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Viaweb was a web-based application that allowed users to build and host their own online stores with little technical expertise using a web browser. The company was started in July 1995 by Paul Graham, Robert Morris, and Trevor Blackwell.[1] Graham claims 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]