Lycos is a search engine and web portal centered around broadband entertainment content.


Lycos began as a search engine research project by Dr. Michael Loren Mauldin of Carnegie Mellon University in 1994. Bob Davis joined the company as its CEO and first employee in 1995. Lycos then enjoyed several years of growth and, in 1999, became the most visited online destination in the world with a global presence in more than 40 countries. Lycos was sold to Terra Networks of Spain in May 2000 for $5.4 billion, forming a new company, Terra Lycos, maintaining its position as one of the world's largest Internet companies. Shortly after the merger Davis left the company to become a venture capitalist with Highland Capital Partners in Boston. In October 2004, Lycos was sold by Terra's parent company, Telefonica, to Daum Communications Corporation, the second largest Internet portal in Korea, becoming, once again, Lycos, Inc.

Corporate Development

Shortly after the development of the search engine, Lycos, Inc. was formed with approximately US$2 million in venture capital funding from CMGI. The founder and CEO of Lycos from inception was Bob Davis, a native of Boston who incorporated the company in Massachusetts and concentrated on building it into an advertising-supported web portal. Lycos grew from a crowded field in 1995 to become the most-visited web portal in the world in the spring of 1999 (as measured by visits to all of its sites).

In 1996, the company completed the fastest IPO, from inception to offering, in NASDAQ history and in 1997 became one of the first profitable internet businesses in the world. Over the course of the next several years Lycos acquired nearly two dozen high profile internet brands including Tripod, Gamesville, WhoWhere, Wired Digital,, Angelfire, and Raging Bull.

Lycos Europe was a joint venture between Bertelsmann and Lycos, but has always been a distinct corporate entity. Although Lycos Europe is the largest of the overseas ventures, several other companies also entered into joint venture agreements, including Lycos Canada, Lycos Korea, and Lycos Asia.

Near the peak of the internet bubble in May 2000 Lycos announced its intent to be acquired by Terra Networks, S.A., the internet arm of the Spanish telecommunications giant, Telefonica, for $5.4 billion. The acquisition price represented a nearly 3,000 times return on the initial venture capital investment in Lycos and about 20 times its initial public offering valuation. The transaction closed in October 2000. The merged company was renamed Terra Lycos yet the Lycos brand was the US franchise. Overseas, the company continued to be known as Terra Networks, S.A. Davis left the company shortly after the merger was completed to join Highland Capital Partners, a premier venture capital fund, where he now serves as a Managing General partner and concentrates on internet investments.

On August 2, 2004, Terra announced that it was selling Lycos to Seoul, South Korea-based Daum Communications Corporation for $95.4 million in cash, less than 10% of Terra's initial multi-billion investment. In October 2004, the transaction closed, and the company name was changed back to Lycos, Inc. The remaining Terra half of the business was subsequently reacquired by Telefónica.

Under new ownership, Lycos began to refocus its strategy in 2005, moving away from a search-centric portal, toward a community destination for broadband entertainment content. With a new management team in place, Lycos also began divesting properties that were not core to its new strategy. In July 2006, Wired News, which had been part of Lycos since the purchase of Wired Digital in 1998, was sold to Conde Nast and re-merged with Wired magazine. The Lycos Finance division, best known for and Raging, was sold to FT Interactive Data Corporation in February 2006, while its online dating site was sold to In 2006, Lycos also regained ownership of the Lycos trademark from Carnegie Mellon University, becoming Lycos, Inc. once again.

During 2006, Lycos introduced services including Lycos Phone, which combined IM, video chat, real-time video on demand and an MP3 player. In August the same year a new version of Lycos Mail was released that allowed sending and receiving mega files, including unlimited size file attachments. In Nov. 2006, Lycos began to roll out applications centered around social media, including the Web's first watch & chat video application, with the launch of its Lycos Cinema platform. In Feb. 2007, Lycos MIX was launched, a tool allowing users to pull video clips from YouTube, Google Video, Yahoo Video and MySpace Video, creating playlists where other users can add video, comments and chat in real-time.


Lycos remains a top 25 Internet destination in the US. It is the 13th largest online property worldwide according to comScore Media Metrix. Lycos also remains a top 5 Internet portal, behind Yahoo, MSN, AOL and MySpace.

Lycos Network sites

  • Angelfire , a Lycos property providing free webhosting, blogging and web publishing tools
  • Gamesville , Lycos's massive multiplayer gaming site
  • Hotbot , a Lycos-owned search engine
  • HtmlGear , a Lycos property providing web-page addons (guestbooks, etc.)
  • , a Lycos property providing free webhosting, blogging and web publishing tools
  • Webon , a next generation web webhosting and publishing platform
  • , a people search engine

Lycos-branded sites

  • Lycos Domains , Internet domain name purchasing
  • Lycos Mail , free email provider, formerly known as
  • Lycos Planet , Lycos social networking and light web-building site. It is the successor to Lycos Circles which was shut down in September 2005.
  • Lycos Retriever , an automatically generated information summarization service.
  • Lycos Cinema , online video and social networking site.
  • Lycos MIX , a video playlist, chat and social networking site.

Former Lycos sites


External links

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