What percentage of 1995 Internet startups are still around?

33 comments

I'm being interviewed (offline article) and was just asked a great question --and I can't answer it authoritatively. I'm going to guess, just for those here at TW, that it's 1% or less, if you're talking about the basic business model of the startup and not just the continuation of the domain in one form or another.

What percentage of 1995 Internet startups are still around? Danny? The Register? Pew? Anybody?

Comments

I'm not entirely sure what

I'm not entirely sure what the definition of "startup" is. Is it all businesses just starting up? Or businesses that require venture capital? Or ...?

Yeah, I wondered the same.

Yeah, I wondered the same. But in the context of the interview, I think they mean for-profit website or web business venture of any type, bootstrapped or VC-financed. Hell, it took a few years after 1995 for many of VC's to get a clue, anyway, so I'm guessing there aren't many of those in 1995. Certainly not many that made it through the first bubble with their model intact.

We are..............

Our company first went live in 1995. No funds but what the original owners put into it. Started with 2 guys, now we're 160+ and one of the largest sports content partnership publishers in North America.

...and we are definitely a "for profit" ;)

Straight run on the same domain, that we started.

It's a rarity today to find oldies still poking around.

EricWard.com

Eric's been around since at least '94 doing pretty much the same stuff I think. He also has the honor of being "...the guy Jerry Yang had to create the very first "web promotion" category for at Yahoo when he was still in college." I don't know of anyone else that goes back as far as Eric.

Amazon

Amazon.com 11-01-1994 who knew

Probably more than 3%. But

Probably more than 3%. But if the date was 1999, I think it should be less than 1%.

10% Success Rate

I started in 1998 and am still going strong. The standard business failure rate is about 90% and the internet is no different. Some companies change ownership, business models & locations. Its reasonable to assume 10% of the true businesses (not just simple homepages) are still active.

Not many

All the companies that I personally knew when I started out are long gone. I didn't start freelancing or even leave the education sector until the commercial web was well established and active but the internet companies I dealt with in the early days are history. Hardly surprising though, we didn't know what we were even looking at in 95, we were still having the "commercialisation of the internet" debates and getting excited over browser releases and new faster squaaaaaawk modems

Not sure about 1995, but ...

I opened my bootstrapped, niche market, e-commerce site in 1999. We're still small, but we're still here 8 years later. But most of the other e-tailers who got the buzz and press attention with the big VC moolah are gone. (I did get my first email address in 1987. Does that count?)

It certainly does count,

It certainly does count, Roberta. 1987 is very hip.

I started designing a site in 1997, and started doing it for clients a year or two later, and we too are still here. No VC money, no dozens of clients, just a nice little Los Angeles boutique web design shop. :)

You know what is funny

The percentages follow roughly the same for some side walk store.. or some place in the mall...

How many Pizza places that started in 1995 are still around?

How many clothing stores that started in 1995 are still around?

It's kinda tough to aska

It's kinda tough to aska technology company to exist without merging over 12 years. Look at ATT... now it's ATT and then it was ATT but is it really the same company? (ATT -> Cingular -> Bell South -> ATT)

All the old players are

All the old players are coming out..... I was product manager for Australia's first national email service in 1986. That 'brand' is long gone. Commissioned my first website in 1995 for the Australian subsidiary of a large multinational PC manufacturer I worked for - which is also long gone as a brand.

I know these weren't internet startups - but they had an internet presence in 1995 - but no longer...

Even many of the web design agencies from around 1995 have rebranded/ renamed/ or subsequently have gone titsupdotcom

Maybe try to find a list of domains registered in 1995 and start from there?

>The percentages follow

>The percentages follow roughly the same for some side walk store.. or some place in the mall..

The interviewer posed that, as well, sort of; Did your prior history of business success have a direct bearing on your web business model?

Once you get the right dance steps down, success begets success

What did in so many of the old dotcommers is the belief that the technology would force new exciting rules of business. But you can't make a long-run on more dollars out than in. (Specifically to your question, yes. Prior history can make a huge difference.)

There used to be a mag in

There used to be a mag in the UK called "Internet Works". It used to spotlight a lot of start-ups in the pre-bubble v.1 era.

I remember wanting to refer back to some of the old copies I still had that must've been a couple of years old by then. I banged-in some of the URL's from the page and nothing, gone. So I did a few more out of interest and was amazed that I couldn't find a single one that was still online.

I would suggest the number is very big personally.

ThePost

My first ASP tutorial

My first ASP tutorial article was in internet works :O) It's worth remembering most of the stuff they listed in their web site reviews were fluff and it wasn't as easy to monetize non ecommerce web sites back then

in my case

My past experience in business models did NOT apply. What did apply was experience in databases (specifically, manipulating large flatfiles), catalog production, and -and I can't stress this one enough- desktop publishing. These factors converged to give me somewhat unique talents but it was used to pursue a model (media -driven advertising) that, quite frankly, had failed miserably in the bricks. Today, I think part of my modest success is really the converse of why so many old-world media execs are failing online, what works in the bricks may not translate to the web.

just missed the cut off

I started my web biz beginning of 96 and I'm still rocking. Funny, I had to take *classes* in Win95 so I could learn how to use a computer to build web pages :) Never had a use for the beige box before the web!

1995

A friend of mine with a B&M business registered his "company name dot-com" in 1995. The site has been online since 1995 and is a leading site in his niche today.

He wishes he'd had the foresight to register some relevant "product name dot-com" domains when he had the chance!

(Don't we all ...)

The 1990's were wild times

you guys have to put this in context...

The 1990's were wild in terms of how the internet evolved... It literally was the Wild West... people used to go and register companies names right and left as domain names... because there was no WIPO ... and no lawyers even knew what the hell a domain name was.

The inital 1990's explosion was akin to an earthquake going on .. what we are seeing now is more like an aftershock.

The words used back then were more like:

Cyberspace
Information Superhighway

All press releases had to run though this translator:

http://dack.com/web/bullshit.html

Some of the leaders back then still exist today... Ebay, Amazon, Yahoo... Most have vanished as a brand name..

What I am trying to say is that it's like comparing apples to oranges... the Internet, the overall understanding of the Net is much higher now than what it was back then..

There is SOME semblance of order.. and proceedures... Ask any of those RIAA lawyers what file swapping is now.. and I am sure they are very well versed and could even give you the mechanics of how it works..

Ask that same guy in 1995 .. and he would think you took his yellow paper folder.

holding that as an example, those pioneers that lost their shirts... thinking they were changing the world..... they did change it... it's just that most of their companies didn't see what they actually changed it to.

context

>literally was the Wild West... people used to go and register companies names right and left as domain names

My first 4 were free. If you had a company, you could claim a .com. I had 4 companies, sooo... If you were a legitimate non-profit, you could claim a .org. You had to have a server, be an network, before you could get a .net. It took untold hours/days just to get the damn things set up and the dns to resolve. My first hosting was on the mainframe of some pharmaceutical company in Chicago --it was legit, seems they had let their IT guy sublet the extra space because no one in corporate cared what the internet was doing.

-added-
This was the first host I ever ran across. It was hosting on the xmission domain with ~gastown in the url string. http://www.xmission.com/~gastown/

Wow. You guys were there

Wow. You guys were there early. I didn't get on the Internet until late 1996, at which time I said to myself, "Let's see what this information superhighway is all about." A bit of surfing around -- I had figured out what a domain name was -- and searching at Yahoo for "search engines" (I wanted to find more), I realized. The Internet was a world wide communication system.

And from that, for me, came all things. I had some plans back then for a couple of our (IP) properties for which the technology has only just evolved. I started building websites in 1997 and am still here doing it today.

Anyway, it's been a wild ride, and a thrill, and it's been good to know you all.

This thread inspired me to write

I had to write " Thank you Pets.Com "

@ DianeV

A few of us have been here for years.. I remember when Netscape went public in 1995 .. I was there working as a junior stock broker in West Palm Beach Florida on one my interships (another was at a new thing called 'a webhosting company')

I was glued to the ticker symbol on this DOS based machine looking at the stock flying.. That day I added CIS as a minor in college.

My dad used to say 'you can't minor in computers.. it's like majoring in a screw driver.. it's a tool.. not a trade'

My Dad is one of the smartest people on earth.. but I am happy I didn't listen to him a dozen year ago :)

Nice one. I knew a guy in

Nice one.

I knew a guy in 1983 who spent his nights reading comments on his computer. I thought it was a ridiculous way to spend time.

I have an invoice somewhere

I have an invoice somewhere for buying Netscape $35 ...did it to get off Mosaic.

I sorta agree with your sockpuppet article, TF, but only as it pertained to the perspective of John Q. During the time sockpuupet came & went, I was deep behind the curtains at wmw. That was, shall we say, wmw's black period and the heavy-duty machinery boys were regulars. To those in that group, the likes of pets.com was just an amusing diversion ...something to chuckle about. (Flashback) Oh yeah, I just remembered, I started the DotComMorgue down in Foo, we joked that we couldn't get enough virtual slabs ready and we'd have the corporate stiffs lining the halls. It's interesting to note that a large percentage of those guys that were in wmw are still around and are still heavyweights, some super-heavyweights. The bubble and the crash just wasn't much of a factor to that crowd.

-added-

But Black Friday certainly was.

My first ASP tutorial

Quote:
My first ASP tutorial article was in internet works :O)

Heheh... That mag saved my ass on a few occassions when I was blagging, er... pitching corporates :p

ThePost

Heh, it was a great mag and

Heh, it was a great mag and the feedback I got from those articles were the least whiney of any before or since so quality readership also. I wish I had kept a copy so I could look at it now. Someone later told me my asp tutorial was the first in any uk magazine but I have no way to validate that.

>>DotComMorgueHe, he, my

>>DotComMorgue

He, he, my deaddotcomtshirt drawer is still about half full. The swag some of the folks were handing out back then was amazing, still using a couple of nifty laptop backpacks.

I remember working the floor at the 2000 Fall Internet World. We were going absolutely crazy during setup with almost as many booths coming down as were going up. Our floor plans looked like a Hannibal Lecter mind map. By the time we got done we still had holes on the floor big enough to play full-court round ball.

Interesting times. Most of the start-ups who happened to make it through the show didn't survive to 2001.

So, back to the interview.

So, back to the interview. We seem to be in rough agreement that the survival rate of continuously-operated "commercial" websites (small-to-enterprise, bootstrap-to-funded) that started in 1995 or earlier and are still there today is less than 3% --perhaps less than 1%??

I don't know how the heck

I don't know how the heck you can pin a number on it other to say 'very small.'

The only thing I'd be able to equate it to is the survival rate of trendy New York City restaurants: Throw five to ten mil toward design and decor, more big bucks into PR, then close the doors before a year is up.

Huh, somethings screwy with

Huh, somethings screwy with the clock, guess something blew on my account settings. My "I don't know how the heck post" is actually in response to Bob's "Back to the interview" post.

(Well hell, this one's mucked up to0.)

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