D-Day is almost upon us. Yes, tomorrow Yahoo finally pulls the plug on Geocities, the website hosting service that made web publishing easy for everyone.
In the late 90s, if you wanted to set up a website the cheapest and easiest way was with Geocities. Along with rival service Tripod, it revolutionised web publishing; transforming it from the preserve of a few geeks to something anyone could do.
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When Geocities’ parent company Yahoo closes the service down tomorrow (26th October) all websites held there will be deleted. If you, like me, had your first website building experience with Geocities, make sure you log in now and download all the files. That’s if you can remember your login details.
The historical significance of Geocities shouldn’t be ignored. In years to come internet historians will want to pore over its contents which documented people’s first baby steps towards being ‘webmasters’.
Luckily, much of Geocities’ contents has been backed up by a group of enterprising archivists. Archive Team has copied a huge chunk of the service’s data for posterity. The Team’s Jason Scott, quoted by Computerworld, explains:
“Already, little gems have shown up in the roughly 8000+ sites I’ve archived. Guitar tab archives. MP3s that surely took the owners hours to rip and generate. GIF files, untouched for 13 years. Fan fiction. Photographs and websites of people long dead. All stuff that, I think, down the line, will have meaning. It’s not for me to judge. It’s for me to collect.”
Already the project has led to a fabulous collection of ‘Under Construction’ signs – the (often animated) GIFs that people used to put on their sites while they were building them.
I just hope Archive Team hasn’t backed up my first website; an awful Radiohead tribute site that actually leeched images off the band’s own site. I know, I know… I was young and innocent.