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Hotbot logo.png
Type of site
Web search engine
Available inEnglish language
Alexa rankNegative increase 267,802 (As of 12 April 2017)[1]
LaunchedMay 1996; 22 years ago (1996-05)
Current statusActive

HotBot was a metasearch engine for information on the world wide web. It is now a privately owned front end using Bing search for its search results.


Hotbot was launched in May 1996 by Wired magazine. It became a popular tool with search results served by the Inktomi database and directory results provided originally by LookSmart and then DMOZ since mid-1999. Hotbot also used search data from Direct Hit for a period, which was a tool that used click-through data to manipulate results. It was launched using a "new links" strategy of marketing, claiming to update its search database more often than its competitors. It also offered free webpage hosting, but only for a short time, and it was taken down without any notice to its users. It was one of the first search engines to offer the ability to search within search results.

Lycos acquired HotBot as part of its acquisition of Wired in 1998 and thereafter HotBot languished with limited development and falling market share. At the end of 2002 HotBot was relaunched as a multiple option search tool, giving users the option to search either the FAST, Google, Inktomi or Teoma databases.[2]

Up to 2011, the HotBot website was merely a front end for three third-party search engines (, MSN, and In July 2011, HotBot was relaunched with a new robot-like mascot, a new logo, and a modern site design. In the beta, HotBot became a portal, returning not just web search results, but also searches from various Lycos websites, such as News, Shopping and Weather Zombie. The portal interface lasted for roughly six months, and these features were instead reincorporated into the 2012 Lycos website redesign, returning HotBot to a simplified search interface.

In October 2016, Lycos sold the domain name for $155,000 to an unnamed buyer.[3]

Toolbar launch in 2004[edit]

In early 2004, Lycos launched a beta release of a free toolbar search product, Lycos HotBot DeskTop, which the company said was "the first product to integrate traditional desktop search with Web search within the browser." The HotBot DeskTop could search the Internet using Inktomi, e-mail folders for Microsoft Outlook or Outlook Express, and user documents stored on a hard drive. It also incorporated a blocker for pop-up ads and an RSS News Reader syndication. Indexes created to track e-mail and user files remained stored locally to protect user privacy. Text-based ads were displayed when viewing results for several types of Internet searches. Lycos licensed dtSearch technology to power the local search options.[4]


  1. ^ " Site Info". Alexa Internet.
  2. ^ HotBot: A brief history of the HotBot search engine
  3. ^ ALLEMANN, ANDREW (October 4, 2016). "Lycos sells for $155,000". Domain Name Wire.
  4. ^ Lycos HotBot Offers Free DeskTop Toolbar - March, 2004

External links[edit]