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La toile du Québec : From Avant-Garde to Artifact

La toile du Québec : From Avant-Garde to Artifact

Although most Quebeckers probably didn’t even notice, 2014 marked the end of a Québec pioneer on the Web, La Toile du Québec, at the ripe old age of 19. Owned by Québécor, La Toile du Québec was an early player in the history and development of the Web, and was behind a number of different experiments and ideas. Market capitalization of its parent company, Netgraphe, exceeded $2 billion at the height of the techno bubble in 1999.

The Failure :

The idea of a ‘directory of Québec websites’ made sense in the late ’90s, before Google, Yahoo! and Bing got better, went global and became household words. The site had certainly been gathering its own cobwebs over the years – an eternity on the Web. And if we’re to believe cofounder Chrystian Guy, La Toile simply missed its chance, “Shutting down was a good business decision in November 2014, but there had been other opportunities to explore a few years back.” Now we’ll never know, but the tattered remains of La Toile can still be found at toile.qc.ca.

The Moral :

This puts us in mind of its US counterpart AltaVista, defunct in 2013. In this supercharged environment, up against giants like Google, the status quo is not an option. And yet, in an increasingly globalized world, there is also a strong trend toward proximity and room for local players.

Image Source : ToileQuébec.ca


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