If good old Paul Harvey was still alive he would have loved this story.
Twenty years ago, 1995, I read about a brand new search engine on the internet. It was called “Excite.” I, and millions of others, started using Excite in 1996.
It was one of those typical start-ups of the hi-tech ‘90s. Mix a bunch of Stanford students, a radical new idea how search engines should work, millions in start-up cash, and get the thing working online
Then go public. They did that in ’96.
Next, get the “big-boys” to come aboard. In 1997 Intuit (Quicken and Tubo-Tax) bought a 19% share and threw more millions into the mix.
Excite bought some existing search engines, Magellan and WebCrawler and then signed exclusive “search” deals with Apple, Microsoft and Netscape. To top off 1997, Excite signed a Ticketmaster deal for online ticketing. The world was Excite’s oyster.
Then the proverbial shit hit the proverbial fan. Decisions, decisions, decisions.
First, Yahoo saw this grand potential and came after Excite with a SIX BILLION dollar offer in March 1998. Excite, so far, had only shown a 30 million dollar LOSS.
They turned Yahoo down and accepted a SEVEN BILLION dollar offer from Home Network. This 1999 merger was the largest internet merger ever and a couple other Stanford students became discouraged.
These two students had been messing around with their own ideas about “search engines” and were both falling behind in their school work. These two students approached EXCITE and offered their small search engine company for sale for ONE MILLION DOLLARS.
Excite basically laughed at them and one of the Excite board members negotiated the selling price down to $750,000. The CEO of Excite was furious that one of his execs was going behind his back negotiating and he threw the maverick board member out of his office. He was not about to spend any money on this “other” search engine company with the stupid name.
That other company, as of today, is worth around 314 BILLION dollars.
And they kept their silly name . . . GOOGLE
And that is the rest of the story. (Thanks, Paul)