GeoCities was a web service that allowed its users to create and publish webpages about anything that interested them and allow users to browse these user-creator sites all for free. GeoCities was created in 1994 and really captured the interests of the public as just about every topic imaginable was represented on the cite. Social neighborhoods were even created to group sites together that represented similar topics to make it much for convenient for the users. Also, since the authors of these GeoCities sites were just regular old people, every individual site had its own feel that represented the personality of the author. This would lead to authors posting personal information about themselves including big events that have occurred or are upcoming in their lives to liven up the site. In 1999, GeoCities was purchased by Yahoo after it became the third most visited site on the internet in the late 1990s. However, in the mid 2000s GeoCities popularity started to decline with the rise of cheap web hosting and new social media sites such as Myspace. GeoCities was eventually shut down in 2009 by Yahoo although many of the sites were archived and saved for people to still view today.
The archived site that I choose to do this assignment on is, Karaff’s Window on the Web. This GeoCities site was created by a man named Dale Karaff in 1999 who is retired from a public utility job and has interests in financial programs and genealogy. The site contains many different links from news outlets and other reliable sources related to Karaff’s interests as well as other categories. Karaff provides information on topics such as financial programs, genealogy, media links, sports, news, search engines, the federal government, and even satellites and weather.
The main target population of Karaff’s site was those who are interested in the stock market or other financial programs, as well as genealogy and the study of one’s heritage. So, the people using Karaff’s site would mainly be those with jobs in finance, have investments in the stock market, are biologists, or have interest in learning about their family heritage. What makes these GeoCities sites so special is that writers, like Karaff, can focus their content on topics they are interested in and can talk about forever. This allows for users to get the most out of their viewing experience and really get to interact with the sites and their authors. Also, if you look at GeoCities as an online site for interaction and conversation with other users, it can be interpreted as the first ever social media site ever created.
When it comes to design, many of the GeoCities sites that were achieved are very messy and unorganized with information everywhere which could be hard for users to navigate. This could be due to the fact these sites were shut down over 10 years ago, however, sites like Karaff’s are still perfectly organized and easy to navigate. Karaff has headers over all his links to signify the category of the articles listed, as well as gifs or animated images to make them even more clear and add some creativity to the site. Also, the color of the webpage was bright green with black text which made the site stand out amongst others and was one of the main reasons I choose this site compared to others. Bright colors and animated images were commonly seen in GeoCities sites because of the way they stood out and presented themselves to users looking for a page to browse. The design of GeoCities sites drew the attention of users from all over and led to the web interface becoming one of the most popular in the world.
Money and power are key staples to production for every business and every company around the world. Even if you think a website or storage is free, its usually not. At the beginning of its creation, GeoCities charged its web creators paid hosting which means they had to pay for a certain amount of space on the site. After some time, they changed their policy to provide 2 free megabytes and charged creators a monthly fee if they wanted to use more storage. To make this switch to free megabytes, GeoCities started to require all its site creators to display advisements on their pages to get checks from companies who wanted to promote products on their sites. When just looking at Karaff’s site, the main benefiters of his content would be the news outlets he’s posting links for on his page. The news and informational links posted are receiving more viewers and potentially more money depending on what sources they use to gain income. Overall, as much as GeoCities was doing for its users and page creators, the owners still need to gain a profit in return.
Edwards, Benj. “Remembering GeoCities, the 1990s Precursor to Social Media.” How. How-To Geek, August 24, 2021. https://www.howtogeek.com/692445/remembering-geocities-the-1990s-precursor-to-social-media/.
Karaff, Dale. “Karaff’s Window on the Web.” GeoCities, 1999. https://geocities.restorativland.org/WallStreet/1604/#finance.
Wayback Machine. Accessed November 3, 2022. https://web.archive.org/.
“The Geocities Gallery.” The Geocities Gallery: WallStreet. Accessed November 3, 2022. https://geocities.restorativland.org/WallStreet/.