Altavista, Lycos and The Trojan Room Coffee Pot are websites you probably don’t remember or haven’t heard of. Why do some websites live on while others die? The simple answer is that people must continue updating them, or at least keep paying for server space. The following websites are well into their second or third decade and are testaments to the permanency of anything posted on the Web.
The official website of the European Organization for Nuclear Research is the world’s oldest website and was designed by World Wide Web inventor Tim Berners-Lee in 1991. While the Internet had been functional for a couple of decades, Berners-Lee was the first to propose using hypertext to rapidly transmit information from computer to computer. What began as a project to allow employees easy remote access to the organization’s servers turned into the first web browser. The homepage currently offers a succinct history of the Web that any nerd will enjoy.
2. The Internet Movie Database
Technically, IMDb predates the CERN webpage. Before the World Wide Web, there was Usenet. Usenet began as a collection of discussion forums that only a tech-savvy few could use, and it was through this medium that a few film buffs started sharing lists of their favorite actors and actresses. The lists grew to include biographical information for each actor, prompting Col Needham, the programmer who began the original topic, to design a search engine that could easily navigate the data his team compiled. IMBb.com went live in 1993 and now includes entries for any actor or film you can think of.
Another child of Usenet, the Darwin Awards were founded in 1985 and have since honored individuals who meet their demise in untimely yet humorous ways. An official website and book series were soon to follow. According to official guidelines, to receive a Darwin Award one must: 1) be deceased or sterile; 2) be capable of making rational judgments before death; 3) nonetheless express laughably poor judgment; and 4) be the cause of their own demise or steralization.
Think.com, the predecessor to ThinkQuest.com, was the third domain name ever registered. Operated by the Oracle Education Foundation, ThinkQuest is a free learning tool that helps K-12 students produce their own multi-media projects to share with others around the world.
This website looks untouched since the 1990’s, which makes it a fascinating snapshot of the early days of 24-hour news access. The hectic world of journalism became exponentially more demanding once news networks started broadcasting all day every day. Fortunately, O.J. Simpson’s trial for allegedly murdering his wife gave talking heads plenty to talk about. Here you can find everything from baby photos of Simpson to the suicide note he penned on the eve of his arrest.
So it seems that anything you post to the Web can indeed remain there forever. Just hope your Facebook page doesn’t one day end up of this list.