A screenshot of Lycos.com
|Type of business||Subsidiary|
Type of site
|Search Engine and Web Portal|
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, U.S.
|Key people||Rim Ji-hoon, CEO of Kakao|
|Employees||450 globally (2017)|
|Launched||April 13, 1995|
Lycos, Inc., is a web search engine and web portal established in 1995, spun out of Carnegie Mellon University. Lycos also encompasses a network of email, webhosting, social networking, and entertainment websites.
Lycos is a university spin-off that began as a research project by Michael Loren Mauldin of Carnegie Mellon University's main Pittsburgh campus in 1994. Lycos Inc. was formed with approximately US$2 million in venture capital funding from CMGI. Bob Davis became the CEO and first employee of the new company in 1995, and concentrated on building the company into an advertising-supported web portal. Lycos enjoyed several years of growth during the 1990s and became the most visited online destination in the world in 1999, with a global presence in more than 40 countries.
In 1996, the company completed the fastest initial public offering from inception to offering in NASDAQ (LCOS) history. In 1997, it became one of the first profitable internet businesses in the world. In 1998, Lycos paid $58 million for Tripod.com in an attempt to "break into the portal market." Over the course of the next few years, Lycos acquired nearly two dozen internet brands including Gamesville, WhoWhere, Wired News (eventually sold to Wired), Quote.com, Angelfire, Matchmaker.com, and RagingBull.com.
Lycos Europe was a joint venture between Lycos and the Bertelsmann transnational media corporation, but it has always been a distinct corporate entity. Although Lycos Europe remains the largest of Lycos's overseas ventures, several other Lycos subsidiaries also entered into joint venture agreements including Lycos Canada, Lycos Korea and Lycos Asia.
Near the peak of the internet bubble on May 16, 2000, Lycos announced its intent to be acquired by Terra Networks, the internet arm of the Spanish telecommunications giant Telefónica, for $12.5 billion. The acquisition price represented a return of nearly 3,000 times the company's initial venture capital investment and about 20 times its initial public offering valuation. The transaction closed in October 2000 and the merged company was renamed Terra Lycos, although the Lycos brand continued to be used in the United States. Overseas, the company continued to be known as Terra Networks.
On August 2, 2004, Terra announced that it was selling Lycos to Seoul, South Korea-based Daum Communications Corporation, now Kakao, for $95.4 million in cash, less than 2% of Terra's initial multibillion-dollar investment. In October 2004, the transaction closed for sale of half of the business and the company name was changed back to Lycos Inc. The remaining Terra half was reacquired by Telefónica.
Under new ownership, Lycos began to refocus its strategy. In 2005, the company moved away from a search-centric portal and toward a community destination for broadband entertainment content. With a new management team in place, Lycos also began divesting properties that were not core to its new strategy. In July 2006, Wired News, which had been part of Lycos since the purchase of Wired Digital in 1998, was sold to Condé Nast Publications and re-merged with Wired Magazine. The Lycos Finance division, best known for Quote.com and RagingBull.com, was sold to FT Interactive Data Corporation in February 2006, while its online dating site, Matchmaker.com, was sold to Date.com. In 2006, Lycos regained ownership of the Lycos trademark from Carnegie Mellon University.
During 2006, Lycos introduced several media services, including Lycos Phone which combined video chat, real-time video on demand, and an MP3 player. In November 2006, Lycos began to roll out applications centered on social media, including its video application, Lycos Cinema, that featured simultaneous watch and chat functionality. In February 2007, Lycos MIX was launched, allowing users to pull video clips from YouTube, Google Video, Yahoo! Video and MySpace Video. Lycos MIX also allowed users to create playlists where other users could add video comments and chat in real-time.
As part of a corporate restructuring to focus on mobile, social networks and location-based services, Daum sold Lycos for $36 million in August 2010 to Ybrant Digital, an internet marketing company based in Hyderabad, India. Ybrant Digital paid $20 million at signing and there has been a legal dispute over magnitude of the second installment between Ybrant and Daum. In 2018, a New York court ruled in favor of Daum and appointed Daum as receiver of Ybrant's 56% ownership interest in Lycos.
Lycos Network sites
- Angelfire, a Lycos property providing free web hosting, blogging and web publishing tools
- Gamesville, Lycos's massive multi-player gaming site
- Tripod.com, a Lycos property providing free web hosting, blogging and web publishing tools
- WhoWhere.com, a people search engine
- Weather Zombie, a Lycos property providing weather forecasts, with a zombie theme, via AccuWeather.
- Lycos Domains, Internet domain name purchasing
- Lycos Mail, an e-mail provider formerly known as Mailcity.com. (As of 15 May 2018 providing only paid services.)
- Lycos Chat, a photo chatting community.
- Lycos Weather
- Lycos Yellow Pages
Former Lycos sites
- GetRelevant.com, a Lycos online advertising site
- Hotbot, a search engine
- Quote.com and RagingBull.com, finance sites
- Matchmaker.com, a dating site
- Webmonkey, web-building help and tutorials
- Wired.com, the online arm of Wired magazine
- Lycos Radio, allowed users to create and host their own free internet radio shows
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