LinkExchange was a popular internet advertising cooperative, originally known as Internet Link Exchange or ILE.
It was founded in March 1996 by 23-year-old Harvard graduates Tony Hsieh
Tony Hsieh is the CEO of online shoe and clothing shop Zappos.com. Prior to joining Zappos, Hsieh co-founded and sold the internet advertising network LinkExchange to Microsoft in 1999 for $265 million.-Early life:...
and Sanjay Madan. Ali Partovi later joined them as a third partner. In November 1996, when the company consisted of about 10 people, it moved from Hsieh's and Madan's living room to an office in San Francisco. In May 1997, the company received US$3 million in funding from Sequoia Capital
Sequoia Capital is a Californian venture capital firm located on Sand Hill Road in Menlo Park, California. The Wall Street Journal has called Sequoia Capital "one of the highest-caliber venture firms", and noted that it is "one of Silicon Valley's most influential venture-capital firms"...
At its peak, the LinkExchange Banner Network reached over half of Internet enabled households every month, according to Media Metrix.
In June 1998, LinkExchange acquired MerchantPlanet, an early shopping cart and credit card application. That same month it also acquired Submit It! Inc., developers of Submit It!, ClickTrade, and ListBot.
In November 1998, when LinkExchange had 100 employees, it was acquired by Microsoft
Microsoft Corporation is an American public multinational corporation headquartered in Redmond, Washington, USA that develops, manufactures, licenses, and supports a wide range of products and services predominantly related to computing through its various product divisions...
for US$265 million.