Robert Hoffer

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American businessman Robert Hoffer has over the past 25 years worked primarily in technology and software. Initially developing and launching one of the first online yellow pages Hoffer is also credited with having developed instant messaging agents, web-based scratch-off games and several other now commonplace technologies. He has worked with for or consulted at over the years many large corporations including Apple Computer, AOL, Xerox, PepsiCo, Playboy, Citibank, and Lipton.


Hoffer often promotes the message that "everything old is new again" - arguing that many of today's inventions are simply repackaged versions of old ideas.[1] This may be the driving force behind his work as co-founder of several Internet companies including: Infospace Corp., an Internet directory services provider; Query Labs, offering third-party directory services to newspapers and media firms; and, which launched the hotly debated concept of interstitial advertising.[2] His vision is often credited with bringing products to market that today are used by millions of people, and have been purchased by companies like Yahoo, Microsoft, and others for millions of dollars. For example, in 1995, Hoffer was instrumental[3] in bringing the first web-based national Yellow and White pages online, which were later licensed and co-branded with Yahoo, Nynex, American Express, Excite@Home, Lycos, and others.


As the co-founder of Colloquis in 2000, Hoffer created the first commercially viable online robot for instant messaging, securing a controversial[4] patent for the technology.[5] In 2006, Microsoft purchased ActiveBuddy (now Colloquis) for $46 million.[6]


  1. ^ "Is There Anything New? An Interview with Robert Hoffer"
  2. ^ " Entrepreneurs Set Careless Spellers Straight
  3. ^ Praise & Workout founder recalls interview with Robert Hoffer
  4. ^ "Naraine, Ryan; “ActiveBuddy’s Patent Win Riles IM Bot Developers”;; August 15, 2002"
  5. ^ US 6993555 
  6. ^ "Got A Question? Microsoft's Newly Acquired Software May Have The Answers"