Shine on, Geocities. Shine on… Forever

Yesterday, October 26, 2009, was the day Geocities died.

Now some might call the Geocities we saw hobbling about with an IV attached to its arm not the “true” Geocities. It had, after all, been acquired by Yahoo back around 2000, and gradually lost a lot of what made Geocities so appealing in the mid to late 90s amidst both infrastructure modifications and the evolution of online trends. However, I think that deep within that mass of tubes and cybernetic implants there beat the heart of that noble site which once told anime fans that the best place to put a website was in a Pagoda in Tokyo. And even if that weren’t the case, we still have some evidence (thanks to archive.org) that it existed, and that it gave you 20mb of free space. Do you know big that is? It”s like four to six mp3s!

I’d previously talked about Geocities and how despite never having a Geocities site myself, it was an important part of my youth and my fandom. So many people I met online had Geocities sites, or Fortune City, or Angelfire. Memories of my favorite vido game, NiGHTS into dreams, are tied inexorably to my time on these sites. More broadly though, it represented that era when kids of all ages realized that yes, they could have their own website. On the internet. For free. Gradually, that thrill turned to finding out that yes, even you could implement a scrolling marquee and javascript pop-ups. The most important thing though was that it was yours.

I know some people are ashamed of their old Geocities sites, and I think that’s kind of silly. Sure, the sites might not live up to our current understanding of accessible web design, but they’re so representative of their era that to be relieved that they’re gone is to be relieved that a piece of history has been erased, both greater and personal. After all, that was who you were back in 1997, and you should be proud of that.

3 thoughts on “Shine on, Geocities. Shine on… Forever

  1. I had a Geocities account for my high school Japanimation Club. It was like 6MB. That was huge especially if you were running on a 14.4 or 28.8 modem. The only thing Geocities wanted in return was a little banner on your page.

    After Yahoo took over, it was pretty much dead. Yahoo enforced very ridged community standards, and they took down my site for cribbing some screen caps of anime shows. They were trying to go complete legit and make it into a cash machine, which killed the openly creative community. It’s been dying a slow death ever since…

    Like

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