The Era of Bottom-Up Brands: Google’s Dominance Is Changing the Rules By Which Brands Win Consumer Loyalty

One of my favorite stories in the history of Web business — a chronicle by turns heroic and tragic, ambitious and doomed, shrewd and really, really dumb — is that of Pathfinder, Time Warner’s attempt to dominate the Web by building a common home for its various print titles.Pathfinder began in late 1994, when the Internet was still largely the domain of scientists and academics, and as such was a bold effort. But by the time it was shuttered in 1999, it cost Time Warner some $75 million on paper and immeasurably more in opportunities lost while charging in the wrong direction. (It lives on here as a rather sheepish billboard for Time Warner properties — I probably would have guessed that Coastal Living is “the Web site for people who love the coast.”

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