Jennicam. Mahir Çağrı. CIndy Margolis. The Trojan Room coffee pot. Admit it — things were better when all there was to the web was Web 1.0.
And so, following the rule that the rate of nostalgia-mongering increases proportionally to the square of technological change, herewith are the definitive top ten Web 1.0 moments.
10. Gawker wanted nothing more than to be Suck.com. We loved it especially for that one picture. You know the one. "A fish, a barrel, and a smoking gun". Damn straight.
9. Before there was the Browser and Brainpicker, there was the Arts and Letters Daily, the first great middle-brow aggregator. It’s still going, but it hasn’t been the same since its founder, philosopher Dennis Dutton, died too soon.
8. The Visual Thesaurus. They’ve ruined it now, but when it first launched it was magnificent. Search any word and see its relationships to the rest the language mapped out in a dancing, playful semantic web. Absolutely mesmerizing.
7. Hot Chicks with Douchebags. There’s not much to it. Pictures of hot chicks with douchebags, with extended captions written like prose poems from the gutter. The founder was a graduate student in literature, naturally.
6. The precursor to College Humor and Funny or Die, Brunching Shuttlecocks was one of the first great humour sites. Your roommate plays the Indigo Girls.
5. The Best Page in the Universe. It’s still going, and it still has that appalling design. And he’s an asshole. But lord Maddox is funny. So, so funny.
4. If there was ever a site that was too smart for its time, it was Fametracker, the “Farmer’s Almanac of Celebrity Worth.” Along with its sister site, Television Without Pity, Fametracker was run by Adam Sternbergh and Tara Ariano. I wish it were still up just so I could link to the Fame Audit of William Shatner, one of the greatest short hits on celebrity ever written.
3. They had a website. They had a plan. Generals Jenny and Claire even had T-shirts promoting their goal of Canada World Domination. I interviewed one of them, sort of, by email. We all had crushes on them, back when I was part of the gang running This Magazine in Toronto.
2. You can do anything at Zombo.com. The only limit is yourself.
1. Sometimes, the culture is poorer because people aren’t willing to sell out. What could we have had, if the brothers Chaps had been less interested in just amusing themselves, and more interested in making more lucre? I suppose what we have is plenty enough: Halloween cartoons, Sbemail, Marzipan’s answering machine. At the core of it all was Homestar, a lisping, moronic, fantastically endearing cartoon knockoff of a Japanese popsicle. Everybody! Everybody!