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Self Created Websites Come of Age

I read an article recently that said that GeoCities had closed down in 2009. This event had passed me by but if such a thing had occurred 10 years ago, it would have been big news.

Geocities was started in 1994 in the US and soon provided a service whereby members could have their own free website. By the end of the 1990s, the service had become incredibly popular. So popular in fact that their site was the 3rd most visited Internet site in the world.

Its popularity underlines how early we were in Internet development. In order to create your own website with GeoCities you had to understand how to create HTML pages and how to upload them and respective images by FTP. Therefore, business owners who used it were either very web savvy or, as often was the case, they got their 13 year old son or nephew to create the site for them.

It was a truly revolutionary idea that introduced many people to the possibility that the Internet was not just something they could use, it was something in which they could become involved.

Goodbye to the old, hello to the new

As we entered the new millennium, web technologies advanced at a startling rate. Web 2.0 was in its infancy but rapidly becoming incredibly popular. More and more people were becoming active rather than passive with their online interactions. Many services allowed the users to create online content and it must be said that one of the major forerunners and main influences of this enrichment of the Internet experience was GeoCities.

It is ironic, therefore, that this period also marked the beginning of the decline. These new services may have been influenced by GeoCities but in terms of ease-of-use and relevance to their users, they rapidly left GeoCities behind.

So just as Facebook marked the decline of MySpace, so did these new technologies mark the decline of GeoCities.

My hope is that AB Publish with its continuing improvement of the user experience will be a big part of the next stage in self-created websites. One thing history has taught us with regard to the Internet is that if you do not stay ahead of the crowd, you will disappear in the blink of an eye.

So I offer a belated farewell to GeoCities. Whilst its services became rapidly outdated and it is no longer part of our lives, I think we should recognise the enormous contribution it made to self-created websites and the Internet as we know it today.

Thu 10 March 2011 11:40:06

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