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 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.
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.
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.
> 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
As a former CL what are your thoughts on this text I just copied off the OP-linked page?
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 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.
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!
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.)
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'm so sorry. :)
Yeah, I'm old!
It might be that your website is also in the archive.
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!
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.
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.
As a side note, there is also:
And for some times (now dead) there was Reocities.com, some of which has been itself largely archived on the Wayback Machine:
I don't think there is a full complete archive available anymore :(
Thanks for the feedback :)
But it was worth it.
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.
Now it looks like you have to pay for FTP. Sad.
If you feel nostalgic, have a look at https://districts.neocities.org/
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?
Are you sure? It cost money to maintain hardware and infrastructure.
We have run malwarebytes over all the files and they are coming up clean.