Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Excite is an Internet portal with an included search engine. It is one of the most recognized brands on the Internet. Excite belongs to the Ask Jeeves network. Excite offers a variety of services, including web-mail, stock quotes, and a customizable user homepage. The news and other content on the portal is provided by over 100 different providers.
Excite was founded as Architext in 1994 by Mark Van Haren, Ryan McIntyre, Ben Lutch, Joe Kraus, Graham Spencer, and Martin Reinfried. The founders were all students in computer science (except for Kraus, who was a political science major) at Stanford University. They managed to get a $4000 investment from Institutional Venture Partners to start the company. It took another year, until December 1995, to launch Excite on the web.
In 1996, the company bought two search engines, Magellan and WebCrawler, and went public with an initial offering of two million shares priced at $17 USD. It gained exclusive distribution agreements with companies such as Netscape, Microsoft and Apple Computer.
In 1999, Excite combined with high-speed Internet service @Home.com and became Excite@Home, but the $6.7 billion merger fell disastrously short of expectations. Among the problems, there was a culture clash between the people from Excite, who viewed themselves as pioneers in the New Economy, and the older, more traditional employees from @Home. The burst of the dot-com bubble in March of 2000 further limited the company's prospects. By 2001, there was tension among major investors and the company was starting to run out of cash.
As Excite@Home filed for bankruptcy in October of 2001, a small Irvington, NY based Internet company, iWon.com, dropped all other development projects and began to build an entirely new but familiar Excite website hoping that they could acquire the Excite.com domain and brand in the proceedings. A few weeks later, the company made a $10 million (USD) joint bid with Infospace, a Seattle Internet company, to purchase the domain and brand, but no other technology assets or employees. On November 28, the court accepted the bid and gave iWon less than three weeks to launch a new Excite portal.
On Sunday, December 16, 2001, iWon launched the new Excite and transferred millions of Excite users, along with their customized start pages, email accounts, and stock portfolios, to their new home.
iWon changed its corporate name to the Excite Network, and continued to operate Excite, in addition to iWon and a third portal, MyWay, until the company was acquired by Ask Jeeves in 2004. Outside of the United States, Excite Italia took control of portals in Germany, Spain, France, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands and Austria.
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