LinkExchange was a popular internet advertising cooperative, similar in function to a webring, originally known as Internet Link Exchange or ILE.

It was founded in March 1996 by 23-year-old Harvard graduates Tony Hsieh (who later went on to invest in and become the CEO of Zappos) and Sanjay Madan.[1] Ali Partovi later joined them as a third partner in August 1996.[2] In November 1996, when the company consisted of about 10 people, it moved from Hsieh's and Madan's living room to an office[3] in San Francisco. In May 1997, the company received US$3 million in funding from Sequoia Capital.[4]

In June 1998, LinkExchange acquired MerchantPlanet, an early shopping cart and credit card application.[5] That same month it also acquired Submit It! Inc., developers of Submit It!, ClickTrade, and ListBot.[6]

In November 1998, when LinkExchange had 100 employees, it was acquired by Microsoft[7] for US$265 million.[8]

See also


  1. Ni, Perla (May 27, 1999). "The American Dream: Running Your Own Show" (PDF). AsianWeek.
  2. "Ali Partovi on LinkedIn". LinkedIn. Retrieved 10 July 2015.
  3. "Company Info". Archived from the original on January 28, 1998.
  4. LinkExchange: King of Niche and Reach. Net Results: Web Marketing That Works. Hayden Books. ISBN 1-56830-414-5. Archived from the original on 2008-07-25.
  5. "LinkExchange buys e-commerce site". Advertising Age. June 22, 1998.
  6. "LinkExchange Acquires Submit It!". ClickZ. June 24, 1998.
  7. "Microsoft Buys LinkExchange For About $250 Million in Stock". Wall Street Journal. November 5, 1998.
  8. "Bios: Tony HsieL".
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