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Geocities Shutting Down Today 396

Paolo DF writes "Geocities is closing today. Its advent in 1995 was a sign of the rising 'Internet for everyone' era, when connection speeds were 1,000x or 2,000x slower than is common today. You may love it or hate it, but millions of people had their first contact with a Web presence right here. I know that Geocities is something that most Slashdotters will see as a n00b thing — the Internet was fine before Geocities — but nevertheless I think that some credit is due. Heck, there's even a modified xkcd homepage to mark the occasion." Reader commodore64_love notes a few more tributes around the Web. Last spring we discussed Yahoo's announcment that Geocities would be going away.
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Geocities Shutting Down Today

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  • by eldavojohn ( 898314 ) * <(eldavojohn) (at) (gmail.com)> on Monday October 26, 2009 @12:50PM (#29873933) Journal
    Most memories of Grandpa have been archived [archive.org]. It's time to pull the plug. RIP you browser crashing old coot.
  • N00b thing? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by pclminion ( 145572 ) on Monday October 26, 2009 @12:52PM (#29873965)

    Let's not get all full of ourselves here. We might go way back, but to say that the majority of Slashdotters were online BEFORE Geocities is probably stretching it. I was on the Internet before 1995, and I don't think of Geocities as a "n00b thing." 14 years ago isn't exactly a blink of the eye.

    • Re:N00b thing? (Score:5, Informative)

      by LWATCDR ( 28044 ) on Monday October 26, 2009 @12:56PM (#29874027) Homepage Journal

      Has it been that long?
      Can someone help me install Trumpet Winsock so I can get my Windows 3.11 system in the internet using PPP?

    • My first memories are of a lynx text browser - and yet it was still somehow possible to create a geocities site that way.
    • Re:N00b thing? (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 26, 2009 @01:02PM (#29874093)

      Amen - sure, Geocities lowered the barrier to constructing content (in the sense that you didn't need a shell account or to know how to use one), but you still needed to figure out HTML. You still needed to be a little bit geeky.

      The full "social networks" that came after Geocities, those are what lowered the barrier to the degree where it's a "n00b thing."

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Khyber ( 864651 )

        Geocities offered a WYSIWYG page builder - you didn't need to know HTML.

      • Re:N00b thing? (Score:4, Insightful)

        by sjames ( 1099 ) on Monday October 26, 2009 @02:53PM (#29875559) Homepage Journal

        N00b is relative. In those days, to become a n00b, you had to first know the internet existed (many were blissfully unaware), then figure out Linux or Trumpet winsock. Being a bit geeky was a prerequisite for n00bdom on the net. Then AOL came along and lowered the bar for becoming a n00b (and thus the quality of n00bs).

        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          Then AOL came along and lowered the bar for becoming a n00b (and thus the quality of n00bs).

          I was an AOL user, you insensitive clod!

          Actually, I had AOL starting in 1993, so I was online (for certain values of "online") before Geocities came along. I was a bit of a late bloomer when it came to being an Internet geek. Most of my code hacking and game playing was offline until I got to college.

    • by c0d3g33k ( 102699 ) on Monday October 26, 2009 @01:16PM (#29874265)
      Hey look - it's a low UID reunion!
    • Yes Geocities was pretty early in the history of the Web. I first got Mosaic on my Amiga late-1993, and the Geocities company was founded only one year later.

    • Re:N00b thing? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by MobyDisk ( 75490 ) on Monday October 26, 2009 @01:21PM (#29874349) Homepage

      I think you misunderstood the n00b comment.

      I don't think they meant that people who joined the internet during or after Geocities are n00bs. It meant that Geocities was a way for n00bs to join the internet. Geocities was a point of entry for people who wanted a web page but didn't know HTML, or know what an ISP was, and couldn't pay monthly fees. It was a place where the tag found popularity, full of obnoxious backgrounds, and embedded sound effects. It was a place for n00bs.

      Basically, it was like MySpace.

    • Re:N00b thing? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Skuld-Chan ( 302449 ) on Monday October 26, 2009 @01:29PM (#29874463)

      I do remember when geocities came online. I was still using Windows 3.1 (really hadn't played with linux much) and had a shell connection to a Solaris machine run by Oregon EDNET (compass). If you search around google you'll find references to that.

      Anyhow I thought it was cool they were basically giving away website space for free. The original version of it wasn't a banner, popup encursted nightmare - those came later, probably when someone who worked there woke up one day and asked themselves how it was going to make money.

      For sure - my first website ever was on geocities.

    • Re:N00b thing? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Amorpheus_MMS ( 653095 ) <amorpheus&gmail,com> on Monday October 26, 2009 @01:29PM (#29874485)

      I'm sure fourteen years must be close to an Internet Millennium.

      • We are finally moving from the Age of Geocities to ... what? We've been in the Age of Google for a while.

        Maybe it's different for different products; like for search engines there was the Age of Lycos, and now the Age of Google (of course I might also argue there was an Age of DejaNews).
    • Re:N00b thing? (Score:5, Informative)

      by br00tus ( 528477 ) on Monday October 26, 2009 @01:35PM (#29874549)
      I agree. In 1993 I heard about lynx and the World Wide Web, but when I checked it out and compared it to UMN's UNIX gopher client and gopherspace, it did not compare well at all, gopherspace was far superior with much more content, search engines like Archie and Veronica etc.

      In November 1994 Netscape released its first beta, in December its first full version. For me, this was really when the web began to look more interesting - Navigator was well-made, there was graphical content and so forth. Also, don't forget, Navigator could use the Gopher protocol (my Firefox still can - Aerv.nl [aerv.nl]. From early 1995 on, you began to see an explosion of web content.

      As far as hosting - in early 1996 I began working at an ISP which charged $50 a month for 10 megabytes of disk space, and the use of CGI, email and so forth was extra. And we were real cheap compared to some local competitors - people came flooding in to use us. Geocities began offering free (with advertising, a Geocities URL etc.) web pages in mid-1995, I created one in October 1995, as I certainly could not afford to shell out $50 a month for my web page back then. There was nothing really n00b about Geocities, Craigslist's web page did not have HTML as a job requirement when Geocities launched, in fact, Craigslist did not have a web page until 1996, the year after Geocities launched.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by jellomizer ( 103300 )

      Back in those day getting a pipeline for hosting was very expensive. $1,000 a month for a T1. Cable Modems, DSL weren't there perhaps only in R&D, and some very select markets. The fastest way to connect was threw an ISDN line. Which was still expensive, but gave you speeds about 120Kbs. Most of the time you were on Modems ranging from speeds of 14.4k - 56.8 k Running a server off of this was silly at best. Geocities was a good place to cut your teeth in making webpages. Yes most of them were rathe

  • WTF Yahoo! (Score:5, Funny)

    by clinko ( 232501 ) on Monday October 26, 2009 @12:54PM (#29873995) Journal

    WTF! Didn't they see my gif saying my site was under construction!

  • Moo (Score:2, Funny)

    by Chacham ( 981 )

    Fat Cat: I'd commemorate this by linking to my page on Geocities, but, well...

  • check the source. (Score:5, Informative)

    by jointm1k ( 591234 ) on Monday October 26, 2009 @12:56PM (#29874019)
    Heck, there's even a modified xkcd homepage to mark the occasion."

    <HTML WEB="2.0">


    GOTO 10
    • by CuriHP ( 741480 )

      And you're not even going to mention the

      INT MAIN(VOID) { COUT "\

      at the top?

      • Re:check the source. (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Tony Hoyle ( 11698 ) <tmh@nodomain.org> on Monday October 26, 2009 @01:36PM (#29874559) Homepage

        I liked the

        <SCRIPT LANGUAGE='SCHEME'>(define (eval exp env) (cond ((self-evaluating? exp) exp) ((variable? exp) (lookup-variable-value exp env)) ((quoted? exp) (text-of-quotation exp)) ((assignment? exp) (eval-assignment exp env)) ((definition? exp) (eval-definition exp env)) ((if? exp) (eval-if exp env)) ((lambda? exp) (make-procedure (lambda-parameters exp) (lambda-body exp) env)) ((begin? exp) (eval-sequence (begin-actions exp) env)) ((cond? exp) (eval (cond->if exp) env)) ((application? exp) (apply (eval (operator exp) env) (list-of-values (operands exp) env))) (else (error "Common Lisp or Netscape Navigator 4.0+ Required" exp))))</SCRIPT>

    • No C:/ links? (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Picass0 ( 147474 )

      I dug the broken image links but i would have liked to see one or two hrefs point at a C: drive.

  • But I don't know if its Nostalgia or Relief...

  • Too bad (Score:5, Insightful)

    by DogDude ( 805747 ) on Monday October 26, 2009 @12:56PM (#29874029)
    I think it's too bad. Geocities really did make it easy to get a web page online, and is arguably, still one of the easiest ways for *anybody* to get information out there. The beauty of the early web was that there was a lot of weird information that was often maintained by a single person with a passion for, say, peanut butter flavored roller skates. I see the web becoming increasing homogenized today, with lots and lots of interlinking, and less interesting, weird unique content. Despite their annoying JS ads, I'll still miss Geocities.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      It had some really interesting sites for its day. Like this one [geocities.com] I found just the other day with a chronology of Asimov's Foundation universe and a list of characters not updated in over 10 years. Soon to be lost in the ether or stuck in some archive somewhere I guess.

    • Re:Too bad (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Aladrin ( 926209 ) on Monday October 26, 2009 @01:22PM (#29874375)

      I don't think there's less unique content. I think there's -more- non-unique content. You're just having trouble finding the unique content because you're traveling in the well-known circles. I still find plenty of things that only return a few results in Google that are actually for what I want.

      And the fact that things are repeated isn't bad, either. The other day I wanted to know how to thicken honey. I buy 'spreadable' honey at the store, but I prefer the taste of some other more earthy honeys and want them spreadable. Turns out it's called 'whipped honey' by most people and you actually don't -add- anything to it. Because there are a dozen or so sites about it, 1 of them actually managed to hit enough that my keywords found it. If there had been only 1 site, I probably would still be wondering a year from now.

    • Re:Too bad (Score:5, Interesting)

      by smellsofbikes ( 890263 ) on Monday October 26, 2009 @01:25PM (#29874413) Journal
      I've heard a lot of people make the claim that the Internet is less interesting than it used to be, because there are less people making webpages about peanut-butter-flavored roller skates, but I wonder if that's true. I think it's more an issue of dilution: there are 100x as many people online as there were 10 years ago, and almost all of them are boring mundane people making boring mundane webpages, so the interesting (and, in my judgment, *useful*) pages are just much harder to find. But for all the people who *want* to read about the latest celebrity mishap, the Internet is probably becoming *more* useful. Speaking as someone who has more than my share of weird micro-interest webpages online, and has since 1996, I'm getting consistently increasing traffic and when I do a search on the sort of subjects my pages are about, I find consistently increasing numbers of similar pages, but neither the interest nor the other pages are increasing at anywhere nearly how quickly the Internet as a whole is increasing. I figure we're just getting lost in the noise, which is fine as long as the info is still out there. However, if people have evidence that the little weird quirky pages are actually disappearing, rather than just getting swamped, I'd love to hear about it.
  • Is that a javascript'ed blink "tag" they are using? I thought most browsers didn't acknowledge that tag in HTML anymore...

    And why on earth am I seeing a banner ad here on the slashdot comment page that says geocities?
    • Re: (Score:2, Flamebait)

      by Neil Hodges ( 960909 )

      It's called CSS. You might want to learn it sometime.

      <TD><FONT COLOR="#bababa"><span style="text-decoration:blink;"><BLINK><A HREF="http://dynamic.xkcd.com/random/comic/" id="rnd_btn_t">rAnDoM</A></span></BLINK>

    • by xgr3gx ( 1068984 )

      I'm using Opera - both blink and scroll are working ;)

  • Long live the rotating,flaming skull!

  • by ZekoMal ( 1404259 ) on Monday October 26, 2009 @12:58PM (#29874061)
    I'm a noob I s'pose; geocities was my entry into the internet. For me, that was how I learned all the HTML codes: I would type in what I thought would look good, check out the end result, then go back and fix it up. Most of the content wasn't that good, but you could find all sorts of little gems with enough searching. Can't even recall how many custom Doom/Heretic levels I found thanks to geocities...
  • by hondo77 ( 324058 ) on Monday October 26, 2009 @12:59PM (#29874063) Homepage
    I'm going to miss Jesux [geocities.com], the born-again Linux.
  • I'll miss you http://www.geocities.com/TimesSquare/5568/index.html [geocities.com]. You taught me HTML which helped me get my first IT job, and helped girls stalk me 8 years later after I forgot you existed, because in my pupal years, I had no concerns of privacy. May your green background with blinking red letters sleep soundly knowing they successfully burned over 200,000 retinas (according to my web counter) if people clicked on the "Don't click on this link!" link.
  • the countdown to the demise of Facebook! Can't happen soon enough. 'Nuff said.
  • by Kagato ( 116051 ) on Monday October 26, 2009 @01:02PM (#29874095)

    So Long and Thanks for all the Blink Tags!

  • by Bootsy Collins ( 549938 ) on Monday October 26, 2009 @01:03PM (#29874099)
    Hah. I came to /. today just to see if someone had posted the xkcd geocities tribute. Everything from the background, the revolving "@" symbol, the under construction GIFs, and especially the malformed HTML coming across as text content, is exceptionally well done.
    • Exceptionally well done, hurt my eyes and gave me a headache, and reminded me why I started avoiding Geocities a long time ago.
  • Source code (Score:3, Informative)

    by Travbrack ( 1526737 ) on Monday October 26, 2009 @01:06PM (#29874145)
    Check out the source code, good stuff:

    {HTML WEB="2.0"}
    • by Reapman ( 740286 )

      Wowa, thank's for pointing that out I would have missed it otherwise. The work and thinking behind XKCD is both amazing and scary at the same time.

      I guess I'm falling under the old timer category now, because damn this makes me nastalgic for things like being amazed at this HTML stuff learning it in high school and being amazed at how much better Netscape Navigator was from Mosaic.

  • R.I.P. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by ari_j ( 90255 ) on Monday October 26, 2009 @01:08PM (#29874173)
    I am hopeful that any information I may need that was only ever hosted on some guy's Geocities site (probably in SiliconValley) has been archived. There is a lot of it, from information about microcontroller programming to Old English word lists and grammar lessons, that up to last week I ended up at some geocities.com address for. It hosted a lot more than just nested blink and marquee tags.
  • by sean_nestor ( 781844 ) on Monday October 26, 2009 @01:08PM (#29874175) Homepage
    Say what you want about aesthetics, but Geocities gave a lot of young people (myself included) their first taste of web design. Long before cookie-cutter social networking sites made web coding languages trivial, services like Geocities and Angelfire were giving people all the tools to build a personal web site with. Sure, they weren't all winners [seanbaby.com] (by a long shot [gvsu.edu]), but there were enough diamonds in the rough that I still have a soft spot for the days when a lot of young kids actually bothered to learn HTML and CSS so they could make their page look a little nicer.

    We often overlook the idea of using web sites as a form of expression, but that's exactly what a lot of the self-made websites were back then. And I remember seeing a lot of really amazing layouts being made by people who otherwise had no interest in anything techy, a little after CSS hit the mainstream.

    Say what you will, but Geocities got a lot of young people - myself included - to get their hands dirty with web design. I, for one, will miss it.

    • LOL forgot about Angelfire!

      I also remember people used to use these sites to host pirated stuff before there were torrents and the like.

      Sure they would get taken down pretty quickly, but while they were up it was "come and get it while you still can!"

  • How many links are going to broken after today? Then again, is there anything out there that hasn't been improved and stored away somewhere else?

    • by Hadlock ( 143607 )

      I think vmex, the source engine map decompiler, is/was hosted at geocities. I've got a local copy of the zip file, but I know the mirrors (which were linked to from the geocities site) were down, which is going to hurt new mappers to the community. The geocities site is linked from Valve's developer wiki even.

  • by oldhack ( 1037484 ) on Monday October 26, 2009 @01:11PM (#29874207)
    Those eyesores were kinda comforting.
  • by thetoadwarrior ( 1268702 ) on Monday October 26, 2009 @01:16PM (#29874271) Homepage
    I first started on some site I can't even remember but it was super basic so I moved to Tripod and then also opened up some stuff on Geocities.

    There was a load of shit on Geocities especially after Yahoo bought them but it was also full of tons of useful info. After all that's all some people had to share info and all sites were ugly even if most were but let's face it the web in general is a bit ugly compared to now.

    Geocities could at least give people a platform to learn web design and development. You don't get that really with most social sites these days and most people's myspace site is ugly as sin so in some ways we haven't really advanced.
  • by macbuzz01 ( 1074795 ) on Monday October 26, 2009 @01:19PM (#29874329) Journal
    Based on the design, it looks like slashdot is marking the occasion too....what....it always looks like this?
  • Geospam (Score:2, Insightful)

    by hardihoot ( 1044510 )

    Failing to turn any significant profit from all of those pop-ups and banner ads (in fact, there's questions about whether GeoCities was ever cash-flow positive), the purchase -- or perhaps Yahoo's inaction once GeoCities was acquired -- turned out to be one of the company's most costly mistakes.

    Yahoo is encouraging the relatively few remaining users to transition their accounts to the company's $5-per-month Web hosting service.

    All of those pop-ups and banner ads is the reason why I steered clear of Geoci

  • Geocities wasn't all that different from MySpace and Facebook: it gave people a simple way to create a web presence. It was lacking the "viral" aspect of the social networking sites, but arguably, that may have been a good thing...

  • by DarthVain ( 724186 ) on Monday October 26, 2009 @01:29PM (#29874469)

    http://www.geocities.com/darthvain/ [geocities.com]

    As much as geocities is horrible I don't think it holds a candle to "Myspace" web monstrosities with music and flashing crap. Geocities was good because it was the first big thing that let you host "stuff" for free. Now freehosting services are a dime a dozen, geocities isn't really needed, not to mention the myspaces and facebooks of the world now. However back in the day, if you didn't want to pay to host your own stuff, or didn't want to mess around a lot of dynamic IPs, host updaters, and setting up a private webserver and dns server (or pay for web creation software, or even bother to learn html) for the absolute free experience for a personal web page geocities was there. Again, now there are tons of free services out there, and pay ones that are not nearly as expensive as they used to be. Most noobs used it to basically say "Hi look at me, I am on the web!" which was served by MySpace and now Facebook really. ...and before you respond yes I know my geocities site is crap and I haven't updated it in years. Don't judge me, I was weak. :)

  • http://www.geocities.com/wfdhayride/ [geocities.com] I just got signed on to redo this site but I am thinking I will stay nostalgic.
  • by circletimessquare ( 444983 ) <circletimessquare&gmail,com> on Monday October 26, 2009 @01:42PM (#29874625) Homepage Journal

    i would never have known that ninjas are mammals

    http://www.realultimatepower.net/ninja/ninja2.htm [realultimatepower.net]

  • by Christoph ( 17845 ) <chris@cgstock.com> on Monday October 26, 2009 @01:50PM (#29874737) Homepage Journal

    I got an email from a stranger in the Philippines asking for help with a document she found on my website. I responded (somewhat begrudgingly), she thanked me. I followed a link to her Geocities homepage in her signature line, and (seeing her photos) began emailing her.

    http://www.geocities.com/balene46/Photo_Gallery.html [geocities.com]

    We've been married four years now.
    http://www.cgstock.com/personal/arlene_gregerson [cgstock.com] ...and have a great toddler.
    http://www.cgstock.com/athena [cgstock.com]

    Thanks, geocities.

  • by Antiocheian ( 859870 ) on Monday October 26, 2009 @02:12PM (#29875033) Journal

    Geocities made me realize that it is not the medium people lack, but the talent. I would see thousands of people trying to communicate a message and it was really sad to find out that their message would be best if it wasn't communicated at all. Painters with no skill, musicians with no muse, writers who couldn't write an interesting paragraph etc.

    I remember I was so optimistic about the freedom of expression and what I experienced in Geocities still remains one of the most bitter experiences about people in general. Perhaps the most. Seeing all those ungifted people patting each other in the back, refusing to accept what they created was trash it was disheartening every day.

    I was raised with the philosophy that "whoever thinks freely, thinks well" and it was in Geocities that I discovered how false that is. I am thankful for that, but did it have to be so blunt?

  • by Dahamma ( 304068 ) on Monday October 26, 2009 @02:14PM (#29875045)

    It's as if millions of awful websites suddenly cried out and were suddenly silenced. But no one heard them because no one has actually viewed any of them in years.

  • by EkriirkE ( 1075937 ) on Monday October 26, 2009 @02:15PM (#29875083) Homepage
    I remember picking my neighborhood page, throwing up useless junk about how much macs suck and PC rule, animated GIFs for IChat, ICQ and webring. Then I wrote a program that drew visitors to my page and got me recognition in the weekly geocities digests for my traffic and a couple free tshirts (I still have one in the plastic wrapper, the other I wear as casual). They gave me more webspace and bandwidth as well. Then a year or so later Yahoo bought them up and started doling out vengeance against those who had active sites. This is when GeoCities truly died. All that we saw between then and now was postmortem random nerve firing. Yahoo routinely would shut down my site with tales of "Bandwidth exceeded"
  • xkcd talent (Score:3, Funny)

    by TechwoIf ( 1004763 ) on Monday October 26, 2009 @02:31PM (#29875281) Homepage
    I just looked at the xkcd home page redone in geocities style. That is one talented web master to create a home page that managed to mimics every detail of what was bad about geocities web pages. Even right down to the x10 ad. :-)

... though his invention worked superbly -- his theory was a crock of sewage from beginning to end. -- Vernor Vinge, "The Peace War"