eCode was arguably the earliest Social Network – before facebook, LinkedIn, MySpace, Friendster…
“eCode.com exploits the essence of the web to allow users to network with each other“
— Aug 4, 1998. Press Release at launch.
An eCode was designed to be your one-word handle/username to be used all across the web. Tied to your eCode was your personal contact information. With privacy controlled by the user, one could share one’s eCode e.g. JohnD and recipients could automatically add your information to their address book. You, JohnD, controlled who had access to your cell phone number, and who just to your work number. When you switched jobs, or your information changed, you just updated it in this one central repository and the changes were instantly & automatically visible to those-authorized. It used this concept to develop a social network along with a NewsFeed. Coupled to this fundamental concept user’s also had cloud based storage for “My Files” and “My Photos.” Just like we carry business cards, keys, and wallets in our pockets; the keys for the digital world are comprised of username/passwords, so eCode had an AutoLogin functionality. eCode also introduced single sign-on functionality, as well as mobile wallets and payments back in 1999/2000.
The company had millions of users, raised millions of dollars in funding, multiple rounds of financing, and was hailed as unicorn – back in 2000. The company was a late stage venture on its path to S-1 filings for an Initial Public Offering right when the bottom fell out from the .com bust. While it is a much longer story (we thought we “had arrived”), suffice it to say for now, the company was one of the victims of that era and is no longer around.
One can see a sample of the product offerings’ brochures, news sightings, and a powerpoint presentation on what the vision was.