Lycos, Inc.
A screenshot of as of 2015
Type of businessSubsidiary
Type of site
Search engine and web portal
Available inMultilingual
FoundedMay 1994; 30 years ago (1994-05)
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, U.S.
HeadquartersWaltham, Massachusetts, United States
Founder(s)Michael Loren Mauldin
Key peopleSuresh Reddy, CEO of Ybrant Digital[1]
Revenue$250 million (2009)[2]
Employees450 globally (2017)
ParentYbrant Digital (Brightcom Group)[3]
LaunchedApril 13, 1995; 29 years ago (1995-04-13)
Current statusActive

Lycos, Inc. (stylized as LYCOS), is a web search engine and web portal established in 1994, spun out of Carnegie Mellon University. Lycos also encompasses a network of email, web hosting, social networking, and entertainment websites. The company is based in Waltham, Massachusetts, and is a subsidiary of Ybrant Digital.


The word "Lycos" is short for "Lycosidae", which is Latin for "wolf spider".[4]


This section needs additional citations for verification. Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources in this section. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed.Find sources: "Lycos" – news · newspapers · books · scholar · JSTOR (January 2019) (Learn how and when to remove this message)
This section needs to be updated. Please help update this article to reflect recent events or newly available information. (January 2019)

Lycos is a university spin-off that began in May 1994 as a research project by Michael Loren Mauldin of Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh. Lycos Inc. was formed with approximately US$2 million in venture capital funding from CMGI. Bob Davis became the CEO and first employee of the new company in 1995, and concentrated on building the company into an advertising-supported web portal, led by Bill Townsend, who served as Vice President, Advertising. Lycos enjoyed several years of growth during the 1990s and became the most visited online destination in the world in 1999, with a global presence in more than 40 countries.[5][6]

In April 1996, the company completed the fastest initial public offering from inception to offering in NASDAQ (LCOS) history, ending its first day with a market value of $300 million. It also became the first search engine to go public, before its big rivals Yahoo! and Excite.[7] Lycos started offering e-mail services in October 1997,[8] the same year it became one of the first profitable Internet businesses in the world. In 1998, Lycos acquired for $58 million in an attempt to "break into the portal market".[9]

Lycos Europe was a joint venture between Lycos and the Bertelsmann transnational media corporation, but it has always been a distinct corporate entity. Although Lycos Europe remains the largest of Lycos's overseas ventures, several other Lycos subsidiaries also entered into joint venture agreements including Lycos Canada, Lycos Korea and Lycos Asia.[10]

Lycos was one of the most popular websites on the internet, ranking 8th in 1997, and peaking at 4th in both 1999 and 2001.[11]

On May 16, 2000, near the peak of the dot-com bubble, Lycos announced its intent to be acquired by Terra Networks, the Internet arm of the Spanish telecommunications giant Telefónica, for $12.5 billion.[12] The acquisition price represented a return of nearly 3,000 times the company's initial venture capital investment and about 20 times its initial public offering valuation.[13] The transaction closed in October 2000 and the merged company was renamed Terra Lycos, although the Lycos brand continued to be used in the United States. Overseas, the company continued to be known as Terra Networks.

Having been set back by the dot-com bubble burst, Lycos abandoned its own search crawler in late 2001, and started using FAST.[13]

In August 2004, Terra announced that it was selling Lycos to Seoul, South Korea–based Daum Communications Corporation, now Kakao, for $95.4 million in cash, less than 2% of Terra's initial multibillion-dollar investment.[13] In October 2004, the transaction closed and the company name was changed back to Lycos.[13]

Under new ownership, Lycos began to refocus its strategy. The company moved away from being a search-centric portal and toward a community destination for broadband entertainment content.[13] With a new management team in place, Lycos also began divesting properties that were not core to its new strategy. In July 2006, Wired News, which had been part of Lycos since the purchase of Wired Digital in 1998, was sold[13] to Condé Nast Publications and re-merged with Wired Magazine. The Lycos Finance division, best known for and, was sold[13] to FT Interactive Data Corporation in February 2006, while its online dating site,, was sold[13] to In 2006, Lycos regained ownership of the Lycos trademark from Carnegie Mellon University, allowing the company to rename to Lycos, Inc.[13]

During 2006, Lycos introduced several media services, including Lycos Phone which combined video chat, real-time video on demand, and an MP3 player.[14] In November 2006, Lycos began to roll out applications centered on social media, including its video application, Lycos Cinema, that featured simultaneous watch and chat functionality.[15] In February 2007, Lycos MIX was launched, allowing users to pull video clips from YouTube, Google Video, Yahoo! Video and MySpace Video. Lycos MIX also allowed users to create playlists where other users could add video comments and chat in real-time.[16]

As part of a corporate restructuring to focus on mobile, social networks and location-based services, Daum sold Lycos for $36 million in August 2010 to Ybrant Digital, an Internet marketing company based in Hyderabad, India.[17][18][19] Ybrant Digital paid $20 million at signing and there has been a legal dispute over magnitude of the second installment between Ybrant and Daum. In 2018, a New York court ruled in favor of Daum and appointed Daum (by then merged with Kakao) as receiver of Ybrant's 56% ownership interest in Lycos.[20]

In May 2012, Lycos announced the appointment of former employee Rob Balazy as CEO of Media division of Lycos.[21]

In September 2014, Ed Noel was appointed in place of Rob and manages the operations under the title of General Manager of Lycos Media.[22]

In June 2015, Lycos announced a pair of wearable devices, called Band and Ring.[23]

Lycos Internet was renamed Brightcom Group in May 2018.[24]

Lycos Network sites

Lycos-branded sites

Former Lycos sites

See also


  1. ^ "Suresh Reddy is CEO of Ybrant Digital". August 10, 2015.
  2. ^ Pahwa, Nikhil (August 16, 2010). "Lycos Sold To India's Ybrant Digital For $36 Million". MediaNama. India. Retrieved August 17, 2010.
  3. ^ "Lycos Privacy Policy". May 11, 2023.
  4. ^ Sherman, Chris (2003-10-08). "What's In A (Search Engine's) Name?". Search Engine Watch. Archived from the original on 2015-01-03. Retrieved 2019-02-13.
  5. ^ Scott, Virginia A. (2008). Internet Archive. Greenwood Publishing Group.
  6. ^ Worlock, David (August 20, 2010). "Paradigm Lost". Retrieved April 14, 2013.
  7. ^ "Lycos IPO bodes well for Net stock". CNET. Retrieved 2019-01-28.
  8. ^ Pelline, Jeff. "Yahoo buys Four11 for free email". CNET. Retrieved 2019-01-28.
  9. ^ Price, Christopher (December 15, 1998). "Gateway to the future: Christopher Price gives the lowdown on the sites which offer not only a way into the worldwide web but so much more". Financial Times. p. 16.
  10. ^ "Lycos Asia seeks speed and performance". ZDNet. January 17, 2001.
  11. ^ "Infographic: Top 20 Most Popular Websites (1996-2013)". TechCo. 2014-12-26. Retrieved 2019-02-03.
  12. ^ Kleinbard, David (May 16, 2000). "Lycos in $12.5B deal". CNN.
  13. ^ a b c d e f g h i "Short History of Early Search Engines – The History of SEO". Archived from the original on 2019-01-21. Retrieved 2019-01-28.
  14. ^ "Lycos, Jajah Launch Internet Phone Call Services Today". Los Angeles Times. Associated Press. March 27, 2006.
  15. ^ BYLUND, ANDERS (November 13, 2006). "Lycos Cinema ties chat to movies; content library, technical details disappoint". Ars Technica.
  16. ^ Lowensohn, Josh (February 8, 2007). "Lycos Mix fails to stir". CNET.
  17. ^ "Ybrant Digital Buys Lycos for $36 Million". BusinessWire. Comtex News Network, Inc. August 16, 2010. Retrieved August 16, 2010.
  18. ^ "Ybrant Digital Buys Lycos for $36 Million" (Press release). Business Wire. August 16, 2010.
  19. ^ Reisinger, Don (August 16, 2010). "Lycos is alive, acquired for $36 million". CNET.
  20. ^ "Daum Global Holdings Corp. v. Ybrant Digital Limited et al". May 8, 2018.
  21. ^ Reidy, Chris (May 7, 2012). "Rob Balazy appointed CEO of Lycos". The Boston Globe.
  22. ^ "Ed Noel to head Lycos Media Division". Retrieved 2017-10-11.
  23. ^ Kastrenakes, Jacob (2015-06-04). "The web portal Lycos is releasing a smart band and smart ring". The Verge. Retrieved 2019-01-28.
  24. ^ "Lycos rechristened Brightcom - The Hindu BusinessLine". 11 May 2018.
  25. ^ Lycos "End of free service FAQ" (dated 09 April 2018). Accessed 2018-04-12.
  26. ^ a b Ladendorf, Martina (2002-11-06). "Cyberzines: Irony and Parody as Strategies in a Feminist Sphere". Digital Borderlands: Cultural Studies of Identity and Interactivity on the Internet. By Fornäs, Johan; Klein, Kajsa; Ladendorf, Martina; Sundén, Jenny; Sveningsson, Malin. Switzerland: Peter Lang. p. 119. ISBN 9780820457406.