web page building services, was founded in 1994 and acquired by Yahoo! for $2.87 billion in 1999 -- and shuttered in 2009 to be replaced with Yahoo!’s paid web hosting service.

Which online grocer promised delivery in 30 minutes?

Webvan was an online grocer that promised delivery in 30 minutes or less. In its initial public offering (IPO) in November 1999, Webvan raised $375 million and hit a peak stock market value of $1.2 billion. But after its IPO and an infusion of $396 million in venture capital funding, Webvan ended up going bankrupt in 2001. In the end, it became part of Amazon.com.

What streaming video company hosted a $16 million launch party in 1999 and failed less than a year later?

It was streaming video company Pixelon that celebrated its launch with The Who, the Dixie Chicks and a $16 million party. But Pixelon also wasn't free from scandal. Michael Fenne, the company's founder, was actually a man named Paul Stanley, who'd been on Virginia's most-wanted list for several years.

What digital currency had Whoopi Goldberg as its spokesperson?

Whoopi Goldberg was the spokesperson for the digital currency site, Flooz.com. Flooz, the FBI figured out, was also the online currency site used by a ring of credit card thieves operating out of Russia, suspected of using stolen cards to buy the currency. In the end, Flooz filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy protection in 2001.

What web portal merged with a high-speed internet service called @Home, promising to become the "AOL of broadband"?

When Excite, one of the early Web search engines and Web portals, merged with the high-speed Internet service @Home in 1999, it started calling itself Exite@Home. After spending billions to save itself during the downturn in online advertising, Excite closed down and filed for bankruptcy in September 2001.

What online apparel site spent $188 million in six months creating its store?

U.K.-based Boo.com, a fashion apparel retail site, was founded on March 17, 1999, launched in the fall that year and was bankrupt by May 18, 2000. And in just six months, the company spent $188 million trying to create its store.

What digital music download site was online before Napster and iTunes?

Ritmoteca.com was an online music store before Napster and before iTunes -- and it was the first music download site to have a graphical user interface. Rimoteca became the top site for Latin digital music sales, with more than 500,000 tracks. As it prepared to go public, two things happened that the site couldn't survive: the dot-com bubble popped and Napster launched.

Which financial software company is one of the few to recover from the dot-com bust and today makes both Quicken and TurboTax software?

It took until September 2010 for the financial software company Intuit to recover from its near-death in the dot-com bust, but it did, and today it is the maker of both Quicken and TurboTax software.

What doomed dot-com was featured in the documentary "Startup.com"?

Founded in 1998 by Kaleil Isaza Tuzman, Tom Herman and Chieh Cheung, govWorks produced software for local governments, allowing citizens to pay fines, taxes and handle other specific services online. By the end of 2000, govWorks was struggling to keep up with its $1 million per month in overhead expenditures and began layoffs. By the end of 2000, the company was bankrupt, and in January 2001 was acquired by First Data Corporation. You can watch the story of the company in the 2001 documentary film "Startup.com."

What long-distance telephone company and internet service provider (ISP) went bankrupt in 2002 after using fraudulent accounting practices?

Long-distance telephone company and internet service provider (ISP) WorldCom filed the largest corporate bankruptcy (at the time) in 2002. Its founder and former CEO Bernard Ebbers was convicted of fraud and conspiracy, after using fraudulent accounting practices to steal $11 billion from investors.

Why was home furnishings store Living.com sued by the state of Texas when it went bankrupt in 2000?

Texas-based Living.com, once called "the best online furniture store," stated in its privacy policy that it would not sell, trade or rent customers' personal information without their consent. So when the home furnishing store closed shop and filed for bankruptcy in 2000, with the customer list on the auction block, the company was sued by the state of Texas.

What online garden store was only open for 14 months before it went bust in the dot-com bust?

In September 1999, just days after its initial public offer (IPO), Garden.com's stock was trading above $20 per share. But just 14 months later, in November 2000, the gardening store was trading at just nine cents per share and closed down.

What was the business model for AllAdvantage, known for its slogan, "Get paid to surf the Web"?

When it launched in March 1999, AllAdvantage's business model was what's known as "pay to surf" (PTS). In a little more than a year, the company had 13 million members, and by the end it had paid its members more than $160 million. Despite its $175 million in venture capital, AllAdvantage shut down after 18 months in business.

What site, designed for girls ages 13 to 18, shut down after only 46 days?

When Kibu.com, designed for girls between 13 and 18, was founded in 1999, it attracted $22 million in funding. When the folks who ran the site became convinced it couldn't profit -- or stay afloat -- with an advertising-based business model in that year's market conditions, it shut down.

As it was almost crushed by its falling share prices and misleading accounting practices, what did InfoSpace provide?

As the dot-com bubble began to deflate in March 2000, InfoSpace's stock dropped, too, falling to only $1.56 by July 2001. After a series of lawsuits against InfoSpace founder Naveen Jain and his company for misleading accounting and other shady practices, Jain later co-founded Intelius, conveniently located across the street from InfoSpace.

What online travel booking service's IPO unfortunately coincided with the burst of the dot-com bubble?

Lastminute.com, a search engine for low-cost flights, launched in 1998, and was known for selling "distressed" inventory, which is what the airline industry calls its markdowns. Lastminute.com's IPO on March 14, 2000, unfortunately coincided with the burst of the dot-com bubble. Lastminute.com eventually went on to be sold to the Swiss travel company Bravofly Rumbo for $120 million.

What peer-to-peer music sharing service was first to use a desktop application for easier downloading?

Before BiTorrent, and sites like Napster, AudioGalaxy was the first to offer a desktop application for easier searching, browsing and downloading. But the company shut its doors by 2002.

What online sporting goods company was backed by John Elway, Wayne Gretzky and Michael Jordan?

Despite being backed by John Elway, Wayne Gretzky and Michael Jordan -- and $65 million -- not even MVP.com, founded in 1999, could survive the bust. MVP was ready to shut its doors by early 2001 after failing to meet its end of a four-year contract with CBS.

The founder of what site, forerunner to what we know as social media, became a symbol of dot-com excess?

On the day it went public, TheGlobe.com's target share price was set initially at $9 per share. When the market opened, though, shares begin trading at $87. They rose to $97 per share before they settled at $63.50 by market close. Co-founder Stephan Paternot became a symbol of dot-com excess. If, back in 1998, you thought with a market cap of $842 million, TheGlobe.com should have had growth and sustainability -- you were wrong. This early social media site shuttered in August 2001.

Which late-'90s health information site was named after a U.S. surgeon general?

C. Everett Koop served two terms as U.S. Surgeon General during the Reagan administration. And in 1999, a health information website was launched, carrying his name: DrKoop.com. It was a hit, at first, with more than 1 million visitors in May 1999. In June 1999, the company raised $88.5 million from its IPO. But, behind the scenes, things weren't going so well. In March 2000 alone, DrKoop.com had cash expenses of $8 million. By October the same year, the company secured $20 million in funding. But by December 2001, after having spent its financial infusion, the company was forced to close.

What free internet service provider went bankrupt in 2000, before it could go through with its planned IPO?

FreeInternet.com at one time was the fifth-largest internet service provider (ISP), and used a talking infant named "Baby Bob" to sell us all on its free internet movement. But, before the company could have its planned IPO, it overspent its money and had to close.

What Web portal did Disney launch to compete with AOL and Yahoo!?

The "portal" was a popular thing during the dot-com bubble. And even Disney tried its hand at it, in 1998, with Go.com, which was a merger between other Disney's sites -- ABCNews.com and ESPN.com -- with Infoseek, a search engine. But by 2000 Go.com still wasn't attracting half as many users as AOL and Yahoo! and was closed in January 2001.

What crime news service was founded in 1998 with $104 million in funding, but closed $7 million in debt in 2000?

APB was founded in 1998, with $104 million in funding. It grew to have 140 employees. But not long after its launch, in the summer of 2000, APB was $7 million in debt with just $50,000 in the bank.

How did Amazon.com avoid going bankrupt along with so many other dot-coms?

It wasn't Marketplace or Amazon Prime that kept Amazon afloat during the dot-com crash. Those were both launched afterward. Amazon not only invested in its own infrastructure, it had a well-timed infusion of funding from overseas investors just before the bubble began to burst.

The original idea behind what search engine was to let users pose questions in everyday language rather than keywords?

Ask Jeeves, founded in 1997, was the first search engine that encouraged users to ask questions in everyday language rather than searching with one or a few keywords. The site was purchased by IAC and renamed to ask.com several years later.

Before Amazon.com, what online shopping mall connected shoppers directly with sellers?

Craig Winn founded early online mall ValueAmerica.com in 1996. And, despite being profitless, VA had a successful IPO (initial public offering) and was valued at $2.4 billion. After its stock fell from $55 on the first day after its IPO to just 72 cents, Value America filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on August 11, 2000.

In 2000, 17 dot-com companies bought Super Bowl ad spots. But in 2001, only three did. Which was not one of the three?

Seventeen dot-com companies paid a combined total of $44 million for ad spots during Super Bowl XXXIV in 2000. But the following year, only three dot-coms -- E-Trade, Monster.com and Yahoo! HotJobs -- bought spots during Super Bowl XXXV.

As early as 1996, Alan Greenspan, who was then the chairman of the Federal Reserve, called the dot-com bubble what?

Then-chairman of the Federal Reserve, Alan Greenspan considered the dot-com bubble unsustainable and warned against "irrational exuberance" to avoid a market crash.

Who is the founder of the now-defunct govWorks.com, that was extradited from Colombia to the U.S. to face fraud and SEC violation charges in 2016?

Former Goldman Sachs analyst, govWorks.com's founder and chief executive of Kit Digital since 2007, Kaleil Isaza Tuzman, was extradited from Colombia in July 2016. Tuzman was charged with trying to artificially inflate Kit Digital's share price and trading volume, as well as lying to investors about the company's finances.

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