What’s your favourite dead web service?

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Some products don’t die because they are crap, but instead because they came out at the wrong time. So with this in mind I started thinking back to web services that I really liked and aren’t around:

  • Boxman – the idea was brutally simple, have a huge database of CD prices across Europe and buy from the cheapest wholesaler, pass much of the arbitrage benefit on to the consumer and be based out of the Netherlands for low corporate tax and easy shipping. Unfortunately IBM’s errant software got in the way and the dream died
  • HyperCard- not really a web service, but more of a pre-web way of creating free-form media and applications through hyperlinks, the card files could be run in the same way an Excel spreadsheet could be run. I heard of bakeries and car factories being run off these things
  • Vindigo – I have written about Vindigo recently here
  • PointCast – If Timothy Leary envisaged RSS feeds you would have PointCast, a multi-colour media explosion on your desktop, unfortunately it was a bandwidth-heavy application in a dial-up age
  • Evenbetter – back before widgets German comparision shopping site Evenbetter had a downloadable application that sits on your desktop to keep tab on changing price. Basically a widget before widgets became commonplace, funnily enough when these businesses were making a loss their prices were much better
  • Jump – Jump.com was a start-up with a killer calendar application that Microsoft bought out; the bummer of this was that I lost my email account with the sweet address: ged@jump.com – gutting
  • FTNetwork.com – way before senduit the FT Online offered free email accounts and file storage which was really useful, now its no big thing, but this was back when USB keys weren’t given away like sweets at trade shows
  • BTGenie – web-to-SMS service provided by the Grandaddy of O2 Active. Back then BT was experimenting with all kinds of free services. I was able to send free SMS from my work computer which came in handy managing teams on the ground in CeBIT and could receive messages from clients who emailed a special address that I had gmscarroll@sms.genie.co.uk. All rather prosiac now that my email account is accessed from Nokia E90, but at the time it was very liberating. The Genie service all went to hell when they took the beta label off and let the plebs in

Are there any web services that you would like to seen brought back to life and given a chance, or others that were brilliant during their moment in time? I’d be interested in hearing your take. Passing the baton on to Drew, Jonathan, Becky and Chris.