Talkin' Bout a Webolution
October 15, 2013 9:57 AM   Subscribe

The awkwardly titled [2000] book, " The webolution of shopping to 2010," touches on everything from music downloads to grocery delivery, with a big emphasis on lists. And it's Feather's list for the 50 largest online retailers of 2010 which now stands as a fascinating time capsule of the first dot-com bubble. Naturally, Webvan makes the Top 5.
posted by Horace Rumpole (16 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Aah, Webvan.

Takes me back to shortly before my dot com agency barred staff computers from accessing
posted by colie at 10:51 AM on October 15, 2013 [4 favorites]

Otherwise, some of these predictions weren't half bad. It was a smart move on his part to stick with a lot of established companies, including banks, consumer goods and major media companies.

No, it was not smart, but dull. "I see the future ... and it looks a lot like today! But with a few new big companies!" The top 5 (Wal-Mart, AOL-TimeWarner,,, was where he took the most risks per guesses. Quixtar got bought out by Amway, so it didn't completely die, but redirects to Of the remaining 45, only 5 have folded.

Oh, and as of 2009, was an service.
posted by filthy light thief at 11:15 AM on October 15, 2013

Given Amazon's current strategy of same-day delivery, I don't think that this prediction was wrong, exactly; they just picked the wrong horse. I'm reserving my mockery for their picks of AOL-Time Warner & Quixtar.

Quixtar sounds like either a saturday morning cartoon or a breakfast cereal.
posted by leotrotsky at 11:17 AM on October 15, 2013

The probably just needed to wait a few years and have deeper pockets and better infrastructure. That said, has Amazon Fresh moved out of experimental status?
posted by Artw at 11:28 AM on October 15, 2013

I ordered groceries from Webvan a few times. Loved it. Great service. We now have which is pretty much the same thing, only higher fees.
posted by dnash at 11:38 AM on October 15, 2013

Quixtar sounds like a failed attempt to spin-off a DVD mailing operation.
posted by ckape at 11:38 AM on October 15, 2013 [4 favorites]

From time to time, in SF, I will see a painted over delivery van that was obviously a WebVan bought at liquidation auction and smile the biggest smile ever.

Well after their demise, WebVan ads still sticked the cup holders at the (then new) SF Giants ballpark. Some felt it was a little awkward, but I felt it paired well with the giant Enron logo on the scoreboard.
posted by MiltonRandKalman at 12:22 PM on October 15, 2013

We still have a pair of Webvan refrigerator magnets. We have them arranged as if they were two elephants mating.
posted by mosk at 12:30 PM on October 15, 2013 [1 favorite]

I was in the room with a Primary Principal of Border's books, not long after the company had been sold in the 90's. This was in a meeting with a VC. I asked that Principal to consider spending some of his new found cash on an internet version of Borders, because he understood the book business, and Amazon was still at a a fledgling stage. His paraphrased comment: "Nobody will every accomplish what Border's Books did; we did it all". He went on to spend a pile on WebVan a fw months later, and lost it all. We all know how Amazon turned out.
posted by Vibrissae at 12:44 PM on October 15, 2013 [1 favorite]

Who's the Webvan of our generation?

Twitter, right? It's totally Twitter. What do I win?
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 12:46 PM on October 15, 2013

What a terrible list. It doesn't even have Groupon!
posted by ckape at 1:44 PM on October 15, 2013

So what happened to Groupon? I heard tales of unsustainable revenue, massive losses, and creative accounting. Then nothing!

I was promised a giant messy implosion. I feel like I was ripped off.
posted by ryanrs at 3:00 PM on October 15, 2013 [1 favorite]

I think anyone who could've predicted the end of AOL in 2000 would've been a true genius, so let be the one who bravely predicts right now that well before 2023, Facebook will be as laughable is Myspace.

Someone save this and remind me if I'm right, so I can gloat a bit.
posted by MoxieProxy at 4:42 PM on October 15, 2013

Aol is still a huge company. Do you still want to be reminded?
posted by Potomac Avenue at 5:20 PM on October 15, 2013

AOL owns The Huffington Post and Engadget, amongst others.
posted by Artw at 5:46 PM on October 15, 2013

The writing was on the wall as far as AOL communities went in 1999 - because that was a large part of the reason I quit my job there. However, they still have viable's just much different from what AOL was in the late 90s.
posted by fluffy battle kitten at 5:55 PM on October 15, 2013

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