Cool Dot-Com Flashback: The Deleted City Brings Back Geocities (video)

If you were around for the dot-com boom, you probably built a free personal homepage on Geocities, a pioneering and popular community site in the late 1990s that Yahoo bought for over $3.5B in January 1999. And you probably forgot about Geocities until just now.

But enterprising Dutch designer Richard Vijgen has now created The Deleted City, a data-visualization "map" of Geocities' neighborhoods from data the Archive Team rescued before Yahoo wiped out Geocities for good in 2009 despite pleas to save it. The Archive Team is a group of volunteers committed to "saving our digital heritage."

Vijgen describes his project as "a digital archaeology of the world wide web as it exploded into the 21st century." He arranged the neighborhoods based on the number of files they contained. As you see in the video, zooming in shows more and more detail until individual homepages become visible. Unfortunately, you can't download the map and explore it yourself.

The Geocities torrent file (over 640 gigabytes), courtesy of the Archive Team, is available here.

We have asked Vijgen about his project and will update if we receive a response.

Jason Scott, who leads the Archive Team volunteers, tells LAUNCH via email, "I think the Deleted City is absolutely wonderful, as I do a related project called One Terabyte of Kilobyte Age: - in both cases, artist and academics have taken the data Archive Team downloaded and gone wonderful places with it."

Scott notes that the Archive Team does not get involved in such projects "although we absolutely consider these folks honorary members of archive team."


Richard Vijgen
Email: mail at richardvijgen dot nl
Twitter: @richardvijgen

Jason Scott
Email: jason at textiles dot com
Twitter: @textfiles