Feeds

Excite rises again like a turkey from the ashes

Will this be third time lucky for dotcom boom darling?

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

Remember Excite? With the logo where the X looks like a dancing bloke? Well, it is trying again, for the third time, to recapture its dotcom boom glory - this time with a Webmail service.

"Get your old Excite-address back or register a new address with Inbox Excite," is Excite UK's fresh pitch. Excite Europe's business development manager Dr Bernhard Berger told us more: "We finally wanted to offer to our users the possibility to register their favourite Excite usernames - which are in many cases those usernames they had lost when Excite@Home terminated its operations.

"There have been around 1,000,000 Excite Inbox users then," he continued, "and we are glad to provide a chance for everyone who once had an Excite account to get it back now."

Unfortunately "have been" are very much the key words here. Excite has had a torrid time since its first inception and despite constant efforts to revive the "brand" (after all, Excite is a good name for a Net company), this looks like not so much a phoenix but a Christmas turkey rising from the ashes.

Dr Berger is quite honest about its modest aims. "We are just at the beginning - so please judge the product for what it is: a solid and basic beta, with a regularly sized storage (10MB) and a clear focus on core functionality. For now, the task was to provide a robust and user-friendly web-mail client. During the next months we are going to add numerous features, and we are convinced that our users are going to appreciate all the things we have got in our production pipeline for them."

But with the kind of bad luck that only such a troubled company can muster, Excite has launched a limited Webmail service right in the middle of a Webmail revolution sparked by Google's decision to turn the entire market on its head by offering 1GB of free storage on Gmail. Microsoft is responding heavily, as is Yahoo and just about every other big Internet name. Excite has come running out of the trenches, rifle in hand, ready to get stuck back in just as the tanks have arrived.

We wish it all the best, but Excite has missed the boat and it needs to stop reliving its glory days and come up with a radically different approach to selling the Excite name.

A brief history of Excite's woes

Excite@Home was formed by three US cable companies - Tele-Communications, Cox and Comcast just as the Internet was taking off. It worked well until AT&T got hold of Tele-Communications' share and started using the company for its own ends.

Numerous boardrooms battles broke out, with AT&T inevitably winning out and taking control of the company before running it into the ground and taking all the parts of it that it wanted. The dotcom boom frontrunner filed bankruptcy in October 2001.

In the UK, the parent Excite company had joined with BT's ISP arm BT Openworld to create Excite UK. But as soon as Excite@Home went into bankruptcy, BT decided it would go its own route. The company died. But was then reborn eight months later in July 2002 when ruthless aggregator Tiscali relaunched it as a portal. Since then, Tiscali has put almost no investment into the company with the net result that it has all but disappeared off the radar screen.

Tiscali still owns 100 per cent of Excite UK but Dr Berger assures us it operates quite independently. Without significant investment and some radical innovative ideas though, such independence is worthless. ®

Related stories

Google blocks Gmail exploit
Tiscali to launch Excite across Europe
Excite to exit UK unless buyer found

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

More from The Register

next story
Scrapping the Human Rights Act: What about privacy and freedom of expression?
Justice minister's attack to destroy ability to challenge state
WHY did Sunday Mirror stoop to slurping selfies for smut sting?
Tabloid splashes, MP resigns - but there's a BIG copyright issue here
DVLA website GOES TITSUP on day paper car tax discs retire
Welcome to GOV.UK - digital by de ... FAULT
Hey Brit taxpayers. You just spent £4m on Central London ‘innovation playground’
Catapult me a Mojito, I feel an Digital Innovation coming on
EU probes Google’s Android omerta again: Talk now, or else
Spill those Android secrets, or we’ll fine you
Google hits back at 'Dear Rupert' over search dominance claims
Choc Factory sniffs: 'We're not pirate-lovers - also, you publish The Sun'
EU to accuse Ireland of giving Apple an overly peachy tax deal – report
Probe expected to say single-digit rate was unlawful
Inequality increasing? BOLLOCKS! You heard me: 'Screw the 1%'
There's morality and then there's economics ...
While you queued for an iPhone 6, Apple's Cook sold shares worth $35m
Right before the stock took a 3.8% dive amid bent and broken mobe drama
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
The next step in data security
With recent increased privacy concerns and computers becoming more powerful, the chance of hackers being able to crack smaller-sized RSA keys increases.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.