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The Glory Days of the Web
The time, the place
trillianjedi

WebmasterWorld Senior Member trillianjedi us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 11492 posted 9:10 pm on Apr 11, 2006 (gmt 0)

Do you think we're in it, right now?

Will we look back on these last few years thinking "man, it was so easy back then, I just wish I had started that widget site back in '06"?

In ten years time will we be looking at the sites that started in the last couple of years realising that those kings were in the right place, at the right time and with the right idea?

Or is it simply an ever expanding and morphing virtual universe with no time limit?

TJ

 

jimbeetle

WebmasterWorld Senior Member jimbeetle us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 11492 posted 9:32 pm on Apr 11, 2006 (gmt 0)

The "ever expanding and morphing virtual universe" is a bit too philosophical for me pre-cocktail hour :-).

To me the glory days were pre-Google simply because it was so easy -- and a heck of a lot of fun -- back then. Throw up a few pages, submit, watch them start getting traffic and making money within a couple of hours.

I'm making a heck of a lot more money now because of Google, but ain't having half as much fun. Now it's simply a job.

digitalghost

WebmasterWorld Senior Member digitalghost us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 11492 posted 9:38 pm on Apr 11, 2006 (gmt 0)

I think the Web has progressed from the Glory Days, to the Gilded Age and now it is in the Fast Food Era. Fills yer belly, but it ain't as satisfying. Here's to more 4 star cuisine...

wildbest

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 11492 posted 9:50 pm on Apr 11, 2006 (gmt 0)

"man, it was so easy back then, I just wish I had started that widget site back in '06"?

Yep, it had always been this way with a new industry. Humankind history shows that a revolution takes place in a time period approximately equal to every 3 generations. So, it will be even more difficult to make a breakthrough with every year passed until... next revolution takes place after 40-50 years. But who knows, virtual reality may have different time measurements?

mcavill

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 11492 posted 9:54 pm on Apr 11, 2006 (gmt 0)

hmmm, I wish I'd started in '99, rather than '03, but that aside... :) If the speculation about ranking on traffic [webmasterworld.com] is true, then I guess the current (past 12 months) ability to build a sites traffic with no marketing spend, will be close to impossible, and we'll look back and say it was easy.

as wildbest said:
So, it will be even more difficult to make a breakthrough with every year passed until... next revolution takes place after 40-50 years.

But let's hope it's not 40 years :)

FourDegreez

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 11492 posted 9:58 pm on Apr 11, 2006 (gmt 0)

I have the same thoughts. Sometimes I wonder if I've missed getting in at the right time, but perhaps right now is the right time. You only know once you have hindsight.

StupidScript

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 11492 posted 10:21 pm on Apr 11, 2006 (gmt 0)

I'd agree that the Glory Days were back when the web was new.

Since 1996 (!) when commercialized activity was given a berth on the good ship Internet, the focus has gone down the tubes. It used to be about the information ... now it's more about how to trick people into clicking on your affiliate ads.

Thinking that the Glory Days of the web occupied no more that 6 years, and the commercialization has been going on for only 10 years after that, it seems pretty obvious that what for us are "Glory Days" will be for future netizens the "Frontier Days". We'll be talking about "back when I was your age, we had to crank up a telephone to get online" and "naahhh, we didn't need no stinking virus protection. We got viruses and we LOVED IT!" and "You actually PAY for registering a domain?"

Back when phishing wasn't even a word ... and into the future when it will be an antiquity. Ahhh. Grab a ring as you fly by. There's still plenty of time to make something that works properly.

Broadway

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 11492 posted 12:53 am on Apr 12, 2006 (gmt 0)

For content sites I would suggest it would be Summber, 2003. A time before the Google Sandbox and a time right when Adsesnse was first introduced (before smart pricing, etc..)

moltar

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 11492 posted 1:05 am on Apr 12, 2006 (gmt 0)

Right time is always. As long as you do it right :)

trillianjedi

WebmasterWorld Senior Member trillianjedi us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 11492 posted 7:38 am on Apr 12, 2006 (gmt 0)

Fast Food Era

Hehe - I think there will always be ways to make a fast buck on the web and there will therefore always be the junk food fodder here.

When I wrote the original post I was actually thinking more about branding rather than anything else.

TJ

topr8

WebmasterWorld Senior Member topr8 us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 11492 posted 8:10 am on Apr 12, 2006 (gmt 0)

>>>Do you think we're in it, right now?

i think an absolute yes

we are in the era of lots of free traffic from search engines, which will get less and less.

we are still in the era when a one man show can produce and manage a very large website (just)

the costs of running sites are at an all time low: bandwidth, hardware

there are still lots of new and unsophisticated punters/internet users

<aside>
having been in (the same) business for over 20 years i've noticed that the so called glory days were always
a few years ago
or
5 years ago
or
in the late/early xx's (replace xx with last decade)
</aside>

trillianjedi

WebmasterWorld Senior Member trillianjedi us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 11492 posted 9:36 am on Apr 12, 2006 (gmt 0)

having been in (the same) business for over 20 years i've noticed that the so called glory days were always
a few years ago

Most of the time that's nostalgia, and when you actually examine the good and the bad of the environment of the time, you realise that it actually wasn't all that glorious. We tend to remember the good times and not the bad.

Is there a right and wrong answer to the original question though?

I'm not sure that there is. I think the important thing is considering the question and asking yourself "should I be doing this now?".

I'd agree that the Glory Days were back when the web was new.

I'm not sure about that. I just think that the opportunities and philosophy behind website creation are different now than they were then.

topr8

WebmasterWorld Senior Member topr8 us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 11492 posted 12:32 pm on Apr 12, 2006 (gmt 0)

should I be doing this now?

i think you've hit the nail on the head with this question ...

if you are small or a single person operation then YES, this is still a good time to be doing this now, i believe it is still possible to compete with big operations, however this will absolutely not always be the case.

my answer refers to someone with either (1) an ecomm site or (2) a publishing site where you earn money from advertising in the broadest sense

Essex_boy

WebmasterWorld Senior Member essex_boy us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 11492 posted 8:11 pm on Apr 12, 2006 (gmt 0)

I see what your saying but dont agree with you, your assuming the net is a fixed concept and not dynamic.

With the web ever changing and needs of users constantly morphing with that change youll ALWAYS be able to find a corner you can sit in.

Just like any other business you need to have your finger on the pulse and know when the right moment appears.

johnlew

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 11492 posted 9:19 pm on Apr 12, 2006 (gmt 0)

I'd have to disagree with most of you. Pick up dreamweaver and you'll find that you can now do seamless dynamic database driven sites with minimal know-how. Wikipedia, a second generation web product, is a working demonstration of how huge bodies of information can be assembled and edited in a decentralized way.

In general, more brilliant, more dynamic, and more rich content is become easier and easier to put online. Major media outlets are loosing ground to blogs. Decentralized information is becoming politically significant. Big business like Monster are loosing share to the little guy like craigslist.

If you consider the glory days of the web to be plastering a picture of yourself on a webpage and talking about how much you like sailing, then expect it to end. However, if, like myself, you think that the best the web has to offer materializes when brilliant and incredible publication is sufficiently advanced that the difference between the big boys and Susan in her parents garage is not production value but content, so only the most creative and clever wins, then the glory days of the web are still in the making.

StupidScript

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 11492 posted 9:49 pm on Apr 12, 2006 (gmt 0)

I think the web was better before it got all commercial-y.

Now, many if not most webmasters are in it to make a buck any way they can (please chime in if you disagree.) It's a giant exercise in selfishness.

Then, many if not most webmasters were in it to either see what was possible in the new medium or to learn about what might be possible in the future. It used to be a giant exercise in global community engagement.

I really miss the 'hippie' days when we shared our insights in order to build a stronger community. These days it seems like everything is a desperately held secret until the patent can be established or until the IPO is launched. We are seeing commercialization take some significant turns (pay to send email, pay for more broadband than the other guy, pay for site visitors, etc.etc.) that will result in a more closed system if these trends continue.

The 'Net used to be all about sharing knowledge. (In anticipation: And, no, it wasn't started by the U.S. Defense Department ... they just took it over from the Universities.)

Now it's all about separating the stooges from their hard-earned money.

It might have been the Frontier, but it was definitely a much more friendly place.

Liane

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 11492 posted 10:40 pm on Apr 12, 2006 (gmt 0)

I have to agree to a certain extent with StupidScript. The web has been commercialized to such a degree that it has pretty much become something it was never intended to be. However, that is not to say that it can't be both commercial and informative! At least, that's what I try to do with my site as much as possible.

then the glory days of the web are still in the making.

I believe this as well! The web is what we webmasters make of it. If more of us are determined to create good content, then everyone who creates good content will win out in the end ... and the users will win out too if they are able to find what they are looking for!

The glory days of the web are still to come. It is currently in its gangly teenaged years and gowing through a lot of growing pains just now.

johnlew

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 11492 posted 10:59 pm on Apr 12, 2006 (gmt 0)

Quote: I really miss the 'hippie' days when we shared our insights in order to build a stronger community."

I like your intentions, but I think your not paying attention. Most webpages you see are database driven by MySQL, a big community project. Linux. Everything in the opensource world. Wikipedia became commercial after it was a schmorgousborg of shared content.

Fact is, people love to be nostalgic, but its not always better in the past. I love it when people remember the crime free days of yore (crime rates have decreased in the last 30 years), or how reliable and sturdy things used to be made (despite what you remember, automobiles, for example, require almost half the maintenance they used to). Community is stronger than ever. Right now there are more communities online and a larger percentage of users who expect nothing but to share their ideas and work than there have been on any medium in the history of mankind. Despite how good you remember it being.

StupidScript

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 11492 posted 11:20 pm on Apr 12, 2006 (gmt 0)

<sigh> You're probably right, johnlew.

I live/work in the open source world, but it's just not the same. The GPL/LGPL is a fantastic bit of work, and it's really tiring to hear "let's patent this" from clients who know about it and don't care.

These days have a lot going for them. I guess. Maybe things will settle back into a "we the people" mode after awhile. Neighborliness, remember that? Every time I hear a story about MySpace or any other social networking site I'm struck by how little interest people have in each other. Almost always the stories are about how cool one person is becoming or about how the trust relationships are being abused.

Oh well. We gave up window shopping for targeted search, and now we're giving up a big piece of what makes us a "world" in favor of a "personal home page". The easier it is to get closer, the further apart we grow. <sigh>

johnlew

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 11492 posted 11:34 pm on Apr 12, 2006 (gmt 0)

Interesting point ... I've long since marveled at the fact that the more of something we have the less of it is used. We have more information than ever but sources are becoming less credible. If your right, then we have more community but its less close knit.

Hard to say whether its getting worse or we're resisting change. I keep trying to answer that quetion buy I'm clearly too self absorbed.

Liane

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 11492 posted 12:37 am on Apr 13, 2006 (gmt 0)

Some things change and some things stay the same. I wonder what the pioneers who printed the first newspapers [earlyamerica.com] would have to say if they were able to drop in for a bit and offer an unbiased critique of today's internet.

Have things really changed that much? There were news items and editorials from the very beginning and advertising was what kept the publishers going even back in those days.

I'm as community minded as the next girl/guy ... and probably more so than some. But I have no illusions about what makes the world go 'round. Few things can be sustained without funding. Advertising is a necessity. On the internet, a web site can be an advert surrounded by real, honest to God information. It doesn't have to be all ads all the time!

Truth of the matter is that the internet has made shopping a whole lot easier than it used to be. As an added bonus, consumers are far better educated about the products they buy as a direct result of having the internet at their fingertips. Its certainly a step up from the Yellow Pages or going to your county fair and listening to some "barker" selling Doc Jonstone's snake oil!

Ask yourself this: Is the internet more interesting and more popular than PBS? ;)

trillianjedi

WebmasterWorld Senior Member trillianjedi us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 11492 posted 2:07 pm on Apr 13, 2006 (gmt 0)

The glory days of the web are still to come. It is currently in its gangly teenaged years and gowing through a lot of growing pains just now.

Then, as a webmaster, is now not the time to be out there building for it?

TJ

Liane

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 11492 posted 4:28 pm on Apr 13, 2006 (gmt 0)

Then, as a webmaster, is now not the time to be out there building for it?

Sure it is! Teenagers are great ... they're just gangly, annoying, moody and #*$!ly faced for a while, but eventually they turn out wonderfully. Just wait until a teenager passes through the growing years and they become wonderful "real" people. The internet will come into its own someday and I'm thrilled to be a very small part of it! :)

<added> apparently and according to WebmasterWorld, the common word for an acne blemish is a swear word! LOL :)

innocbystr

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 11492 posted 4:07 am on Apr 15, 2006 (gmt 0)

We may be in the "Glory Days" right now, but how long will it last? From Netcraft [news.netcraft.com]

There are now more than 80 million web sites on the Internet, as the April 2006 survey received responses from 80,655,992 sites, an increase of 3.1 million hostnames from March 2006. The web has doubled in size in the past three years, as the survey hit the 40 million mark in April 2003.

3.1 million new hostnames in one month? How soon before we hit the saturation limit?

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