Lycos Europe said last week that it would shut down its web hosting business as part of a larger unwinding of its European network of Internet operations. Lycos Europe said it would seek a buyer for its domain name and e-commerce divisions, as well as its Danish web portal.
But there are apparently no buyers interested in the company’s money-losing hosting operations, which has 20 employees and offers shared hosting and virtual private servers. The company didn’t provide a current tally on the scope of its hosting business. But as of late 2006, Lycos Europe hosted more than 200,000 web sites, placing it among the top 10 web hosts in Europe, according to Netcraft.
It’s been a while since I can recall a web hosting operation of substantial size just shutting its doors. It will be interesting to see how the unwinding is managed, and whether Lycos Europe eventually finds someone to assume the hosting accounts, or simply gives customers a drop-dead date by which they must migrate their accounts.
Lycos Europe’s lineage traces back to the web search engine popular in the mid-1990s, which was bought by Spain’s Terra Networks in 2000. Lycos Europe was part of Terra Lycos until 2004, when it was spun off into a separate company at the same time Lycos Inc. was sold to South Korea’s Daum.
Lycos Europe acquired many of its hosted sites through its purchase of United Domains of Germany in 2004.
The company made headlines in late 2004 when it distributed Make Love Not Spam, a “screensaver that spams the spammers,” using idle computer time to attack sites that had been blacklisted for abusive spamming practices. The campaign, designed to appeal to e-mail users fed up with spam, was widely criticized by the Internet security community, and the site was blocked by major connectivity providers before being discontinued.