The growth, marketing strategy, and demise of Pets.com : The Indicator from Planet Money The tech bubble of the 90s was a time when companies with weak business models and flashy advertising secured massive investments. This is the story of perhaps the most infamous case study: Pets.com.
NPR logo

The Lessons Of Pets.com

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/933951757/933953737" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript
The Lessons Of Pets.com

The Lessons Of Pets.com

The Lessons Of Pets.com

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/933951757/933953737" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript
Bob Riha Jr./Getty Images
The pets.com sock puppet dog stars in a commercial for the company, Los Angeles, California, January 11, 2000.  (Photo by Bob Riha/Liaison/Getty Images)
Bob Riha Jr./Getty Images

At the start of the 1990s, only around 15 percent of American households had a personal computer in the home. By the time Y2K rolled around, that figure had more than doubled, giving over a third of Americans access to the digital world.

That jump in home computing penetration in the 90s triggered a surge of venture capital investment in web-based startups. Some of the investments made obvious sense: they had solid business models and a path to profitability. Others were merely flashy, exciting, and had .com at the end of their company names.

Julia Furlan is host of Go For Broke, a podcast documenting the Tech Bubble of the 90s, and she joins the show to tell the story of perhaps the most infamous case study of the era: Pets.com.

Music by Drop Electric. Find us: Twitter / Facebook / Newsletter.

Subscribe to our show on Apple Podcasts, PocketCasts and NPR One.