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Geocities Archive (geocitiesarchive.org)
147 points by geocities 60 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 90 comments



Anyone remember when Geocities was a virtual city with neighborhoods?

I remember having to click around a visualization of a neighborhood block, and having to reserve a homepage. Homepages were limited per neighborhood. Each neighborhood had a name that was part of the URL path to the page.

That was very early in Geocities' life, and the artificial scarcity they tried to create didn't last long. But that's the story behind the name "Geocities".


I do! I was in the “Pines” neighborhood of Silicon Valley! I signed up for my first site in 1996 when I was 13.

I was a teen “community leader” for GeoCities from 1997 - 1999 (from the ages of 14-16), which basically meant I was unpaid tech support who would answer help emails about using GeoCitied and html and going through blocks in my neighborhood to make sure websites didn’t violate the various community guidelines. In exchange I got more space and a custom domain. The problem is my custom username meant my site was never backed up in the GeoCities archived because when Yahoo moved to usernames, there were issues preserving/indexing sole of the old ones. The Wayback Machine has some of the site but not all of it or the images.

I got some free GeoCities stock that became Yahoo stock that became worth $400 a share that my mom wouldn’t let me sell (I was 15 or 16 and it was an etrade custodial account), something that 20 years later I still bitch at my mom about (it was the only time she ever interjected in the managing of my finances).

After Yahoo bought GeoCities, they sent out this survey for the CLs to fill out, asking about community and some product things and thoughts on how they could integrate with Yahoo. I sent some detailed response and was asked to get on a conference call to talk more in-depth. The call went really well and they offered to fly me out to Sunnyvale to discuss more in person/maybe look at a job or some consulting. I was obviously excited, thinking they knew I was a teen CL — I was thinking it would be a cool internship or summer job. When they found out I was 16, the conversation ended and looking back, I get the impression they were embarrassed to be taking feedback from a teenager (today, company’s actively seek that out).

The teen program was ended shortly after — I suppose someone realized it probably wasn’t legal to have minors policing content. The whole CL program was shut down not long after after someone sued Yahoo for employing unpaid labor.

I will always love GeoCities — it was my Introduction not just to building for the web but to online communities in general.


Thanks for sharing this story. Sure, it is unpaid labour somehow. But it's also a chance to get more into responsibility and technology.


Absolutely! Even now, I certainly don’t feel exploited or angry about my volunteer effort. It was my first experience with any sort of online community and I’ll treasure it forever.

I do side-eye the decision to take minors as volunteers — as grateful as I was/am for the experience personally — because even circa 1996 that seems like a questionable idea. (Though in truth, I suppose if there had been an age limit and not a teen sunset program overseen by a nice adult volunteer, I suspect many of the teens would’ve just lied about their age. I know I would have!)

I wanted more space for my website and to give back/learn. This program provided that.

Over the two years I was a volunteer tree, I got an Amazon gift certificate, some GeoCities merch, and some stock that was at one point worth $20,000. I will always be grateful.


When I was something around 13 years old, Oracle made a presentation for its SQL database in a hotel in my hometown.

I signed up, and the presentation should be a few days later. One or two days later, Oracle called my home and asked to speak with me. It was what my background was, and I told I enjoyed programming and told them my age, explaining I was still going to school.

They said that unfortunately, the event was for grow-ups and that I couldn't attend it. But no worries, when it did an event for kids, they would call me.

Thankfully they never called me back. Now I'm a happy PostgreSQL user and only queried an Oracle database a few times during my bachelor in Computer Sciences because the teacher of database systems forced us to use it.


I'm confused, did yahoo stock value peak before you turned 18 years old or something?


Yes. I was 16 or 17 when it was at its peak, thus unable to sell without my mom’s permission. The e-trade account was a custodial account; the shares belonged to me but the account was controlled by my mom. When I did sell years later it was for $45 or something a share.


https://www.theatlas.com/charts/B1RjK9Q_

> January 3, 2000: Yahoo stocks close at an all-time high of $475.00 (pre-split price) a share.

shit hit the fan in 2001


> Images are copyright and not for use without explicit permission from the owner

As a former CL what are your thoughts on this text I just copied off the OP-linked page?


I'll bet the OP never asked for permission, nor for creating this copy of Geocities.


I remember that I learned HTML from http://www.geocities.com/Athens/2090 -- I can still remember the URL, in the Athens neighborhood -- but I haven't seen the actual webpage in 23 years. I'd love to find an archived copy.


Anecdotes like this make me so sad at what we've lost.

I spent so much of my early teenage years on Geocities, Angelfire, EzBoards, AIM, ICQ. It's all but vanished.

We should have done a much better job with preservation.

I'm hoping someone will one day bump into un-formatted hard drives from some of these old web hosting companies and resurrect the content.

It's weird to feel so much nostalgia for intangible things.

It's also weird to reminisce about youth. Despite all of the new tech, and the wealth and career I've built, and the people I've met, I sometimes wish I could relive the early 2000s. It feels like all of the adventure and newness has been sucked out of the world. And then I snap out of it.


I agree with you completely. I miss the days when every website felt like its own solar system, separated by light-years of empty space from all the others. Who you were and what you did on one site had nothing to do with your life on another site unless you went out of your way to make it. When you made a friend somewhere you put them on your instant messenger list and actually talked to them, as opposed to just adding another name to your giant pile of useless Facebook friends. The modern net feels like an endless series of stages with everyone putting on their own show to an uncaring audience instead of real communities. When everything on a website was hosted by the website. I miss when my bookmarks folder had four dozen websites in it that I visited almost every day, instead of five. I used to get news about my interests from ten different sites, now it's just two. I used to get porn from half a dozen places, now it's one. Used to talk to people on five different platforms, now it's maybe two. Used to read over two dozen web comics, now it's just one.


"We should have done a much better job with preservation." - and that is exactly it, people in the future will look back and shake their heads at the callousness with which we just deleted early history


> "We should have done a much better job with preservation." - and that is exactly it, people in the future will look back and shake their heads at the callousness with which we just deleted early history

I wonder if they'll even look back, at all. Even newspapers post articles linking to tweets or youtube, or articles elsewhere, without mirroring anything. Those will be much more useless than pure text articles that at least describe what they reference. Social media, HN, reddit -- so much is just a stream of things. Permanence and curation, something like building a library, those ideas seem rather abandoned.


Facebook seems very good at not deleting data...



Older version from 1996 (23 years ago): https://web.archive.org/web/19961022173343/http://www.geocit...


This is also where I learned HTML! I printed much of the site out on my middle school’s laser printer and kept it in a file folder along with other resources!

I would code my HTML on paper in class and then type it up during lunch or once I got home from school. What a time!


I've always thought it'd be neat to return to that model for modern centralized blogging services (e.g. Wordpress.com). No need for it to be a literal representation of backend sharding or what-have-you; just more of a skeuomorphism. Taking an approach like:

1. Allow everyone to self-assign a neighbourhood when they sign up (not with Geocities' interest-based neighbourhoods, but rather just a set of arbitrary ones, like MMO server shards);

2. Use some distance metric (maybe after your blog has five posts or so to data-mine) to calculate proximity, assigning people "street addresses" within that neighbourhood;

3. Let people know who their digital "neighbours" are, and encourage people to help out their neighbours, send them welcome messages, etc. Maybe invite people to message their neighbours when the neighbour's blog has been inactive for a while, to find out if they're okay. Other cute slice-of-life-y not-at-all-just-ways-to-increase-stickiness things. ;)

(#2 would be especially interesting, I think, if new blogs could show up "between" existing blogs, such that one of your previously-most-proximate neighbours is suddenly two spaces down and you have a new even-closer closest neighbour. Without this.)


I thought I was the only one who remembered that!

And there was some experimental "find an empty spot" tool that was just an unstyled form in a /cgi-bin directory, and once you went to the empty spot it found, it was already taken...

I got frustrated and gave up, but we soon switched ISPs and the new one gave you 5 MB of hosted space under algonet.se/~username


I had a Geocities site in high school (mid 90s) complete with wood panel background, animated gifs (rotating skull, etc), visitor counter, headings with color gradient, blinking text and an autoplay midi file of Hotel California.

I'm so sorry. :)


I dont remember the neighborhoods so much, but I do remember having at least 4 email accounts for geocities to get extra space. For a while, I ran a Civilization 2 mod site on geocities. Been so long ago, dont even remember the account name...


LOL. My half-assed Civ 2 mod was one of my Geocities site's "features".


That's how I remember it too. I remember hunting around for a while for a good "location" to park my page, and then many hours spent learning HTML. I was about 12 at the time and had a lot of free time on my hands, haha.


I do, and I’d love to hear if there was an archive from this era, as this is where my first website was hosted. I didn’t keep any of the files myself so as far as I know it’s conpletely lost.


I do remember that! I even signed up for a page during that time, which I promptly forgot about forever.


Yeah, mine was somewhere in the College Park “neighborhood”


I had GeoCities when it was called GeoPages.

Yeah, I'm old!


my screen-name here contains my address from those days


Sadly whatever my old website was, it was not popular enough to make any archives. I feel like it was my first name, or some combination of my first and last name.


Same, my old Geocities site was not popular enough to be archived by these spiders. However, by chance I found it in the Internet archive. It was so cool to see my programming tutorials, and text about 3 or 4 games I developed (in TurboBasic and later C++ with DJGPP and Allegro) when I was 12 years old. Why did I decide to put a programming related page into SunsetStrip, I have no clue... although at that time my English was no that good and I had no clue of the cultural background of the "neighborhoods" so, they all seemed equal.

It might be that your website is also in the archive.


Is it possible you went with "giancarlo" instead of "giancarlos"? I don't mean to be silly but I see 232 files with giancarlo and only 1 with giancarlos.


No, Giancarlos is my first name and I have never used Giancarlo. Thats a good question nonetheless!



Couldn't find mine either. I had a Pantera fan site and a joke-tribute page to Victoria Bitter even though I never drank it.


same here! it was my “awesome homepage” and sadly I can’t find any trace of it


Just browsing around I stumbled onto this awesome page: https://www.geocitiesarchive.org/arclc/h/u/humehwy31/aug1.ht...

This is someone doing an early form of blogging, chronicling a road trip all across Australia, with a bunch of photos. I love how simple the website is, and how the author took time to explain what links were and what you should do to navigate through the posts.

That's the kind of stuff that was so neat to explore back in the day. What a trip down memory lane!


I was looking for my travel diary of Australia I wrote on Geocities in 2000 and didn't find it. Then I saw your comment and it made my day:)

Also didn't find my Praguecheapflats geocities site which was basically a precursor of Airbnb from 2001 and allowed me to travel the world full time for 10 years.

Geocities was really amazing for me, a non technical guy who just wanted to put stuff online.


Large pictures took long time to load with a dial-up connection.


I'm surprise Angelfire and Tripod is still up. One of my first website was on Xoom sadly they went away.

Geocities had a lot of fanfictions and I would go around the webrings to jump to different fanfic websites. Those were good times.

I also remembered I had to use ftp to upload pictures onto those free hosting website.


At one point Tripod also lost a lot of sites in an incident. I know because my first homepage was among them...


Woah this was a Geocities website?! Chrono Cross fan pages. https://www.geocitiesarchive.org/arclc/z/u/zulwarn1705//home...


Wow - that's actually quite polished for a geocities site and time period...


There were quite a few sites with that level of polish on free hosting services at the time. Usually by people who either didn't have the means to pay for hosting/a domain name or simply didn't see the need to at that time. Came across quite a few of them when I used AOL's free hosting back in the early 90s, or Tripod/Angelfire/whatever.


Tripod allowed me to make some good sites back then.


Wow, that is an awesome site!!


Weak, doesn't seem to have my sites which are indexed on archive.org :\


There's not going to be everything unfortunately. What was your site on archive.org?


Nice!

As a side note, there is also: https://www.oocities.org/

And for some times (now dead) there was Reocities.com, some of which has been itself largely archived on the Wayback Machine: https://web.archive.org/web/20180308165314/http://www.reocit...


Is the source of this the ~900GB torrent, or is there another Geocities backup?


Hi, the source was the torrent which we needed to patch up with other sources


Cool, other sources? I'd like to help preserve them if you could pass on any links.


You could try the archiveteams downloads

https://archive.org/download/2009-archiveteam-geocities-part...


In 1998-1999 or so, starwars.com and Homestead teamed up to make the fan.starwars.com/ wysisyg fan websites. I loved mine and it's been gone for ~20 years, with seemingly no chance at all of an archive. Hardly anyone seems to remember these in the first place, star wars fans and nerds included. Maybe some day.


It's insane how all the early internet has effectively been destroyed with absolutely no recourse of ever getting any of it back :(


I feel the same that you describe. I was a kid in early 2000's and many things I used to access were not preserved in anyway. I'm so sad about it. That's why I mirror the sites nowadays. The problem is that sites are bigger now are harder to spider sometimes.


Do you remember what your username was there? There's a slight chance the WayBack Machine got it

https://web.archive.org/web/*/http://fan.starwars.com/*

edit: oh wow, looks like these archives seem to all be broken because of the javascript they used


Interesting! I think I found my username there, but yeah, nothing loads :(. It's probably gone forever, unless someone close to it specifically backed it all up. Oh well.


I wish I could remember what my old geocities username was.


Such a shame so many Web 1.0 websites went away. You can click "random username" and get a feel for what the Old Web was like. Props to this project for rescuing this many sites, although I'm kind of sad they couldn't get them all...


The Geocities Archive Project is slowly tagging old Geocities images using AI.


Is this really necessary? Wouldn’t compiling a complete archive be a good first step?


We are trying to archive and patch together as much as possible given the sources.

I don't think there is a full complete archive available anymore :(

Thanks for the feedback :)


Geocities was shutdown in 2009.


Just tried Geocities Archive — it can't find archive of Makoto's page[0] with amazing addons for free YSFlight simulator[1] ;(

[0] http://www.geocities.jp/room_makoto/main/ysfs/

[1] https://ysflight.org/download


My old website is not here because I used Tripod.

But it was worth it.


Tripod is still around. I still have an account there from 2001, but unfortunately nothing is hosted there now but a default landing page.

It still has a cgi-bin, but I have no idea if perl scripts will run in it.

And surprisingly enough, Angelfire still exists. I just learned they're both sharing a database being run by Lycos because I tried to recover an old Angelfire account and it complained that my new password was the same as my Tripod account.


Tripod had more storage and offered cgi bin when Geocities had none, IIRC.


I can't remember if I actually got a forum from Matt's Script Archive running on Tripod, but I do remember writing by own horrible text-based forum that no one else used.

Now it looks like you have to pay for FTP. Sad.


I think I had one on AngelFire :)


Today's equivalent is https://neocities.org/ . Free 5MB account to upload your raw HTML&CSS.

If you feel nostalgic, have a look at https://districts.neocities.org/


My website is also not here unfortunately...


This is awesome and brings back so many memories! Thanks a ton for doing this.

What methodology did you use to construct this backup?

As an aside, is there any chance whatever remnant of Yahoo still exists might have disks lying around from the Geocities days that weren't formatted? Do you think we could go about getting them?


The sites are from the torrent and also from the archive team as well. I had to write some code that went through all sites and update the links. I also at the same time tried to just extract the html body and use that for indexing.... Yahoo! must still have the original sites. Surely they could just put them online as a "Read Only" version. They would have nothing to lose


> Yahoo! must still have the original sites.

Are you sure? It cost money to maintain hardware and infrastructure.


One Terabyte of Kilobyte Age has been blogging about individual pages and trends across Geocities pages. https://blog.geocities.institute/


Oblig- the Internet Archive’s gif search engine, GifCities:

https://gifcities.org/


I'm getting runtime errors when searching, internal errors I as a user shouldn't be able to see outside of some sort of debug mode. FYI


Yeah, our little project is getting quite a few hits at the moment - I may have to upgrade the hosting lol. Sorry for the inconvenience. I didn't really think anyone was that interested in Geocities anymore :D


I feel like oocities.org has way more archived (except my Final Fantasy page from 1998).


I wonder how many of us got our start editing html on geocities/angelfire/tripod to create yet another Final Fantasy fan site...


I did, notepad and Netscape was where it was at..


this is how I feel about every Geocities archive I've seen...everything except MY page. Mine was up well into 2001, but the Wayback Machine is the only site that has even a trace of it.


It's a real shame; I had a Geocities Site and it was lost as well. When I came across the torrent I thought I would try and rescue as much as possible


Malwarebytes is blocking that site.


Hi, yes, I think this is because a few of the old Geocities sites had zip files which allowed you to open CD trays and other "kewl hacks" back in the day.

We have run malwarebytes over all the files and they are coming up clean.

https://www.virustotal.com/gui/url/713c45d3ac7560847f48cc107...


Yeah! I clicked through anyway. It seems safe.


there are many geocities backups but I have yet to see a backup of the hotbot.com pages


Reocities disappeared?




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