GeoCities: Pioneer town to ghost town

Before Facebook or blogs or cheap web hosting, netizens had GeoCities – the guiding light for those who wanted a website but couldn’t afford their own.

It quickly became the self-publishing printing press of the online world – there were personal pages, and sites on people’s favourite TV shows. Animated GIF backgrounds, blink tags and crackpot ramblings were par for the course. Let’s just say people often referred to it as “GeoShitties”, and it wasn’t an unfair moniker.

Perhaps PC World sums up most peoples’ reaction with the title of their article, “So Long, GeoCities: We Forgot You Still Existed“.

But, as a kid in the proto-WWW of 1996, I cut my teeth on HTML with the help of Geocities. Back then, GeoCities didn’t even have FTP access – you uploaded files via online form, one at a time. They only supported JavaScript – no SQL databases or widgets. We started out with a formidable 1 MB of webspace. And it was good.

That was 13 years ago. I hear Yahoo! has decided to put GeoCities to pasture later this year. I can’t say I blame them. I do have to thank them, for introducing me to the online publishing world.

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