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Jul
13
2009

Web Sites from Beyond the Grave

Everybody has them. Web sites that you loved a long time ago (10 - 15 years ago, long in Internet years) when the web was still in its infancy. We have them, too, and we thought we'd share with you some of our favorite lost sites.

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Michael's pick:
  • AdCritic - In the heady days of the Internet bubble, AdCritic was a staple for bored surfers. AdCritic put thousands of TV commercials online. The site brought us classics like the EDS cat herders, wolves attacking a marching band, and the guy dropping his cell phone into the urinal. AdCritic shut down in 2001 and was later reborn as a paid subscription service. Now it seems to have morphed again.

Regan's picks:
  • Funny But No... - This was a section of Hallmark's site which was plugged as a selection of "rejected" cards. It ran from November of 1996 to April of 1999, but came back to live via Shoebox Greeting's blog in April of 2007. Yay Undead Funny But No!
  • Movie Critic - Man, I loved this site. It predicted with uncanny accuracy movies you'd like based on what other people who liked movies you liked liked. I think there were a couple more "likes" in the official algorithm.

Jacob's pick:
  • PixelTime! - This was an icon drawing contest hosted by Word.com and the quirky computerized PixelMaster. A Java applet gave everyone the same pixel-at-a-time drawing tool and wacky palette to work with. The site and its art are mostly lost to time and Java bitrot, but see some samples here and here.

Carrie's picks:
  • sharpeworld.com - Extant (mostly) between 2001 and 2003, Jennifer Sharpe's site was more like a collection of jarred specimens than a blog in those heady, early days before chronological ordering. A zombie version of the site was resurrected this winter, but it's not what it used to be.
  • The Spark - Before it was SparkNotes (now owned by Barnes & Noble) and partially spun off into OkCupid.com, The Spark was a -- what do you call them things? maybe an Internet magazine? -- run by college kids. It might have started the obsession with personality tests, and for that they will burn in hell.
So tell us -- what were your favorite now-extinct sites?
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Comments

meaningless icon! Well this started as an AOL site before venturing off into the wild blue web, but I miss Heckler's Online (keyword: ;)). It was a user-submission humor site. Each day they'd announce the winners of a game then the topic for the next week's round of that game. Like Monday was Interactive Top 10 and Tuesday was Caption This. I spent many, many hours of my youth playing The Random Game.
CortJstr said this 1845 days ago.
meaningless icon! Oh yeah! Hecklers! I remember them.
Regan (ThinkGeek Staff) said this 1845 days ago.
meaningless icon! pinstruck.com while technically not dead might as well be. Everyone you try and curse these days seems to have it blocked by spam filters.
RudeDude said this 1845 days ago.
meaningless icon! ZOMG, Pinstruck.com was started by a current ThinkGeek employee. He'll be happy to know you remember it, though I'm not sure there's much he can do anymore about the spam. But it was fun cursing people. :)
Jen said this 1844 days ago.
meaningless icon! I totally remember The Spark! And, I have to admit... I was a BIG TIME fan of Scurveyboy.com It was an orange juice company's site (I can't remember which one) and it did so little plugging of their brand of OJ, and tons of stupid games tangentially involved w/ OJ... Like Hockey w/ an orange instead of puck...) I miss it, sometimes, when it's dark and late at night...
BaschaW said this 1844 days ago.
meaningless icon! nauru.com - Webcam girl site. I know, it's pRon but it was great back in 1998. (sigh) She disappeared ages ago and hasn't been seen since.
SevenBates said this 1844 days ago.
meaningless icon! I miss the old fray. I mean the really old fray.
hownottowrite said this 1844 days ago.
meaningless icon! The Webchat Broadcasting System. I will always have love for my first online chat room!
athene said this 1844 days ago.
meaningless icon! I miss mallmonkeys.com. In my opinion, Mall Monkeys was one of the best web comics, ever. It may not have been 10 - 15 years ago, but at least it's been dead over 5 years.
mattjp03 said this 1844 days ago.
meaningless icon! Around 1999/2000 there was a really funny site called "The Main Event." It was run by two of college guys, and every so often they would have a "match" between two celebrities or fictional characters. They would start with a narrated scenario with the two people/characters meeting (such as Zack Morris and Ferris Bueller, or Michael Myers vs. the Scream killer), and why they would be in a fight. Then the two guys that ran the site would each pick a side, and take turns describing how/why that person would win the fight. They would start insulting each other for being on the other side and picking holes in each other's arguments. It was pretty funny. After a while, they just stopped updating the site. There was an "ETA" notice for when the next update would be, but it came and went with nothing. Then one day, the site wasn't there anymore. I'm sure those two guys are married with kids and jobs now and don't have time to work on such a silly site, but I wish they'd start it up again!
JaclynMcKewan said this 1844 days ago.
meaningless icon! I wasn't old enough to remember the really old sites, but growing up in the 2000's I do remember really fun games I used to play. It was Nickolodeon.com, where you used to play the best games ever for kids. In one game you got to throw food everwhere and trash an entire room. Sadly, Nick has made it impossible to play games of the sort, and I now consider it dead because the new games consist of Mirada Cosgrove Skateboarding to Save Manatees.
AarontheTechBoy said this 1835 days ago.
meaningless icon! I really miss the Bandwidth Conservation Society. It may seem hard to imagine, now that every website has Flash ads and embedded YouTube videos, but there was a time when web designers actually needed to consider the size of the files being sent down the pipe. BCS had tips on optimizing your images, from the simplest (the IMG "width" and "height" attributes do NOT reduce the number of bits your browser downloads) to the most arcane (convert RGB to Indexed Color using Photoshop). Now archived here: http://blackpearlcomputing.com/bpc/Bandwidth_stuff/default.html
RobertB said this 1829 days ago.
meaningless icon! i am too young to know the really old sites. (my first memorys of pc usage was when i was five) anyways. my fave old sites was the old hotmail. windows live used to have the option to get it to look like hotmail, but they got rid of that. it never recaptures it. also, every year barbie.com got a redesign, and i like going to the internet archive to see the old site i LOVED... i actually remember the site from when was 2. lol. anyways the web was in no way in its infancy, but i was too young. dammit!
rylee-ann said this 1826 days ago.
meaningless icon! @AarontheTechBoy lol. i remeber nick a bit too. to think of it. i went there again a few days ago, and yeah, the new games are crap... :)
rylee-ann said this 1826 days ago.
meaningless icon! I have fond memories (and a signed cast photo, somewhere) of thespot.com . One of the earliest attempts to make money off the web (mid '90s) - an online soap, that gradually added adverts and paid for content. They even won one of the first Webbys. Bits and pieces of old sites can still be found at web.archive.org .
DoctorP said this 1815 days ago.
meaningless icon! Oh wow... This is bringing up a whole bunch of nostalgic scents. Back in the unruly days of 1995 and my absolute first taste of the internet my cousin showed me an amazing little device of the 14k communication modem by US Robotics. The warm glow of the computer screen was booting up and he started to explain what a "Search engine" was to a 14 year old me sitting next to him. Knowing my penchant for computer games the very first website I saw in my life was happypuppy.com so I could view and comment on many different video game reviews. It was like a tangible slice of heaven, smoother than red velvet cake and more exciting that an accidental electric shock to my big toe. I can not recall when the site went down but I check it from time to time to see if it has been revived, for the past few years it has lamely displayed "It works!" when ever the domain name is entered. But I'll never forget the first time I loaded up AltaVista and searched for Happy Puppy on my own.
Spy Moose said this 1815 days ago.
meaningless icon! One of my weekly destinations was suck.com. They stopped writing in 2001 and the site disappeared for a while, but they brought back all the archives a short time later.
anoland said this 1815 days ago.
meaningless icon! This site is still technically up but it's no longer the glorious internet hub it once was. I speak of newgrounds.com where all good flash games and movies originated before myspace apps took over and before they charged you 99 cents to play mini game on your phone.
Black Rasputin said this 1814 days ago.
meaningless icon! Wow! Reading all these is great. Keep em comin'.
Regan (ThinkGeek Staff) said this 1814 days ago.
meaningless icon! I used to like the internet pizza server, the SPAM haiku archive, and for a while back in 1994 or 1995 somebody had a "treasure hunt" on their site where you could move a camera around over a sandbox and puff some air to blow away the sand and identify the treasure. It sounds lame now, but back then it was a big deal!
banth said this 1813 days ago.
meaningless icon! I miss the oracle. I forget the exact URL, but it was a user based Question & Answer system. Questions were submitted and then answered by other users. There were some really funny ones. My favorite was the one about cats always landing on their feet being the secret behind Anti-Gravity. Man, that one was funny!! Whoever answered it should have started a column, Genius, pure genius!
Xyvius said this 1812 days ago.
meaningless icon! I used to like Maddox when I was in high school. The internet was still nubile and I hadn't found 4chan yet (did it even exist way back then? In 97/98?). Anyways. It's still up, but it's just not as much fun as it was when I was sneaking around in the computer lab during lunch reading it with friends.
ptolemy21 said this 1809 days ago.
meaningless icon! OMG! The Oracle! And the Internet Pizza Server. For the *ahem* young, you could put toppings on a fake pizza and send it to friends. It was popular at the time. As opposed to now where you can make actual Dominos show up at someone's door. ;) Ah, good times. Good times.
Regan (ThinkGeek Staff) said this 1809 days ago.
meaningless icon! anybody remember CashWars.com from like back in 1999 or 2000? It was this addicting strategy game where you basically build up your city's defenses and use your army to go attack neighboring cities, and the hook was that supposedly you could loot them for "real cash". The site never paid out the checks that it promised, but i didn't care, it was the first online browser based multiplayer game i really played. I remember building up a mini-empire between me and my dad's account. Fun game, it went down back in 2002 or something.
hotshotjosh said this 1808 days ago.
meaningless icon! http://www.bobandgeorge.com isn't technically gone but the comic is over. It started the huge megaman sprite based comic fad. Great comic. Worth the a read
Acelanyth said this 1807 days ago.
meaningless icon! old sites... How bout just before graphics in gaming. Talking about the MUD's.
Striz said this 1806 days ago.
meaningless icon! Good call, Striz. I was a DikuMUD addict. I recall a fire alarm I sat through in the basement of my dorm because we were busy on a text-based raid.... ;)
Regan (ThinkGeek Staff) said this 1805 days ago.
meaningless icon! Beautiful.
Striz said this 1799 days ago.
meaningless icon! What about stickdeath.com and all of the old .gif's of silly violent stick figures. Blue stick people were awesome. That got me into animation :)
Babaloo2U said this 1797 days ago.
meaningless icon! Netscape?
Natanael L said this 1794 days ago.
meaningless icon! I remember going to notmydesk.com for diversions and to read about his life and how awful it was to temp. I believe the site is still going?
therapite said this 1793 days ago.
meaningless icon! I spent hours on www.theschwacorporation.com. I really miss the days of people creating websites as art.
wordswordswords said this 1792 days ago.
meaningless icon! joecartoon.com.
eternal1 said this 1792 days ago.
meaningless icon! You guys are bringing back such great memories!
Regan (ThinkGeek Staff) said this 1792 days ago.
meaningless icon! Ok gang - Remember searching before that upstart from CERN created this web thingie? (mein gott - I'm giving away my age) - Say... like Gopher or WAIS?
ffr2822 said this 1789 days ago.
meaningless icon! I miss the e-mail based ninja attack website. Somewhere I still have old stored e-mails of ninja attacks. And the "original" Coalition to ban DHMO website, no longer located at thearmory...
tcith429 said this 1786 days ago.
meaningless icon! n64 code center (with bjorn nilsson and them). Great message board community.
randizzle3000 said this 1779 days ago.
meaningless icon! While this may not *technically* be considered a website, I believe it deserves an honorable mention. I was 6 years old, with a Tandy CoCo as my only computer. I had a cassette drive for it (not even floppies. Oh, no... I had to CLOAD everything!) when my father bought the family a new, fancy, completely amazing computer. It was an 8088 with a monochrome monitor and a 2400 baud external modem. And in that week, we discovered BBSes. By the age of 9, I was running my own BBS on Renegade software. To this day, I still call BBSes, and I still run a telnet-only BBS (now using Synchronet software). It's a practically forgotten time now, with forums and myspace and Facebook around, but there's just something comfortable about waiting 'til one minute after midnight every day to start calling your regular BBSes so you can get in the next day's turns on BRE, LORD, and Falcon's Eye.
SpaceMonkeyMafia said this 1779 days ago.
meaningless icon! This is the last version in the internet archive: http://web.archive.org/web/20030417090641/www.n64cc.com/MAIN.HTM Still give me chills, we had dial-up and my dad (RIP) always went online to get us the codes and we'd read the messages together (circa 1997-1999). I couldn't wait to get home from school and start playing some n64, then after dinner we'd check for new codes.
randizzle3000 said this 1779 days ago.
meaningless icon! OMG.. I used to play Tradewars on the old Wildcat BBSs for HOURS! I liked bored.com for a while, then it went away and became the new (boring) bored.com...so I went to pogo.com to wait between tech calls when I worked dial-up support. ACK
tinkerjenn said this 1778 days ago.
meaningless icon! I remember playing MUDs back in HS when I dated the college sysad- he had one of those 14k modems and there was a 7-minute lag between actions sometimes. Then in '97 there was "MST3K's Caption This!" on the Sci-Fi Channel's site; you could caption a screengrab of whatever was currently on Sci-Fi (the infomercials were classic) and several of us "captioneers" built websites of our favorites. Some of us even had *gasp* interactive sites where you could vote, comment, and add your own captioned pics to our Geocities and Angelfire pages. I was so cool back then, now my kids have more YouTube subscribers than me. I miss my Commodore64+4. :'(
Chamelienne said this 1778 days ago.
meaningless icon! MUDs were awesome. Wait, were? MUDs ARE awesome. I still play one :) There's just something about having to imagine the visual aspect of what's going on that really has an allure to me. These graphically rich games today just don't compare to the text-based settings of MUDs.
SpaceMonkeyMafia said this 1772 days ago.
meaningless icon! Yeah, MUDs are still the best thing ever. I spend waaay too much time on them. Far and away my favorites are <a href="http://www.ironrealms.com"> the Iron Realms MUD games</a>.
TextGamer said this 1467 days ago.

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