How the Scary have Fallen….
Today, just for the hell of it, I popped by www.communicate.com to see what they were up to. It was a scary visit.
The crappy, text-only logo up top. The sad, poor attempt at being a “portal”. The utter lack of content or style. Chilling.
See, Communicate.com used to be one of the main webdevs in Vancouver. They did some pretty decent designs in their day, including one I always thought was very cool for the (1998) time, the Westminster Credit Savings Bank website. They did all the original art, and while I never would have picked that font they used for the menu, the site still holds up nicely today, some 3+ years after it was built.
Communicate.com had competent people in illustration, design, Flash, and programming, and back in the day (again, 1998, 1999), their website was fairly cutting edge while maintaining a bit of conservatism. Communicate also had a fairly big asset… for the time. They owned a lot of common domain names, like wrestling.com, perfume.com, vancouver.com, sports.com, swimming.com, you name it. See, back even further in time, the founder of communicate.com registered most of these common domain names, even before it cost money to register a dot com (bet you didn’t know that once upon a time, it didn’t cost anything to reg a .com domain name :-)). And they held onto them.
For some (strange) reason, back in 1999 (or it might have been early 2K), Communicate.com decided to pack up their web dev business, and go full force into designing portals based around these common domain names. Press releases were issued, big articles in the local papers, they were going to make a mint… and their timing couldn’t have been worse.
Rumour has it Communicate.com was offered lots of money for many of these domain names. I heard that Revlon offered them 2 million for perfume.com… back in the day. But Communicate.com was greedy, and frankly they were also stupid. They put $10, $15 mil price tags on some of these domain names. When no offers poured in (well, a few did for some names), they decided, WTF, let’s do it on our own – develop mega portals designed around wrestling, around rugby, around hockey, around perfume, etc etc. Design portals for Vietnam, for Malaysia, go for it. And as I said above, their timing couldn’t have been works.
Because it was in 2K that the Net bubble burst. The lunacy ended. The mega bucks for domain names dried up. The mega bucks for portals schema of things evaporated. And Communicate sunk like a dead lead weight. And look at what they are today. All that remains of their old professionalism, their old logo is the little broadcast icon they put on their crappy, 3rdparty search engine portal pages. The few “active” portal sites basically… well, suck. Perfume.com, instead of going to Revlon with a few million into Communicate’s bank account, now points to a third rate design, questionable ecommerce trustworthy website called PerfumesAmerica.
I knew a few people who used to work for Communicate. Such a shame… top management on down were so ignorant…