Unfortunately, the reports of the demise of GeoCities are true.
Mark down the 26th of October 2009 as the day GeoCities shuttered operations. If many of you are like me it was GeoCities that allowed you to put your first webpage online. They made it easy to have an online presence in those early days of the graphical World Wide Web (mid 1990’s).
It was back in 1995 that I started this website right there on GeoCities at http://www.geocities.com/SiliconValley/Heights/1094 (connects to the WayBack Machine Archive). I cut my eye teeth in those early days learning HTML and coding things to try and make the site stand out. I even got invited to be a GeoCities Expert to help others out in the GeoCities Community and I still have my GeoCities coffee mug that I earned through visits and banner ads on my site. In fact I earned quite a bit of hardware and software through that program.
I actually first heard of GeoCities through word of mouth. That is something that is quite rare these days as information tends to be exposed first via email, social media and other Internet outlets.
Based on this personal, verbal recommendation I went home that day and checked out GeoCities. I had my address and a vague plan of what I wanted to make a site about and then I set off to learn what I could about HTML and building web pages.
That first version of this site was called Another Windows 95 Links and Resources Page. The site name was all about timing – it was August of 1995 and Windows 95 had just launched. It was one of the hottest topics at the time because it was so revolutionary compared to earlier versions of Windows. There are also so many websites dedicated to Windows 95 that I decided to call mine Another one of them :-)
So I scoured the web looking for other pages relating to Windows 95 and started building a collection of links. That site had a single page – with centered links running the length of it. No pages, no breaks – nothing but links. I am not sure I could have gotten more basic than that.
I kept the site on GeoCities until 2001 which was right around the time that they started to throttle bandwidth for users sites. Mine was quite popular so I saw this as an issue of course.
I actually purchased the sites own domain name in 1998 and used it as a redirect to my GeoCities address. It was http://www.anotherwin95.com. It stayed under that name until a few years ago when I finally decided to update the domain on the 10 year anniversary of the site being online. That is when it became http://WindowsObserver.com and has remained that way ever since. I still own the http://AnotherWin95.com domain and it re-directs to this site. Not sure I will ever give up that domain.
Bottom line is that GeoCities gave many of us our start in this online world and it has earned its rightful place in the history of the World Wide Web. Thanks for the opportunity and swag GeoCities!
So what is your GeoCities story? Please share in the comments and let us know what the service did for you. Thanks.