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The Ten Most High-Profile Internet Failures of All Time


The most overhyped names to ever fall through the Web.

The original, burgeoning days of the Internet bubble were an interesting time, to say the least. Pretend fortunes were won and lost on half-baked ideas bearing a dot-com suffix. Pimple-faced teenagers went from bully beatdowns to having CEO nameplates and corner offices practically overnight. And it was all built atop a vague (at best) understanding of what the World Wide Web actually was.

Plenty of companies fell as quickly as they'd soared, while others became huge before dying ignominious deaths. One of the most dramatic of those is slated to happen this fall.

Founded in 1994 as Beverly Hills Internet, GeoCities was an iconic brand at the height of the first Internet boom. By summer 1997, it had become the fifth-most-visited website in the world. After going public in 1998 and reaching a peak stock price of over $100, it was the third-most-visited site in the world by 1999, behind only AOL (TWX) and Yahoo (YHOO). At the absolute peak of the dot-com bubble, GeoCities was acquired by Yahoo, effectively signaling the upcoming demise of the company.

By the middle of this past decade, if a web URL began with GeoCities, there was only a marginal likelihood that it would fully load -- and that's assuming it had been updated sometime in the past 5 years. The long decline came to an end this past June, when Yahoo announced that GeoCities would be closing its doors on October 26, 2009.

For every Amazon (AMZN), there's a; for every Google (GOOG), there's a Mindspring. Here's what happened to some of the most infamous Internet brands -- the ones who never quite lived up to the hype.
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