Quick! Go visit the Geocities Archive!
Holy cow! (some) Geocities page are still online!
I don’t know how I could have missed this for so long, but I only discovered this week that a Geocities Archive online has been online for almost six years now.
Geocities? Who is Geocities?
Geocities was an immensely popular free web hosting service that was launched in November of 1994, and four years later was acquired by Yahoo, which made a mess of it: its new terms and conditions stated that it now owned all content within Geocities, and many users were not happy with this (Gee, who could have imagined?). After trying to provide a more premium service by offering vanity urls rumors began to surface during 2001 that Geocities would be closing. Eventually, Geocities.com was indeed closed on October 26th 2009, but there are two reasons why it Geocities is still important today, for everybody.
Those pages. Those PAGES!!!
The first reason to visit the Geocities archive is that it indeed is “an archive early web culture”. At its apex, Geocities hosted over 38 million user whose webpages “displayed the style of the time.” Quite an understatement, that is. I remember Geocities. Even if sometimes the mere memory makes my eyes hurt, I can’t deny that design horrors like flashing images or tiled backgrounds, or those ancestors of social network comments that were its guestbooks, “made Geocities so unique and fun”.
Go to the archive to browse pages by countries, topics like Area51, Silicon Valley or just search random words. Unsurprisingly, many internal links, and even more external ones, are broken, making some pages look half empty. But it is fun, and worth it!
The OTHER reason why Geocities is important…
is the same why MySpace is important. Geocities, MySpace and many other similar online “portals” and “communities” all teach the same lesson: do not publish online anything that is even slightly important to you, unless you are sure, even before you start, that you will be able to move everything to some other provider of Web presence, when (NOT “if”! WHEN!) your current one goes out of business. For a possible solution to that problem, check here.
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