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

Status: Defunct

2. Kforce

Status: Still exists

3. Etrade

Status: Still exists

4. Netpliance

Status: Defunct

5. WebMD

Status: Still exists

6. E-Stamp

Status: Folded into another stamp site

7. e1040

Status: Defunct

8. EDS

Status: Consumed by HP

9. MicroStrategy

Status: Still kicking

10. Monster

Status: Still around


Status: LOL


Status: Nope

13. Lifeminders

Status: Defunct

14. LastMinuteTravel

Status: Still around, but marginal

15. Britannica

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

16. OnMoney

Status: Dead

17. Hot Jobs

Status: Gobbled by

18. Our Beginning

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