12 Tech Disasters That Lost Millions

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  12 Tech Disasters That Lost Millions

Amazon, eBay, Zappos, Alibaba, and Netflix are all prominent websites launched in the 90s that most are familiar with. Each was early to selling online and saw great success. At one time, many people thought Pets.com would be among them. Mostly it was the people running Pets.com who thought it would go on to great success — but it didn’t.

Pets.com launched in 1998 as the premier web destination for the needs of all pet owners. In the late 1990s, the internet was still a world of dial-up connections and slow-loading websites. Some early adopters started on small budgets and used various strategies to build a customer base slowly and consistently. Pets.com decided to raise as much venture capital as possible and dump it into advertising. 

Jeff Fischer of The Motley Fool wrote, “When the company went public on Valentine’s Day this year, management knew that very soon it would need more money given its marketing spending plan.” Furthermore, the people that ran Pets.com did little market research and somehow didn’t realize their most profitable items, like food and litter, are heavy and costly to ship. The smaller and cheaper to ship items like dog toys don’t make up enough volume to produce the regular and consistent profits the consumables would.

By the turn of the millennium, The New Tork Times reported that Pets.com shut down having run through $147 million and Computer World noted the domain Pets.com had been sold to Petsmart by the end of 2000.

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