Before broadband internet became widely available in 2000, we were all stuck with the slow speeds and dodgy connections of dial-up. And that was fine. It worked – not well, but it worked – and like indigenous tribesmen who’ve never stepped outside their remote jungle village, we were happy with our lot.
But like so many things in life, something newer, better and shinier comes along, and the things we used to love so much don’t seem so great anymore. So, as BT finally waves goodbye to its dial-up service, we take a nostalgic look back at some of the internet’s other big names that have sadly fallen by the wayside…
Compuserv was the first major commercial online service dominating the marketplace in the 80s and early 90s. However, the company lost market share with the rise of rival providers, such as AOL, who offered internet on monthly subscriptions rather than hourly rates. As the market grew, and rivals became increasingly competitive, sadly Compuserv dwindled, was bought out by AOL and finally closed its doors in 2009.
In the early days of the internet the NetScape web browser was the tool we all used to go online. Like Compuserv, it dominated the market, but with the arrival of Internet Explorer, NetScape took heavy hits to its usage share and its dominance fell from over 90 per cent in the mid-90s to less than one percent by 2006. Also bought out by AOL, Netscape still lives on in a small form, and its source code was rewritten to create an early version of Mozilla’s Firefox
Created in 1999, Napster rewrote the rules of digital music, providing a place where users could upload and share their mp3 files. The site quickly grew in both notoriety and popularity and by February 2001 it had 26.4 million users worldwide, making it the main place to share music. The site soon ran into legal difficulties over copyright infringement, and was forced to close after facing legal action from heavy metal outfit Metallica, among others. The site still lives on as a subscription music service, but its dominance has dwindled with competition from the likes of iTunes, Amazon and Spotify.
The first big socal media site, MySpace took the concept of internet forums and chatrooms and turned them into something new, cool and accessible. It soon became the place to be on the internet, everybody had a page (whether they knew how to use it or not) and people competed to see who had the most friends. The site was so popular that it was bought out by News Corporation for $580m and in 2006 overtook Google as the most visited site in the US.
Competition from rival social networking site Facebook saw users flock away, the company incurred severe losses and was sold again in 2011 for just $35m. MySpace is still around today, rebranding itself as a more music focused, creative entity, but its dominance definitely is not what it was.
What internet institutions are you sad to see go? Leave a comment and let us know.
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