Snapshots From The Internet’s Awkward Phase

This is what online life looked like in the 1990’s and early 2000’s. Before “Web 2.0” and back when Mark Wahlberg was Marky Mark.

1. Remember

It was one of the web’s most popular early search engines. The above picture is the page on December 10th, 1997. This particular webpage is forever burned into my brain because it was always on my fourth grade teacher’s computer desktop (she was far too busy searching stuff on here to actually teach us anything, sadly).

But what about people who weren’t so fortunate as I was—people who didn’t get regular exposure the nexuses of the old internet? And what about people who were born in more recent times, who always thought that the current infrastructure of the web looked the way it does today?

A project called “The Wayback Machine” created by The Internet Archive has the answer to these questions. The Internet Archive was founded in 1996. Their mission was to, essentially, catalog the Internet like one might catalog a library. Or, in their words to offer “permanent access for researchers, historians, scholars, people with disabilities, and the general public to historical collections that exist in digital format” and to prevent “the Internet…and other ‘born-digital’ materials from disappearing into the past.”

What other sites have been preserved in history? And what did today’s current mega-behemoths look like in their awkward phase? Let’s take a look!

ID: 848720

2. (12/28/1996)

ID: 848726

3. (4/13/1997)

ID: 848746

4. (4/21/1997)

ID: 848730

5. (10/18/1997)

Look at how the teams are grouped in the old divisions (Indianapolis Colts still in the AFC East and whatnot).

ID: 848752

6. (12/6/1998)

Unfortunately, a lot of the images had problems loading on this site.

ID: 848758

7. (12/12/1998)

Again, some of the images/ads didn’t survive the test of time.

ID: 848769

8. (1/25/1999)

Before the billions of dollars, Google was just what you see here. A journey of billions dollars begins with a single search algorithm, it would seem.

ID: 848788

9. (2/8/1999)

Funnily enough, someone had been trying to squat on the “” domain name, as you’ll see in the next image.

ID: 848816

10. “”

The times would eventually win out over the opportunistic individual who originally had the domain name.

ID: 848817

11. (3/1/1999)

ID: 848777

12. (4/27/1999)

For those who don’t know, Lycos was one of the premier search engines back in the day.

ID: 848803

13. Here was one of their commercials:

ID: 848804

14. (4/28/1999)

ID: 848799

15. (10/12/1999)

The rise and fall of is emblematic of the dotcom boom and bust. This was the site in the glory days.

ID: 848806

16. (10/13/1999)

ID: 848814

17. (9/28/2002)

ID: 848819

18. (3/21/2003)

This was the site before World of Warcraft would become the world’s largest MMORPG, back when it was being beta tested and was just an anticipated game among Warcraft III fans.

ID: 848820

19. (7/1/2004)

So many wasted nights…

ID: 848822

20.’s first day (5/9/2005)

ID: 848827

21. (8/8/2005)

ID: 848830

22. (11/9/2006)

ID: 848825

23. (11/12/2006) is one of the nation’s largest online sports media destinations and was recently acquired by TBS. Back in 2006, before it got “famous,” this is what it looked like.

ID: 848834

24. And, finally, BUZZFEED! on 11/5/2006, shortly before the site’s launch.

ID: 848837

25. Buzzfeed in its very early days (11/21/2006)

ID: 848839

26. Here’s an excerpt from the “About” page on the same date:

ID: 848840

27. Here’s a cleaner build of the site on 1/7/2007 (SIX years ago!)

NOTE: The dog on the bottom of the page.

Hope you enjoyed the trip through Internet memory lane, all made possible by the work of the tireless Internet archivists at The Internet Archives.

ID: 848842

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