Friday, April 24, 2009

There Goes The Neighborhood

Before Google. Before MSN. When Yahoo was just getting started. When Alta Vista was the king of the search engines. When I first got into this world wide web thing back in nineteen ninety whatever with a copy of HTML For Dummies on my knee and notepad on the screen, my first public web site was posted at Geocities. At the time, Geocities offered something like 5 or 10 Megabytes of space and was organized into categories that were accessed as "neighborhoods." For instance, my site was going to be related to entertainment (specifically movies) so I moved into Hollywood. All of the 'addresses' in Hollywood were full so I moved into the Hollywood Hills. The site is long gone (it disappeared a few years ago) but the address was

I envisioned a site where peolpe could come to get various types of information about movies: release dates, video release dates, reviews, etc. I called it "Uncle Bubby's Weird World of Wacky Entertainment" (yeah, I know, title lameness and stupidity factor: 9.5). What I envisioned my site would become eventually materialized on the web as The Internet Movie Database (IMDB). Can you imagine little old me and my basic HTML skills putting together something like that? It turned out that it was a lot of work that took a lot of time that I didn't have so I dropped the concept after less than six months (and a few years before IMDB). But I kept the site.

What I did with the site after that still lives on. I still utilize the original concept but the site has taken many forms. It has been edited using Netscape, a couple of different free WYSIWYG editors, MS Frontpage, and is now utilizing a Content Management System. The site has been hosted at many different providers: Some free, some not and sometimes two at a time to have enough storage to accomdate it (I can't name them all). But Bubby's Wav Archive had its humble beginnings at Geocities.

Why am I telling you all of this? Well, it seems that Yahoo is quietly shutting down Geocities some time later this year. It's not surprising, really. Beyond the fact that Yahoo, as they often seem to do these days, let it wither away with a lack of promotion, I think times have changed. Like the transition from open-air shopping malls, to enclosed super-malls, to now independent stores connected to each other, the web has changed. With Geocities, you could actually go to a portal and search all of the different neighborhoods. With the strength of modern search engines and the numerous cross-site portals, who needs a portal like Geocities? Plus with the dynamic nature of web sites sometimes, who wants to be locked into a subject matter?

Geocities was good to me and it was there when I needed it. I am sad but not surprised to hear it will soon be no more. Goodbye, old friend.

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