The best of 404PageFound and other primitive ’90s websites that still exist



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The idea that once something hits the internet, it’s there forever, isn’t true. Things are disappearing from the Internet all the time, from once thriving online communities killed when their hosting company goes bankrupt, to posts whose archives are wiped out, to personal sites that disappear when their owners stop paying server bills. But the sites below are soldiers from the 1990s who avoided all of these traps, to give us an early glimpse of the internet and a way to see ourselves online.

I started with 404PageFoundThe excellent collection of websites somehow still running and then mined a little deeper for some of those other ‘diamonds’.

Personal websites: the soul of the first Internet

In a world before Twitter, TikTok, and Youtube, the idea of ​​posting your important thoughts to potentially global audiences without a filter was an incredibly heady thing for people tired of boring their friends and family. The World Wide Web made this possible, and as a culture we have learned that most people are not very interesting.

  • Jim’s website: These types of “personal” sites were the Twitter users with three old-fashioned web followers. There were billions of them: one guy sets up an intro page, adds some “funny” pictures and links to other random sites, then calls it a day. No one visits, and there lies a never-visited monument of banality. This one was saved from Geocities through the land restoration project.
  • Vanity Plates: This funny license plate site was created in 1996 and was last updated in 1999. It’s like a time capsule from the web age, with its clean design, navigation based. on frames and its plethora. “awards” from other websites (including the prestigious “HomePC Wild and Wacky Site Award”).
  • No offense to whoever created this fan page in 1995, but his “am I not so random? The false worship of the spork is no fun; it’s depressing, especially 25 years later.
  • The courteous life of kings, peerage, saints, knights and commoners: I have an intense love-hate feeling with this Angelfire page from 2003. It is the lifelong work of Margaret Sypniewska, who has been researching genealogy and history since the early 1960s. Incredible, isn’t it? But the design of her site is so terrible to destroy your eyes, it’s painful to read, literally.
  • Inside the X: I’m in love with it X files page. Fans sat down and typed in detailed descriptions of all scene and dialogue line for all The X-Files episode in its 11-year run, plus the Lonely armed men and The Simpsons / The X-Files cross episode. Such dedication!

Artists and thinkers

Besides personal joke-free sites, early intellectuals and artists wondered what all this web stuff was all about, with no one predicting that it would start out as a way to pay our bills online, and would end up driving everyone crazy.

  • Parallèle / Suzanne Treister – the room: I have no idea what’s going on with this Australian site. It’s kind of a virtual journey through a castle in the form of altered photographs, but there are also a ton of stylized swastikas. Maybe anti-Nazi? Pro-Nazi? Either way, this is part of the November 1995 issue of PARALLEL, a journal that “presents the interdisciplinary work of artists and writers. It contributes to current research on the practices and theories of the Web. Check it out: Your guess is as good as mine.
  • The Simulator: This 1997 web art experiment attempts to explore “the frontier between the simulacrum of the Internet and mundane physical existence” through a “choose your own adventure” style journey through the day of a salaried slave. Funny and slyly subversive, The Simulator still works!

Primitive entertainment marketing

As ordinary people and artists wondered how to harness the power of the web, marketers quickly realized that it was best to use it to get people to watch your movies and TV shows.

  • The nanny: I don’t know why, but the original The nanny the website continues, offering fans throw pictures, a episode guide, and telephone number to know how to get tickets for a live recording of The nanny.
  • Space jam: the Space jam The website has been live since 1996, but recently it was moved from its original location to has a new house. I’m just glad they kept it.
  • jurassic park: This marketing site for the original jurassic park dates back to 1997, and is an early example of intelligent film marketing. Everything is in the form of the InGen employee intranet.
  • The North American Men’s Field Guide: Inexplicably, Marjorie Ingall’s “Just Barely a Book” site is still live, and that’s a testament to good design. It’s dated, sure, but its clearly presented information, minimalist look, and really fun text make me want to buy this book, available second-hand as 50 cents on Amazon.

Flash’s cemetery

When Flash took over web design in the late 1990s, there were a lot of innovative and creative websites that didn’t load properly. I would point you to the good ones, but they are all dead, an unsupported Flash victim – so it goes, with all of man’s best efforts. Check it out blog post, however, for an overview of some of the most notable sites of the Flash revolution.

Web 1.0 policy

In the 1990s, Internet propaganda was not stimulated by obscure boiler room operations in the former Eastern Bloc countries. It was homegrown and organic and some of it survives.

  • DoleKemp96: Bob Dole’s voting site for me is cheesy and dated, but it’s the first presidential website ever, and it was revolutionary at the time. In addition, it is still hosted with its original domain name, and the history of its development and preservation is fascinating. You can also check out the Clinton / Gore site, complete with downloadable screensavers and rotate GIFs.
  • People eat tasty animals: Owning libraries online is nothing new. This parody site seems designed to spit out sensitive liberals. It contains all kinds of pro-meat information, and a vast hate mail section. I can only assume that its continued existence boils down to sheer spite.
  • McSpotlight: In the interest of spending so much time on leftist propaganda, take advantage of this 1996 site. It has a serious problem with McDonald’s and contains all kinds of fiery (albeit obsolete) dismantling of business practices, legal strategies , and more from the company.

No sales

Many people made a lot of money in the 1990s and 2000s buying and selling web domain names, but despite potentially profitable domain names, the two sites below have been proudly independent since the mid-1990s. .

  • The technical advisers ensure the administration of the system and the network. “We don’t sell tacos. We don’t make tacos. in fact, some of us don’t even like them very much. This is purely speculative, but you must imagine that someone offered them something for the domain name at some point. But instead, they keep their site from the 1990s.
  • Dan Borestein says is “not for sale”. He’s been running the site since 1994 and says he likes the name and doesn’t need the money unless the price is high enough. “If you don’t offer $ 10 million, I’m not interested,” Borestein writes.

Hall of fame

The sites below are part of the GOs of the web 1.0 era. They have been around forever and are still famous.

  • The Gate of Heaven: Most members of the Heavens Gate Flying Saucer Cult committed suicide in 1997, but the website remains, reportedly being maintained by two living members of the group. They keep him exactly the same as he was when he threw, too, a weird tribute trapped in amber.
  • Fog camera: One of the first web cams on the internet, the FogCam broadcasts a view of the San Francisco State University campus since 1994, when looking at someone else’s college campus was a technological revolution.
  • Aliweb: Aliweb, one of the web’s premier search engines, proves the old adage that being first isn’t always a ticket to success. Aliweb asked sites to send their information instead of indexing what was already there, so it didn’t work. But the main page has been in place since 1994, populated with links as dead as its business model.
  • Parody site is legendary for doing nothing. An all-promise, deliver-nothing style parody of the First Web, Zombo’s swagger and extended flash animation is inexplicable without the backstory, but it’s still awesome.



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