RIP GeoCities 1995 – 2009

GeoCities RIPLet’s have a two-minute silence: GeoCities is dead and has been finally laid to rest by its owner, Yahoo.

GeoCities was almost 15 years old. In Internet terms, it was born shortly after the big bang in the latter half of 1995. Its creators, David Bohnett and John Rezner, envisaged a virtual community with web pages hosted in cyber cities and neighborhoods. The system was a massive success and quickly attracted a huge following. At its peak, millions of pages were created and, in the early days of the web, every other site appeared to be hosted on GeoCities.

That is not to say GeoCities sites were good. Most were shockingly awful and the enforced backgrounds and advertising did not help. Despite this, popularity continued to grow and, during the height of the dotcom boom in 1999, Yahoo bought the company for $3.6 billion. That’s right: $3,600,000,000. At the time, GeoCities was hosting 3.5 million sites which made each one of them worth over $1,000! (We may laugh now, but do not forget the ludicrous valuations for Facebook and Twitter…)

GeoCities began showing signs of fatigue shortly afterwards. Intrusive advertising, poor development tools, and the introduction of inexpensive hosting plans made GeoCities a less attractive option. The rise of blogging platforms and social networks such as MySpace made it easier to create a web presence and receive user-generated content.

Even before GeoCities fell out of fashion, the company had never made a profit and Yahoo pulled the plug without making any attempt to sell the system. New account sign-ups have been stopped and the old sites will disappear by the end of the year. There are only a few months left to revel at some of the worst sites on the net.

Will you shed a tear for GeoCities? Is this the end of an internet era? Or should it have been killed off years ago?

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  • zulsdesign

    goodbye geocities

  • spader725

    Marquee, blink, hit counters, and guestbooks. Ah yes, good times.

  • Florin Anghel

    It was expcted. This or a big upgrade to the service.

    But Piczo.Com still works. See what adding a simple WYSIWYG editor can result in?

  • Adam

    I built and published my first site on GeoCities in about 1998. I can remember it now. Lime green text, navy blue background, the ghastly under construction images and welcome pages with nothing more than “CLICK TO ENTER”!..

    I guess I owe my career to GeoCities, I probably would have never got into web design without it.

  • David

    I created my first website on GeoCities in 1997, and I owe a lot to GeoCities for giving me confidence to learn Web Development. I ran a site about Castles across Europe. I would take weekend trips just to get photos and leaflets about Castles to add to my site. My site was always listed on the first page of Google.

    I consider GeoCities the first MySpace and facebook of the web. Like many others I left GeoCities to set up my site on a local ISP because of the enforced advertisements and lack of tools (scripting) in 1998. I believe GeoCities down turn started in 1999.

    GeoCities downturn was not the blogging platforms or social networks in my option, but the web hosting people got with their local ISP connection. MySpace was founded in 2003 and Facebook in 2004. Another factor in GeoCities fate was Yahoo poor management decision of limiting of data transfer for free accounts around 2001.

    Don’t forget the others like Angelfire and Tripod.

  • aljiro

    Its sad to see this service go but I guess there are just more convenient choices now. I hated the forced ads on them. :)

  • Frank

    No story about this can be complete without mentioning the Archive Team’s effort (Led by Jason Scott of textfiles.com fame) to save the content of Geocities.

    Archive Team Page

  • rayvolvez

    Well, I probably didn’t shed a tear but I do always remember that I had my first “Pokemon website about my love for Pikachu” (I’m only 13 back then.) on GeoCities and even hosted some web designing tutorials(frames/tables) on GeoCities…

    Its where I had some beginnings and even though that account of mine has been dead and in the dust for years, I still feel that bit of sadness to the closure of Geocities.

    And maybe sad for Yahoo, 3.6millions !

  • alexweber

    Oh man… these are sad, sad times! My Diablo I clan webpage from when I was 16 will finally be put to rest… :)

  • http://jimneath.org Jim Neath

    @alexweber Funnily enough that’s what my first website was about.

    RIP Geocities.

  • Seth

    My first web site was on Geocities. It was a Detroit Red Wings fan page with different random backgrounds on each page and I believe I even used Comic Sans as my font! Just like Adam though, I self taught myself HTML through geocities, and is probably why I am where I am today.

  • engkiat

    i believe many of us here started with geocities realising our dreams to become a web designer or developer…we really owe it to these free web hosting services! RIP…

  • Piet Hein

    I moght be one of only few, but I’m not crying over the end of Geocities. All their ‘sites’ were a pain in the eye.

    Good riddance to them.

  • Scott Petrovic

    I made one of my first websites on here in gradeschool. I wish I could remember what the URL was. So long Geocities!

  • http://users.cg.yu/divine Divine

    @Adam, @David

    Same story here, I guess.

  • Ludwig

    Shame, really. I’ve been a user of Geocities since 2002; never had any issues and my website works fine. Then again, I never used their free web-hosting and had Geocities plus. I liked using HTML and building my site from scratch. I learned a lot through Geocities when first getting on the net.

    Well, on the hunt for another service it seems; one that won’t close like many others have recently. I’m not interested in blogging or social networks; I just need a place to host the website as it is. Justhost.com looks promising.

  • Lololololol

    My first ever web pages were built with this service. They actually got deleted a long time ago though. Ah well. RIP “Geoshities”, you served me somewhat well in my early web design learning.

  • halil

    One of my pages in Geocities had a mention of CS Script. I had built the page circa 2000 IMO. CS Script stands for Counter-Strike Script, a very simple script-like config language that enables easier gaming(or cheating, if you prefer). I now recall that someone around the globe (I’m from Turkey, I think they were from US) asked about what kind of script was that :) He had thought that the script was related to dynamic web pages, or real software or something :) If only I were aware of what a real dynamic thing is capable of at that age :)