Excite@Home's Magellan search service, long abandoned by users and Excite itself, was finally put out of its misery and quietly closed about two months ago.
Magellan was once a contender in the web-wide search space. Back in 1995 and 1996, it was counted among the major players, a primarily-human powered directory to the web.
Excite acquired the service in July 1996, then later went on to acquire WebCrawler in November of that year. That gave the company three major search engines, in all, and Magellan quickly became the neglected sibling among the lot. In recent years, Magellan has essentially had Excite's search results, albeit with a different look and feel.
With hardly anyone going to the site any longer, Excite@Home decided to close the service in April. Users trying to reach the former site are now directed to Excite.com.
"Usage of Magellan has decreased considerably over time. The total page views accounted for less than 0.5 percent of our total search traffic. We felt it no longer made sense to continue to operate Magellan as a separate service, and that we could offer our users a better experience by redirecting them to Excite," said Lynne Mariani Pogue, who oversees search for Excite@Home.
Why not kill WebCrawler, which itself has been neglected in past years?
"WebCrawler is a different story. While WebCrawler's traffic is less than Excite's, it is still significant and contributes to our network page views and reach. Search is the most frequently used feature of WebCrawler, and we are in the process of redesigning the site to make it more search and directory oriented," Pogue said.
Be aware that while the look and feel of WebCrawler may be different, but the search results are exactly the same as from Excite. For webmasters, that means if you are listed with Excite, you'll also be showing up at WebCrawler.
By the way, Excite itself is undergoing some relevancy improvements this month, so you may see some changes over in the coming weeks. I'll be looking more closely at these, when work has concluded and the final release is in place.
This is where Magellan used to live -- now it just leads back to Excite.