It’s a big year for technology farewells. In March I said goodbye to Microsoft Encarta, then in July I said goodbye to CompuServe. Today, I say goodbye to GeoCities.

GeoCities was among the first batch of free web site hosting sites, and lots of people got their web start there before they all moved on to LiveJournal, Blogger, MySpace, and FaceBook. I started on a site called Trailerpark, then moved to a couple other sites, then to Angelfire, then HyperMart before moving on to a paid HyperMart hosting plan. Angelfire is the only one of all those that is both 1) still around and 2) still free. HyperMart still exists, but is paid hosting only now.

Though I never used GeoCities personally, I was on the web in that era and lots of people I knew were on GeoCities. It was the most popular of the free hosting providers. It very quickly turned into a terrible wasteland of animated GIFs and horrendously clashing colors and backgrounds. Turns out that letting just anybody make a web site without any controls on what they do doesn’t really work out that well. (MySpace has started to learn this more recently.)

Another piece of web history disappears to the great Bit Bucket in the Sky.