The inevitable demise of Geocities

Original Yahoo-Geocities Co-branded Landing Page

Original Yahoo-Geocities Co-branded Landing Page

Geocities, Geocities, Geocities … so Yahoo have finally announced that they will be ditching the Geocities free web-hosting facility. What do internet veterans feel about this?

Well I remember when Geocities wasn’t owned by Yahoo and I probably set up my first homepage during spring of 1997. At that time it was pretty much the only way you could get yourself a free homepage online without paying someone hosting fees. It also introduced an internet novice to the simple theories of hand-coding HTML (and tables!), uploading files via a simple FTP, creation of graphics … and
a whole host of digital methodologies that have stood me in good stead over the last 12 years.

The one thing I never really understood were the ‘neighbourhoods’ but, hey, that was prolly just a US-gimmick that we all ended up having to use (I ended up in a Times Square Alley for some vague reason to do with gaming/video-gaming!)

I think I made my first site on HotDog ( a sort of basic WYSIWYG editor that you can still buy today. I quickly learned to ignore the WYSIWYG and just write directly into the HTML editor – something I still pretty much do today with Dreamweaver!) I produced my first site in about March 1997 and I think I gave it a facelift once a year until 2001. I put my first Flash experiments there and a whole host of other HTML junk – including some early CGI mail forms. It’s also the reason I have a Yahoo email address these days and use that primarily for webmail rather than my Gmail account (I think I had a Geocities account originally as my first true ‘online email’ system … and then got migrated to Yahoo)

In its day Geocities was THE REAL MySpace and allowed you I think about 15mb of freespace (it might have started at 2mb) Here you could upload pretty much anything you wanted – none of that nightmare tedious style hacking you have to do with MySpace (or plugging in a PimpMySpace type theme) … and it allowed you a helluva lot more freedom than both MySpace or Fakebook.

So why don’t I use it now? I guess like the internet itself, I kinda “grew up”. With my job it became mandatory to have a ‘proper’ portfolio site – which meant I had to pay someone for hosting. Once I got my account I figured might as well put everything there. I still used Geocities for hobbies and the like … but as I got older my ‘youth’ hobbies took a backseat. I still have a soft-spot for Geocities but yeah I guess I haven’t properly used it for over 5 years. I guess I’ll have to find somewhere else to host my hobbyists site – but these days you get 2Gb instead of 2Mb with most hosting and in the grand scheme of things I can prolly afford it.

Oh and those ad banners were always really really annoying back in the early days (I think that was another reason why I bit the bullet and got my own domain … and possibly another reason I, like most internauts, hate ad banners!) This was ultimately a reason for it’s death I guess – no shrinking ad revenue and a drop-off in usage in the face of the other ‘free’ social media sites, or free Blog templates like WordPress and Blogger. All of which, for many users, are perhaps easier to use & manage with little knowledge of esoteric web-development skills.

It is a shame though – it kinda feels like the cheap guitar you learnt to play on that you always kept in the background and got out and strummed occasionally. And now the missus has thrown it out or given it to the charity shop!

© R M Lippiett 2009

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Thursday, October 15th, 2009 copywriting, opinions