Inside money, markets, and Big Tech

This article was published on September 29, 2009


    Party like its 1999: a redesigned IMDB.com

    Party like its 1999: a redesigned IMDB.com


    Boris Veldhuijzen van Zanten
    Story by

    Boris Veldhuijzen van Zanten

    CEO and co-founder, TNW

    Boris is a serial entrepreneur who founded not only TNW, but also V3 Redirect Services (sold), HubHop Wireless Internet Provider (sold), and Boris is a serial entrepreneur who founded not only TNW, but also V3 Redirect Services (sold), HubHop Wireless Internet Provider (sold), and pr.co. Boris is very active on Twitter as @Boris and Instagram: @Boris.

    IMDBThe Internet Movie Database (IMDb) is an online database of information related to movies, actors, television shows and basically everything else that moves on a screen. I haven’t watched a movie and not checked it on IMDB first since, well, I don’t even remember.

    IMDb launched on October 17, 1990, which is even before the birth of the World Wide Web. They were acquired by Amazon.com in 1998 and went on to grow to become the 22nd most visited website in the US.

    And that was sorta where they stopped evolving. Okay, maybe they installed really spiffy servers and optimized the HTML a bit but I don’t think I noticed any significant changes on the site except maybe a few extra links to Amazon.

    It always amazed me that this prime web property seems so neglected. No new features, no new design and hardly any signs of efforts to monetize their success.

    Yes, there were a few randomly placed banner ads and there is a ‘IMDbPro’ button (added in 2002) somewhere that would seem to indicate there is a way to pay for something. Still, is that all?

    After all, this is the number 22 most visited website in the US!

    To give you an idea what that means:

    – 11 months ago ago Twitter was smaller
    – They have 2,5 times the combined traffic of Mahalo and Squidoo
    – They get more visitors than Apple, LinkedIn and The New York Times

    Oh, I got most of these stats from Alexa.com; another seemingly neglected Amazon property.

    So why the history lesson? Well, IMDB has redesigned their site. It isn’t a major change but it is an update nonetheless. I don’t usually write about simple redesigns but this is the 22nd most visited site after all and they haven’t redesigned since 1999 so I guess this is noteworthy. The changes are so minimal that I included both design here for you:

    old design:

    Old IMDB design

    new design:

    new IMDB design