The 18 Most Ridiculous Ads Of The Dot-Com Super Bowl

Instagram has people talking about BUBBLES again. So let’s look back at the defining moment of the first dot-com bubble: Super Bowl XXXIV, in the year 2000.

Are we in another bubble? Yes. How bad is it? Dunno! Maybe terrible, maybe not. The amounts of money in play are just as disorienting, and some of the company valuations are just as untethered to reality. It’s all very familiar, especially to someone who lived through the last one.

One thing that’s surely different, though, is the commercials: new startups don’t have ‘em. In the year 2000, companies with literally thousands of users were spending millions of dollars on TV ads. Say what you will about the current crop of startups, but they’re not doing that. The only tech companies doing any TV advertising are the ones actually making money.

It’s hard to pinpoint a tipping point on something like the dot-com bubble — the tippy-top of the Dow’s chart was thrust upward and pulled back down by more than just tech stocks — but Super Bowl XXXIV, which had over a dozen ads for startups, many of which the broader public had never heard of, might be it. Things were as ridiculous as they were ever going to get, and on the biggest possible stage. If you don’t remember what that time was like, or never knew, these ads tell the story better than any one person could.

Ad videos via Adland

1. Epidemic

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Status: Defunct

2. Kforce

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Status: Still exists

3. Etrade

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Status: Still exists

4. Netpliance

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Status: Defunct

5. WebMD

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Status: Still exists

6. E-Stamp

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Status: Folded into another stamp site

7. e1040

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Status: Defunct

8. EDS

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Status: Consumed by HP

9. MicroStrategy

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Status: Still kicking

10. Monster

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Status: Still around

11. Pets.com

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Status: LOL

12. Computer.com

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Status: Nope

13. Lifeminders

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Status: Defunct

14. LastMinuteTravel

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Status: Still around, but marginal

15. Britannica

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Status: Not exactly a startup, and technically still around. But, you know, Wikipedia.

16. OnMoney

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Status: Dead

17. Hot Jobs

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Status: Gobbled by Monster.com

18. Our Beginning

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Status: Domain belongs to a daycare center in Seattle, so…

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