Geocities Dead, Geocities-like Government Sites Live On


Today is the last day of existence for Geocities, and keening sounds can be heard in the depths of the Internet, where humans first ventured online to erect rudimentary html monuments to themselves.

GeoCities allowed anyone to build a custom Web page for free and reserved a small amount of virtual storage to keep pictures and documents. It was perhaps the first mainstream example of an open, participatory and personal Internet.

(The mourning is most extravagant over at the excellent webcomic xkcd.)

But never fear, Geocities-style sites remain alive and well in one corner of the Internet: .gov! Check out the site of the Senate Armed Services Committee for a classic example:

Random textured background, blue links inexplicably placed below the initial screen, useless stock photo dominating the top of the page—it's everything 1990s Internet users came to expect from each other. For a small mercy, the committee's self importance spared the American people the indignity of the "fun" and "silly" font favored by early DIY website builders, Comic Sans.

The site isn't just aesthetically terrifying, though, it's a reminder that we still have a long way to go in the fight to get government online, searchable, and transparent.

SASC tip via Brian Faughnan's Twitter feed.