WebCrawler was the first Web search engine to provide full text search. It was bought by America Online on June 1, 1995 and sold to Excite on April 1, 1997. WebCrawler was acquired by InfoSpace in 2001 after Excite (which was then called Excite@Home) went bankrupt. InfoSpace also owns and operates the metasearch engines Dogpile and MetaCrawler.
WebCrawler was originally a separate search engine with its own database, and displayed advertising results in separate areas of the page. More recently it has been repositioned as a metasearch engine, providing a composite of separately identified sponsored and non-sponsored search results from most of the popular search engines.
WebCrawler also changed its image in early 2008, scrapping its classic spider mascot.
In July 2010, WebCrawler was ranked the 753rd most popular website in the U.S., and 2994th most popular in the world by Alexa. Quantcast estimated 1.7 million unique U.S. visitors a month, while Compete estimated 7,015,395 — a difference so large that at least one of the companies has faulty methods, according to Alexa.
WebCrawler formerly fetched results from Bing Search (formerly MSN Search and Live Search), Ask.com, About.com, MIVA, and LookSmart.