Lycos, Inc.
A screenshot of
Type of business Subsidiary
Type of site
Search Engine and Web Portal
Available in multilingual
Founded 1995 (1995)
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, U.S.
Headquarters Waltham, Massachusetts
Founder(s) Bob Davis
Key people Rim Ji-hoon, CEO of Kakao[1]
Revenue $250M (2009)[2]
Employees 450 globally (2017)
Parent Daum[3]
Alexa rank 20,669 (March 2017)[4]
Registration optional
Launched April 13, 1995 (1995-04-13)
Current status active

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.

Corporate history

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.[5][6]

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 in an attempt to "break into the portal market."[7] Over the course of the next few years, Lycos acquired nearly two dozen internet brands including Gamesville, WhoWhere, Wired News (eventually sold to Wired),, Angelfire,, and

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.[8]

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.[9] 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 and, was sold to FT Interactive Data Corporation in February 2006, while its online dating site,, was sold to 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.[10] 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.[11] 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.[12]

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.[13][14][15] 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.[16]

In May 2012 Lycos announced the appointment of former employee Rob Balazy as CEO of Media division of Lycos.[17]

In September 2012 Ed Noel was appointed in place of Rob and manages the operations under the title of General Manager of Lycos Media.[18]

Lycos Network sites

  • Angelfire, a Lycos property providing free web hosting, blogging and web publishing tools
  • Gamesville, Lycos's massive multi-player gaming site
  •, a Lycos property providing free web hosting, blogging and web publishing tools
  •, a people search engine
  • InsiderInfo
  • Weather Zombie, a Lycos property providing weather forecasts, with a zombie theme, via AccuWeather.

Lycos-branded sites

  • Lycos Domains, Internet domain name purchasing
  • Lycos Mail, an e-mail provider formerly known as (As of 15 May 2018 providing only paid services.[19])
  • Lycos Chat, a photo chatting community.
  • Lycos Weather
  • Lycos Yellow Pages

Former Lycos sites

  •, a Lycos online advertising site
  • Hotbot, a search engine
  • and, finance sites
  •, a dating site
  • Webmonkey, web-building help and tutorials
  •, the online arm of Wired magazine
  • Lycos Radio, allowed users to create and host their own free internet radio shows


  1. "Daum Kakao names K Cube Ventures' Ji Hoon Rim as CEO". August 10, 2015.
  2. Pahwa, Nikhil (August 16, 2010). "Lycos Sold To India's Ybrant Digital For $36 Million". MediaNama. India. Retrieved August 17, 2010.
  3. "Ybrant Must Give Up Lycos Shares In $37M Award". May 9, 2018.
  4. " Site Info". Alexa Internet. Retrieved 2017-03-31.
  5. Scott, Virginia A. (2008). Google. Greenwood Publishing Group.
  6. Worlock, David (August 20, 2010). "Paradigm Lost". Retrieved April 14, 2013.
  7. Price, Christopher (December 15, 1998). "Gateway to the future: Christopher Price gives the lowdown on the sites which offer not only a way into the worldwide web but so much more". Financial Times. p. 16.
  8. "Lycos Asia seeks speed and performance". ZDNet. January 17, 2001.
  9. Kleinbard, David (May 16, 2000). "Lycos in $12.5B deal". CNN Money.
  10. "Lycos, Jajah Launch Internet Phone Call Services Today". Associated Press. Los Angeles Times. March 27, 2006.
  11. BYLUND, ANDERS (November 13, 2006). "Lycos Cinema ties chat to movies; content library, technical details disappoint". Ars Technica.
  12. Lowensohn, Josh (February 8, 2007). "Lycos Mix fails to stir". CNET.
  13. "Ybrant Digital Buys Lycos for $36 Million". BusinessWire. Comtex News Network, Inc. August 16, 2010. Retrieved August 16, 2010.
  14. "Ybrant Digital Buys Lycos for $36 Million" (Press release). Business Wire. August 16, 2010.
  15. Reisinger, Don (August 16, 2010). "Lycos is alive, acquired for $36 million". CNET.
  16. "Daum Global Holdings Corp. v. Ybrant Digital Limited et al". May 8, 2018.
  17. Reidy, Chris (May 7, 2012). "Rob Balazy appointed CEO of Lycos". Boston Globe.
  18. "Ed Noel to head Lycos Media Division". Retrieved 2017-10-11.
  19. Lycos "End of free service FAQ" (dated 09 April 2018). Accessed 2018-04-12.
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