Is HotBot still around? Not in the way we used to know it: this former search engine is now exclusively a VPN. We enjoyed tracking and analyzing this search engine when it was around, so we’re keeping our past analysis up for posterity. 


HotBot used to be a really cool search engine started by Wired Magazine. Like us, it was launched in 1996. It was free, easy to get listed, and provided a quick, down-and-dirty search. Plus, it was one of the first search engines to allow web masters to put a copy of the engine on their sites.

Things change, especially quickly on the Internet.

In 1998, Lycos purchased HotBot. By 2002 it was another meta search engine crammed with paid advertising. Now, HotBot search results are provided by Lycos, and Lycos search results are provided by Yahoo!, and of course, Yahoo! search results are provided by Bing. So, HotBot search results are hybridized (by Lycos) Bing search results which are provided to Lycos through the Yahoo! Search API.

“Lycos is not the source of any listing being included in our search results. We work with Yahoo! and they provide us the search feed, which we display on our website. Contractually, Lycos can not and do not edit or remove any results we get from Yahoo! API.”
Source: Lycos Knowledge Base