Long Forgotten Internet History

3 minute read

I have just realised that tomorrow the 17th of Feb (or that could be today, or even yesterday, depending on when you read this!) is my 10th  anniversary of having a presence on the internet. The day I uploaded my first website www.underdownunder.com.au for my business at the time, a backpacker tour company in Tasmania.

What a Pathetic thing to remember ,I hear you say! Does he have it in his diary? Did he get a Tattoo to mark the occasion? No I didn’t.

What I did was to go to the Internet Archive, Wayback Machine! What a fantastic service. The Internet Archive Wayback Machine allows you to enter a Web address and see what the site looked like over the years. You can select dates of major changes to sites over the years, right back to 1996.

Not only is this site a lot of fun, but it can be a very useful tool in analysing web presence history. Of course, besides my own site, the first name I entered was Google. Here we find the first loaded page for The Internet Giant, some might say God. Nov 11th 1998. And a Link page that is very basic, and says…

Welcome To Google

Google Search Engine Prototype

Might-work-some-of-the-time-prototype-that is much more up to date.

And have a look at the first search page…
Googles First Search Page

Everything they are now is there, then. A solid foundation, that has not been compromised. The Logo is instantly recognisable and the function of the site is the same. Basic Principles adhered to and they are number 1. Yahoo, a similar result. From their first page you can see their direction albeit exactly what they are today, a bit of everything for everybody.

Now, try finding Facebook’s earliest incarnations of what we have today. They have blocked it from showing. Does this indicate a fundamental flaw in their character? (or ours?)

It’s interesting also to see the evolution of our largest Real Estate sites as well, RealEstate.com.au and Domain.com.au.

Anyway I won’t go into anymore musings over the many conclusions that could be drawn over timelines and changes we see, you can do that. Have a play around with it, you’ll have fun.

Or maybe you will think I am pathetic!!!

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  • Alastair
    Posted February 16, 2011 at 3:53 pm 0Likes

    Thanks Andy – I just went back – way back to 2007 to see Sold Magazine’s online appearance. Great fun.

  • Rachael
    Posted February 16, 2011 at 4:01 pm 0Likes

    Nerd porn!

  • Andy Del Vecchio
    Posted February 16, 2011 at 5:06 pm 0Likes

    yep I knew it!!!

    Pathetic ! The things I do for fun ; )

  • Bill
    Posted February 16, 2011 at 5:31 pm 0Likes

    I put up my first website in Nov1994 in a sub folder on my ISP’s server which from memory was a machine in his garage. I recall driving to his house with the site on a 3.5 disc. He didn’t give me FTP access which didn’t matter as I wouldn’t have known how to use it. It also meant another drive for any changes to the site.

    Now I’m packing a trusty Samsung Galaxy on Androids and everything is instant, I don’t have a diary but sync to Google Calendar.

    Everyday I marvel at the advances and can only guess how we’ll operate in the coming years. But I do know it won’t resemble anything we do today.

    Marvelous times, just wish I could live forever it’s so enjoyable. I even enjoyed delivering the 3.5 disc and as an add on my ISP who started in his garage sold out for millions to iinet.

  • Bill
    Posted February 16, 2011 at 5:32 pm 0Likes

    Andy I forget to say, yes it’s fun and why we keep doing it.

  • Lara
    Posted February 17, 2011 at 11:24 am 0Likes

    The funniest thing it is taking forever to load the archive page which is understandable but also a reminder of what it was like even earlier before ADSL and broadband. Not so fond memories of the days of dial-up.

  • Andy Del Vecchio
    Posted February 17, 2011 at 12:28 pm 0Likes

    Wow Bill,

    That is early Days! did you go back and find in the wayback machine?

    I feel like a late comer to the web, up until then i was driving around Australia behind the wheel of various vehicles with my own little international web of people. It wasnt until i stepped into the office I discovered a new vehicle on the internet and that was it ! I built that first one on Micorsoft Publisher of all things!

  • Andy Del Vecchio
    Posted February 17, 2011 at 12:32 pm 0Likes

    Hi Glenn,

    had you been back there before?
    Its like a time machine…internet anthroplogy…web paleontolgy

    Imagine in another twenty years, going back, we will look like Neanderthals ( although we know now that they were pretty smart too!)

  • Andy Del Vecchio
    Posted February 17, 2011 at 12:34 pm 0Likes

    Nerd Porn
    I didnt think of it that way…mmmm that comment might get business2 some extra SEO in a highly competitive area !

  • Bill
    Posted February 17, 2011 at 1:37 pm 0Likes

    That is early Days! did you go back and find in the wayback machine?

    One of the first ventures I ran was http://www.hootingowl.com a pay per click search engine


    I put the site online in 2007 from memory and before the days of Google, the big player in pay per click in those days was overture.com who later sold out to Yahoo for a squillion. My investigations of the day showed there was only four PPC’s online when I launched Hootingowl and it really was a licence to print money although consensus of the day said PPC would never take off.

    At the time I also ran a FREE Classified site with 68,000 members so it was easy launching hootingowl because in those days advertising options were limited and people were yelling for somewhere to advertise.

    I was charging US$100 to have just five keywords and charged a few cents per click. In those days AU$ was hovering around the 50cents so the revenues were huge. I was a one man show operating on my kitchen bench.

    Unfortunately I didn’t see Google coming and when they launched adwords it was a quick death for the Owl.

    I was offered a considerable amount for the site in it’s heyday but didn’t sell because of it’s cashcow status. Hmmm…

    HootingOwls terms of membership


  • Bill
    Posted February 17, 2011 at 1:43 pm 0Likes

    I put the site online in 2007 I mean’t around 1997

  • Glenn Rogers
    Posted February 17, 2011 at 2:10 pm 0Likes

    Hi Andy,

    I use that site quite often, it’s a great resource.

  • Vic
    Posted February 17, 2011 at 5:24 pm 0Likes


    If you”ve seen Andrew in the flesh, you wouldn’t be talking about porn…nerd maybe!

    The interesting thing about looking back at some past old sites that are still on the net today is that many haven’t progressed so far in rankings, for lack of understanding of SEO.

    There is minefield of great opportunity for the SEO consultants.

  • Glenn Rogers
    Posted February 17, 2011 at 8:31 pm 0Likes

    They may not have progressed becuse the owners don’t care any more, as far as SEO consultants go, they’re like used car salesmen……..all talk.
    Most of them anyway.

  • Mac
    Posted February 22, 2011 at 10:10 am 0Likes

    Remember, REView, the first national real estate portal that set agents up on the web (and before that on discs mailed around the country!). That began in 1993, long before realestate.com.au was even a twinkle in its daddy’s eye. Review (Real Estate View) changed its name to Property.com.au. Archive of Review 1995)
    Realestate.com.au came along but was nowhere near as big until it purchased Property.com.au to aggregate the market and create its dominance. (Giving new CEO Simon the magical, a pretty fair leg-up). (Property.com.au was about 3,500 agents with RE.com.au about 2,500 – Fairfax wasn’t interested 🙂

  • Mac
    Posted February 22, 2011 at 10:15 am 0Likes

    Ps The current REView (Realestateview) was created independently many, many years later by the same REIV agents who tried to kill the original REView! (because they were so close to Fairfax?) (And they even had to play with the Law to get around the fact they didn’t and still don’t, own Realestateview Pty Ltd) *L*

  • website purchase agreement
    Posted March 5, 2011 at 3:43 am 0Likes

    I first saw the internet (and began using it) back in November 1997. Guess you could say I was a bit of a late comer. I remember thinking, “what on earth is this..????” I also remember using sites like infoseek and web based chat rooms. I dont know how many times I would sit in front of a blank Google search screen trying to think of something to search for!

    I put my first site together (and backed it up on a 3 and a quarter floppy disc) back in 2001. Its now 2011, and I make a full time living out of my online businesses. Boy how times change (and fast too)

    The wayback machine is always cool to revisit!

  • ian
    Posted March 8, 2011 at 5:48 pm 0Likes

    Your article is great. Just what I’m looking for. Great work

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