Mindspark Interactive Network

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MindSpark
Founded 1999, Irvington, New York as CTC Bulldog
Founder(s) Bill Daugherty and Jonas Steinman[1]
Headquarters Yonkers, New York[2], United States
Area served Worldwide
Parent IAC/InterActiveCorp
Website www.mindspark.com

Mindspark Interactive Network, Inc. in an American digital applications company with a primary concentration on interactive products and web portals. Based in Yonkers, New York, it is a subsidiary of publicly traded IAC/InterActiveCorp. The company was originally incorporated under the name CTC Bulldog, Inc. with the launch of its first project, iWon.com. Prior to being acquired by IAC/InterActiveCorp, it went through numerous acquisitions and name changes and was also previously known as iWon, Inc., The Excite Network, and Interactive Search Holdings. Mindspark has other offices located in Los Angeles, CA; Oakland, CA; New York, NY; Bellevue, WA; and Ra'anana, Israel.

History[edit]

Mindspark was created out of the idea for iWon, a free casual game site and web portal that allows players to win cash for charities.[3] The idea for iWon was conceived by Bill Daugherty and Jonas Steinman in 1999 while brainstorming for an ideas to develop Internet products.[4] Daugherty and Steinman incorporated as CTC Bulldog, Inc. and established offices in Irvington, New York.[3] They launched iWon in October of 1999, with initial funding coming from CBS.[5][4] CTC Bulldog re-branded as iWon.com Inc. and the following year launched a sales team and set up offices in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Chicago.[6]

The company expanded in 2001 with the purchase of Excite, an online service portal providing content that included news and weather, a search engine, web-based email, instant messaging, stock quotes, and a variety of other content.[7] It purchased the assets of the company out of bankruptcy but did not receive any of the equipment or code.[8] It recreated the features of Excite with its own infrastructure of iWon, including customer's portal settings.[8] iWon re-branded with the purchase of Excite, changing its name to The Excite Network.[9] The Excite Network launched a new online portal called MyWay.com in 2002, which replaced many of Yahoo's popular features without advertisements, fees and intrusive privacy policies.[10] That same year, the company launched several entertainment products such as SmileyCentral, Cursormania, and PopularScreensavers. It also went through additional name changes, starting with Focus Interactive and then Interactive Search Holdings.

By December 2003, properties of Interactive Search Holdings reached 17% of US Internet users.[11] The properties included iWon.com, Excite.com, MyWay.com, MyWebSearch, and online advertising sales firm MaxOnline. It was also the 9th most visited property in 2003.[12] Interactive was purchased by Ask Jeeves in 2004 for $501 million in stock and cash.[13][14] The following year, Ask Jeeves was purchased by IAC for $1.9 billion in stock.[15] The acquisition included changing the name of Interactive Search Holdings to IAC Consumer Application & Portals (IAC CAP), a wholly owned subsidiary of IAC/InterActiveCorp. In 2006, IAC CAP launched Zwinky, a virtual world in which the users have the opportunity to communicate and play with other people.[16] The same year, IAC/InterActiveCorp acquired Vimeo, making it a part of IAC CAP in 2008. In 2007, IAC CAP launched Webfetti.com, a site that allows users to customize their social networking profile pages and blogs. It continued to expand the following year with the acquisition of StarNet Interactive, the parent company of the website GirlSense.com. In 2009, IAC Consumer Applications & Portals was renamed Mindspark Interactive, the current name of the company.

After its name change to Mindspark Interactive, Joey Levin was appointed from Senior Vice President to CEO, succeeding John Park.[17] The Ask Partner Network became part of Mindspark, transitioning from a division of Ask.com. Mindspark began to expand rapidly in 2010. It bought a majority stake in DailyBurn, a health and fitness company with approximately 2.5 million members.[18] It also made the transition into virtual world gaming and social gaming with the launch of a new division named Mindspark Worlds,[17] and added VoxPop's gaming platform with the purchase of the company in 2011.[19]

In the third quarter of 2010, IAC’s search revenue increased 20 percent over the previous year to $205.1 million, while operating income in the search business was up 43 percent to $28.9 million.[20] The increase was attributed to the company's toolbar business.[20] Mindspark moved its headquarters to Yonkers, New York in 2013. It is located in a renovated 40,000 square foot building, previously owned by the Otis Elevator Company.[21]

Interactive products and web portals[edit]

Mindspark operates more than 80 interactive products and web portals.[21] The interactive products include virtual world Zwinky and Zwinky Cuties; casual game sites such as iWon, Retrogamer.com and GamingWonderland.com; social and entertainment websites such as Webfetti.com, MyWebFace.com, Girlsense.com, PopularScreensavers.com and MyFuncards.com; fitness product DailyBurn; and toolbar products such as TVF, Cursor Mania, Guffins, CouponAlert, and Television Fanatic.

The MyWebSearch Toolbar also known as MyWay Speedbar, MyWay Education Guide, MyWay Searchbar, MyAllSearch Search Assistant, MyWay Search Assistant or MyWeb Searchbar is a web-browser add-on that provides search function to the browser menu. The toolbar was required in many of Mindspark products, allowing user to query MyWebSearch search engine.[22][23]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Wasserman, Noam (2012). The Founder's Dilemmas: Anticipating and Avoiding the Pitfalls That Can Sink a Startup. Princeton University Press. ISBN 9781400841936. 
  2. ^ Spano, Mike (25 November 2013). "Spano: Mindspark Found It All In Yonkers". Yonkers Daily Voice. Retrieved 25 February 2014. 
  3. ^ a b "CBS Buys Majority Stake in IWon.com". LA Times. 6 October 1999. Retrieved 25 February 2014. 
  4. ^ a b Sullivan, Danny (3 February 2000). "iWon Wins Users". Search Engine Watch. Retrieved 25 February 2014. 
  5. ^ "Convergence creates controversy". Lubbock Avalanche Journal. 5 April 2000. Retrieved 25 February 2014. 
  6. ^ Gunther, Marc (16 October 2000). "Eyes On The Prize An upstart Internet portal grabs market share with a shockingly simple idea". CNN Money. Retrieved 25 February 2014. 
  7. ^ Hansell, Saul (27 December 2001). "In Rewritten Internet Fables, the Late Bird Gets the Worm". The New York Times. Retrieved 25 February 2014. 
  8. ^ a b Gilbert, Alorie (8 January 2002). "iWon fumbles Excite transition". Cnet. Retrieved 25 February 2014. 
  9. ^ Dignan, Larry (28 December 2001). "iWon completes Excite.com takeover". Cnet. Retrieved 25 February 2014. 
  10. ^ Hansell, Saul (28 October 2002). "Technology, Ad-Free Site From the Masters of the Web HardSell". The New York Times. Retrieved 25 February 2014. 
  11. ^ Rohde, Laura (5 March 2004). "Ask Jeeves buys Interactive Search". Computer World. Retrieved 25 February 2014. 
  12. ^ Sherman, Chris (7 April 2004). "Ask Jeeves: Why Buy Interactive Search Holdings?". Search Engine Watch. Retrieved 25 February 2014. 
  13. ^ Kontzer, Tony (4 March 2004). "Ask Jeeves Plunks Down $343 Million For Interactive Search Holdings". Information Week. Retrieved 25 February 2014. 
  14. ^ "Ask Jeeves completes $501M purchase of search competitor". San Francisco Business Journals. 6 May 2004. Retrieved 25 February 2014. 
  15. ^ "Ask Jeeves bought for $1.9B". CNN Money. 21 March 2005. Retrieved 25 February 2014. 
  16. ^ Cashmore, Pete (6 December 2006). "Zwinky Launches". Mashable. Retrieved 25 February 2014. 
  17. ^ a b Kramer, Staci D. (9 November 2009). "IAC’s Mindspark Changes CEOs; Fisher Takes Corporate M&A Lead". Gigaom. Retrieved 25 February 2014. 
  18. ^ Wauters, Robin (20 May 2010). "IAC Buys Into Fitness Social Network DailyBurn". Tech Crunch. Retrieved 25 February 2014. 
  19. ^ Rao, Leena (10 February 2011). "IAC’s Mindspark Acquires Pop Culture Gaming Platform VoxPop". Tech Crunch. Retrieved 25 February 2014. 
  20. ^ a b Stone, Brad; Brett Pulley (9 November 2010). "IAC’s Barry Diller Surrenders to Google, Ends Ask.com’s Search Effort". Bloomberg. Retrieved 25 February 2014. 
  21. ^ a b Garcia, Ernie (18 November 2013). "Former Otis building in Yonkers new headquarters for Mindspark Interactive". The Journal News. Retrieved 25 February 2014. 
  22. ^ "Mywebsearch.com Summary". McAfee Site Advisor. Retrieved 25 February 2014. 
  23. ^ "Why Does Norton 2009 Ignore MyWebSearch". Norton Community Forum. 7 July 2009. Retrieved 25 February 2014.