The Palace Legacy Project

Palace History

The Palace is a two dimensional graphical chat application that enables users to interact with each other through a variety of mediums. These mediums include expressive avatars, chat, and sounds.

It was originally created by Jim Bumgardner as somewhat of a technology experiment back in 1994 for Time Warner Interactive, but quickly evolved into one of the greatest phenomenon on the Internet, creating a successful online community and community of communities.

In 1996, the rights to The Palace were sold to The Palace, Inc. ("TPI"), a newly formed company by Intel Corporation and SOFTBANK, which added users by charging a fee for a lifetime membership. While a significant number of users were added to the Palace Chat community this way, TPI couldn't sustain itself because the memberships lasted a lifetime with unlimited free upgrades.

So, in 1998 the software was sold to a Electric Communities, creators of the Habitats visual chat architecture and another holding of TPI majority shareholder SOFTBANK. In 1999, Electric Communities became Communities.com ("CC"). This was at the height of the "dot-com" boom when conventional wisdom believed Internet advertising alone could financially sustain a company, so CC thought they could greatly increase The Palace's exposure but remain profitable if they made these memberships free, while using banners as its sole means of financial support.

Communities.com continued to bring users to The Palace by greatly enhancing the InstantPalace java viewer and calling it The Palace Viewer ("TPV"). At its height, it was closely equivalent to the actual user software in terms of feature set and compatibility. In some aspects, it was more advanced, allowing full color room art and avatars. CC's events team, led by long-time Palatian Cyndi Mudge, FO's alter-ego, who had been tapped as the company Events Producer, landed numerous deals with big companies like CBS Corporation to produce new Palaces, while bringing big name celebrities to do online interviews at its events concourse, The Arena.

Sadly, in October 2000 when the Internet bubble popped and the "dot-coms" began to melt down, Communities.com decided support for The Palace was to be immediately ceased. This day, on the first Tuesday in October of that year, was called "Black Tuesday" by some Palace users. Early the following year, in March 2001, the board of directors at Communities.com made the decision to file for voluntary liquidation under Chapter 7 of the U.S. bankruptcy code.

The rights to The Palace and its underlying source code are now owned by Open Text Corporation. However, they currently have no plans for it. So, community hubs like The Palace Legacy Project ("TPLP") run The Palace and attract new users. As the Manager for TPLP, I am happy to be apart of it.

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The Palace Legacy Project is a privately funded public service for the community of people who use the Palace Chat software.

© 2002-2009 The Palace Legacy Project. All rights reserved. Design by Andreas Viklund.