The Top Ten Dot.com Bombs and Wastes of Money

by Hank Coleman

pets_com_sock_puppetI thought that we all might enjoy a little distraction from our long work week.  VisualEconomics.com publishes great graphics called infographs that display an incredible amount of information in a very entertaining picture format.  You should definitely check out the website when you get the chance.  But, for now, I thought that you would find the Top Ten dotcom crashes interesting (I sure did).  These companies have wasted a lot of money on some dumb websites, and a few of them only lasted a couple of days.

Company

Description

Amount Spent

Time In Business

       
Webvan Despite hundreds of millions of dollars in warehouses, obviously delivering groceries is a losing proposition.

$800 million

1.5 Years
   

 

 
Go.com Even Mickey Mouse could not escape the dotcom bubble’s burst. Disney tried to launch its own web portal and search engine to no success.

$790 million

3 Years
   

 

 
Amp’d Mobile Provide youth with entertainment through their cell phones

$360 million

Less Than 2 Years
   

 

 
Procket Built routers and was ultimately bought by Cisco for $89 million

$272 million

5 Years
   

 

 
Caspian Networks Another boring computer router builder

$300 million

8 Years
   

 

 
Kosmo.com Movies, books, video games, and food delivered for free to your door in under 1 hour.  Man!  I wish this idea had worked!

$250 million

3 Years
   

 

 
AllAdvantange I was actually a customer/panel member of this company who would pay you to surf the web.  In exchange to collect data about our surfing patterns, the company shared ad revenue with you.

$200 million

2 Years
   

 

 
Cuecat.com This company made a cat-shaped barcode reader that connected to your home computer where you could scan barcodes on products that would then launch websites related to the product.

$185 million

3 Years
   

 

 
Pets.com I love the puppet.  And, that’s all I’ve got to say about that.  I wish they had been able to keep their doors open just for the commercials.

$150 million

2 Years
   

 

 
eToys.com The company was originally sold to KB Toys, and now the website address belongs to Toys R Us.

$100 million

4 Years
   

 

 
 

A few more….

 

 
   

 

 
MVP.com Online sports retailer

$65 million

1 Year
   

 

 
Kibu.com An early attempt at online networking

$22 million

Only 46 Days
   

 

 
Digiscents Wow! You just can’t make this crap up! This company went down in flames after then wasted $20 million on trying to get smells into video games and websites. I have no idea why this wouldn’t work?!?!

$20 million

2 Years
       
       

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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

meoip July 25, 2009 at 7:18 pm

Search engines were simple better than cuecat and the focus was to narrow and to early. Now a few sites and companies use them ie. Librarything.com lets you scan the bar codes of your books to catalog them online and they use cuecats. I worked with an accounting firm that would bar code invoices and bills and scan them with cuecats.
Pets.com was about the only site I was sad to see go. I could order a bag of dog food for my parents dog for about 70% of the price in a store. I was killing them dog food orders.

Chase Saunders July 26, 2009 at 10:20 am

Why are you including companies who were successfully acquired? It seems wrong to call these “bombs” when this is one of the desired outcomes of a VC investment.

Vince July 27, 2009 at 9:50 pm

I loved the Pets.com commercials too! That url has got to e worth a lot, it looks like PetSmart snatched it up.

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