Nostalgia ain’t what it used to be, at least when speaking about the fast paced growth of the Web.
The first web page, ever,was published by Tim Berners-Lee in late 1990. The server on which it was hosted has long gone the way of obsolete computers. For those of us who did not know it was Berners-Lee who launched the first version of the World Wide Web…not Al Gore.
In thinking about web sites that changed our world, you can go to the wonderful Wayback Machine, the site of Brewster Kahle’s Internet Archive project, to see what’s still visible from the early Web.
Since the archive project only got rolling in 1995, there’s little (if anything) from the early days. The first Amazon page that was archived is from 1999, for example; the first eBay page is dated June 14, 1997.
What’s striking about early web pages is how naive and under-designed they are by today’s standards. Not so surprising perhaps, but that was because in those days, websites were the province of techies, not designers. And bandwidth was scarce, so the graphics-intensive pages that we now take for granted were viewed as bad form because they stretched users’ dial-up links.
Another thing that is striking about my list is that the overwhelming majority are US-based. Friends Reunited is the only British representative. This isn’t really surprising it reflects a deep cultural divide. Americans tend to be early adopters of most things technological,
Anyway, 15 years on, we’ve a wide world of pages to choose from for the most influential sites to date.
Top of my list is,
eBay.com – the auction and shopping site
wikipedia.com – online community encyclopedia
napster.com – the music file sharing website
youtube.com – the video-sharing network
blogger.com – weblog publishing system
The next five rounding out my top ten are friendsreunited.com,drudgereport.com, myspace.com, amazon.com, slashdot.org, salon.com, craigslist.org, google.com, yahoo.com