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Viaweb was a web-based application that allowed users to build and host their own online stores with little effort and technical expertise, directly from their own web browser. The eponymous company was started in July 1995 by Paul Graham, Robert Morris, and Trevor Blackwell.[1] Graham claims that Viaweb was the first application service provider.[2] Viaweb was also unusual for being partially written in the Lisp programming language.

The software was originally called Webgen,[3] but another company was using the same name,[4] so the company renamed it to Viaweb, "because it worked via the Web".[5]

In 1998, Yahoo! Inc. bought Viaweb for 455,000 shares of Yahoo! stock, valued at about $49 million, and renamed it Yahoo! Store.[6][7]

Viaweb's example has been influential in Silicon Valley's entrepreneurial culture, largely due to Graham's widely read essays, and his subsequent career as a successful venture capitalist.[8]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Livingston, Jessica (January 2007). Founders at Work: Stories of Startups' Early Days. Apress. pp. 207–208. ISBN 978-1-59059-714-9. 
  2. ^ Livingston, Jessica (January 2007). Founders at Work: Stories of Startups' Early Days. Apress. p. 206. ISBN 978-1-59059-714-9. 
  3. ^ Paul Graham (1995-08-24). "Viaweb's First Business Plan". Retrieved 2011-02-16. 
  4. ^ Paul Graham (April 2005). "Why Smart People Have Bad Ideas". Retrieved 2011-02-16. 
  5. ^ Paul Graham (April 2001). "Beating the Averages". Retrieved 2011-02-16. 
  6. ^ Randy Weston (1998-06-09). "Yahoo buys Viaweb for $49 million". CNET News. Retrieved 2011-02-16. 
  7. ^ "Company news: Yahoo buying Viaweb, a web marketing software maker". New York Times. 1998-06-09. Retrieved 2011-02-16. 
  8. ^ Christopher Steiner (2010-10-20). "The Disruptor In The Valley". Forbes. Retrieved 2011-02-16. 

External links[edit]