Internet Archeology: web pages back in the day

13 October 2012 / /

By now, the internet has quite a long memory lane. Not only those who remember the first emails on green-on-black screens, or the first html bases news groups and chat boards can walk this path and remember what they see, younger generations of internet users can also join in the joyful reminiscing. Or is it more a game of point and laugh? Gigapica takes you back to the days of flash art and clock radio-like stat counters, when emoticons were still a cool use of interpunction symbols and Hyves was still growing in popularity. Enjoy.

When Twitter first went public in 2006 it was know as Twttr, the URL for the website was Also, in 2006 it was still cool to leave out vowels. Despite the 140 symbol restriction, even on Twttr that trend didn't last very long. Tnkflly.

google.jpg In November 1998, Google! threw itself in the face of the internet user, who was just starting to grasp the vast size of the internet. It actually didn't change that much over the years. But the company behind the Stanford search algorithm grew explosively and might prove itself to be SkyNet, some time in the (near) future. The informal Google corporate slogan 'Don't be evil' always had sort of a dubious ring to it, didn't it?

Wikipedia.jpg Wikipedia, the world's most reliable unreliable encyclopedia, has been online since 10 October 2001 and doesn't seem to have changed much. Well, perhaps for the head of that dude asking for money you see on every page nowadays.

dumpert.jpg Our very own website started out as a .mpeg storage for in January 2007, as the signature magenta (expensive word that means 'bright pink') sort of gives away. It quickly evolved into the immensely popular, geen coloured stand alone online cinema for funny and remarkable movie shorts, images and memes. Because we care for people who are looking to procrastinate.

Apple.jpg No one would have ever guessed that the company behind this October 1996 web page would become the most successful designer brand in the computer industry. Just look at it. Hard to believe that the people behind this crap were same people who designed the iPod, or the no user guide required iOS software. They came a long way.

Ilse.jpg Ah, the famous Dutch search engine, born 12 dec 1998. Forebearer of Ilse Media (now Finnish owned by Sanoma), which churned out Holland's biggest online news page But by that time, the search engine was already dead & buried because Google surpassed them in popularity. No wonder, judging from this design. still lives on today, though, but not a lot of money or effort seems to go into it.

YouTube.jpg THE FIRST MOVIE EVER ON YOUTUBE! On 23 April, 2005. YouTube was coined by three PayPal employees who had difficulty sharing a boring dinner video. With an 11 million dollar investment, they built a video sharing website. Seven years later, the world is watching live events from all over the world while major companies are issuing copyright claims by the thousands. Fun times.

facebook.jpg In the summer of 2004, Mark Zuckerberg stole borrowed someones digital yearbook idea to prank some fellow students. It resulted in a movie, a terrible entry on the stock market, and one billion users who are treated as will-less products that multibillionaire Zuckerberg uses to sell adds and make even more money.

startpagina.jpg Startpaginas started popping up rapidly from early 1999. grew fast, but rapidly became unreliable. Dead links, useless information, advertiser's link bait. Today, Startpagina still exists. But we don't really know anyone who still uses it.

gs.jpg This is wat young blog looked like in December 2003. Some elements like the poll and the small topic picas remain. But apart from that, GeenStijl has come a long way. And a lot more magenta. Predating social network Hyves, CU2 was a sort of public chat room where people made friends and learned that the web is full of idiots. This page is from June 2000, and since then it has actually started to look worse.

webWereld.jpg Popular tech news website in 1997, reporting that Apple is losing money (no wonder, have you seen their old web page, a few images ago?) while the editorial staff is demonstrating skill with the use of coloured bullet points. Bravo, Webwereld, this daring digital entrepreneurship helped you grow into a solid newsroom for tech journalism.

tmf.jpg ROFLOL! Launched in December 1996, shortly after the launch of Dutch music network The Music Factory (TMF), this web page emerged, flashing the same amateurism as the people who VJ'ed on television for TMF. The TMF chat box was very popular though, attracting thousands of teens who were secretly dialling up on the internet to avoid doing their homework. Hot or not, it's a cultural landmark in Dutch digital history.

telegraaf.jpg, the web portal of the biggest Dutch newspaper, in 1999. Today, it is one of the biggest news websites in the Netherlands. And it actually still kind of looks the same. That's because at Telegraaf they know: it's the content that counts, not the layout. Take a look at their newspaper design and you'll know exactly what we mean.

ns.jpg Blue. Yellow. In your face. Dutch national railway company NS has always had a thing for basic, spartan even. This was 1999, but even today, they run trains without bathrooms. So despite this very simplistic design, they seemed ahead of their own time when this page came online in 1999.

spacejam.jpg This website of the basketball movie slash cartoon (starring Bugs Bunny and Michael Jordan) was put online in 1996, but still exists today. Unchanged. We think that's pretty cool.

nunl.jpg, born in 1999, is the biggest, most popular news website in the Netherlands. It managed to keep its original look and feel even today, but when looking a bit closer, you'll notice there's a whole world of news, columns, music, movies and other content behind that simple homepage.

sagasso.jpg Sargasso, a left wing blog for something something subsidised statistical data something, apparently started out as some sort of smut statistical porn page. In this image, you can see former editor in chief Carlos sticking his head in the toilet to measure the increase in earth's temperature. Conclusions are still pending.