A few days ago, I was looking up the history of webpages for another blog post and came across the Internet Archive Wayback Machine. The Internet Archive was something I had heard of before, but the Wayback Machine was surprisingly new to me. Being into computers and an appreciator of history, I found this site incredible. Since 1996, the archive has been taking snapshots of whatever websites it can get its hands on, and this app scours its archives to show you what a website looked like at a particular point in time.
I find it interesting (you may not) to see what facebook.com looked like before it was the Facebook we know and love.
It started off as a link to a pay service (aboutface.com) for companies looking to help their employees know each other’s names, costing up to $149 a month, or a one time fee of up to $1,295.
Some time later it appears they let the domain name expire, and it got snatched up by a graphic designer named Lisa at Northeastern University (or the archive goofed). Lisa used it to link to her resume, and what appear to be some examples of her work. The online jam selling business site she designed makes me smile – how simple things used to look, and then knowing facebook.com used to link to site selling jars of jam for $4.95.
Shortly after aboutface.com got the domain back and built it up and marketed it to schools and hospitals in addition to businesses. Later, they again let the domain expire, at which point it was picked up by Mark Zuckerberg who made it Thefacebook and made it free and only usable by students at certain colleges. The site expanded its school base, added high schools, droped the “the” from thefacebook, and eventually opened its doors to everyone to and is now the second most trafficked site on the net.
Here are some other sites early looks:
This brief history lesson brought to you in part by: http://www.archive.org