In Pictures: 10 websites that time forgot

When was the last time you posted a pic on PhotoBucket? Did a search on AltaVista? Or updated your Myspace page?

  • When was the last time you posted a pic on PhotoBucket? Did a search on AltaVista? Or updated your Myspace page? In the online world, sites that were once the rage can quickly fall out of fashion. But they don’t die; they linger on in a kind of cyber-limbo. Here are 10 sites that you may have forgotten about, but they’re hanging on, and in some cases they might be poised to make a comeback.

  • Alexa Global Traffic Rank: 102,702 Launched in 1997, this toy e-tailer was one of those crazily hyped startups of the dot-com era: On the first day that eToys went public in 1999, shares shot up from $20 to $76. Like most dot-com startups, eToys went out of business but the domain lives on: It was bought by Toys “R” Us in 2009.

  • Hot or Not Alexa Global Traffic Rank: 16,776 Started in October 2000 by two Silicon Valley engineer friends, this profile photo rating site pulled in over 2 million page views per day within a week of its launch. It inspired many knock-offs; even Mark Zuckerberg threw together his own take, Facesmash, for Harvard students to rate the looks of fellow students. Hot or Not was sold in February 2008 for a rumored $20 million to the owners of the “casual encounters” dating site Ashley Madison, whose motto is "life is short, have an affair."

  • Friendster Alexa Global Traffic Rank: 10,709 What’s the difference between Friendster (which launched 10 years ago) and Myspace, which came out a year later? Odds are, we’ll bet you probably have an account on Myspace, even if you’re no longer using it. Like many pioneering sites, Friendster may have been one of the first to launch in its category (social networking), but for some reason it never caught on. Friendster was sold for $26.4 million to a Malaysian Internet company in December 2009, and relaunched as a "social-gaming site" in June 2011. Since then, over 90% of Friendster’s traffic originates from Asia, and it has more than115 million registered users.

  • AltaVista Alexa Global Traffic Rank: 7,707 Digital Equipment Corp. (DEC) launched AltaVista in 1995 and it quickly became a popular search engine. At one point AltaVista was so hot that it provided search results for Yahoo. Ultimately, Yahoo ended up owning AltaVista and now the roles are reversed. AltaVista is simply a shell site that serves as a front end for Yahoo’s search engine, which uses better, more recent technology.

  • Chatroulette Alexa Global Traffic Rank: 4,747 This is the youngest site in this slideshow, having launched in November 2009, and was a pop culture sensation throughout 2010. We list it because you hardly hear about it nowadays. And yet Chatroulette, which randomly pairs two webcam users together, appears to still pull in a decent number of page views -- this despite its reputation as a place where you’re likely to find male users exposing themselves.

  • Xanga Alexa Global Traffic Rank: 3,639 This user blogging site has supposedly been around since 1998 in some earlier form. Over the years, it has added an array of features (e.g. audio and video blogging, micro-blogging, user profiles). The current product is a mishmash of the latest things you’d expect to find across various user-generated content sites. We’re impressed Xanga is still around despite competition from Blogger, LiveJournal and, and an overall fading interest for using blogging services.

  • Tripod Alexa Global Traffic Rank: 766 The shuttering of GeoCities closed an era of easy website-making and hosting services that was associated with the internet of the 1990s -- mostly, personal sites that users littered with tacky animated GIFs and pointless "Under Construction" banners. But a similar service originally from that period exists. Launched in September 1994, Tripod was bought in February 1998 by Lycos (which itself, a web portal, is a surviving relic from those early, awkward web years), and still offers today a free plan for building and hosting your website.

  • MapQuest Alexa Global Traffic Rank: 637 Before GPS became widely available, and before Google got into the mapping biz, the go-to for finding your way around the streets of the real world was MapQuest. The site has been in existence for over 16 years, and since 2000 has been owned by America Online, Inc. MapQuest entered a partnership with OnStar in April 2007, which lets OnStar subscribers plan their driving routes on MapQuest and then use them on OnStar’s navigation service. MapQuest launched an open-source mapping project, OpenStreetMap, in July 2010.

  • Myspace Alexa Global Traffic Rank: 158 Founded in 2003, this is the social-networking site that started it all, became a cultural phenomenon, and then fizzled out, thanks in large part to Facebook. Yet Myspace today still pulls in a very respectable rank on Alexa. (It pales in comparison to Facebook, which has an Alexa Global Traffic Rank of “2.”) The most recent news is that Myspace was sold in June 2011 to a company backed by Justin Timberlake for $35 million, and is expected to relaunch later this year as an entertainment media hub that will incorporate its social networking aspects.

  • Photobucket Alexa Global Traffic Rank: 153 Like Myspace, Photobucket was founded in 2003 and shares a similar Alexa Global Traffic Rank. Frankly, we’re surprised this personal photo sharing site has lasted as long as it has, considering its dull design layout and awkward user interface, compared to competitors like Flickr. What probably has ensured its continuing longevity is the partnership with Twitter that Photobucket, Inc. managed to secure in June 2011 to make Photobucket the default photo-sharing platform for the popular micro-blogging service.

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