Updated Jul 02, 2013 at 11:58AM EDT by Don.

Added May 28, 2013 at 12:38PM EDT by Olivia Gulin.

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GeoCities[1] was a web hosting service founded in 1994 and acquired by Yahoo! in 1999. The service was mostly discontinued in 2009, except for GeoCities Japan[2], which is still operating as of May 2013. At the height of its popularity in 1999, GeoCities was third-most visited website in the world.


GeoCities was created in 1994 by entrepreneurs John Rezner[3] and David Bohnett[4], who wanted to “homestead”[5]the internet, offering up available space for people to build home pages located in virtual neighborhoods. The project was originally dubbed “Beverly Hills Internet” and opened to the public on July 9th, 1996 following an announcement on the Usenet group[6] One of the earliest known archived GeoCities sites, ChattyDeb[7] (shown below), features several images of Chatty Cathy dolls that were uploaded on July 21st, 1995.[8]

In its beta release, the site offered six “neighborhoods” where users could build their sites: Colosseum, Hollywood, RodeoDrive, SunsetStrip, WallStreet and West Hollywood. Every homepage URL would include their neighborhood name and a sequentially assigned number, or “street address.” By the time the site went live in July 1995, four additional cities, CapitolHill, Paris, SiliconValley and Tokyo, had been added.[9] During the first five weeks after launch, the site saw more than 600,000 users. Though each city or neighborhood was designated to have a specific theme for content, for instance, sports sites were hosted on “Colosseum” while online shopping sites were housed in RodeoDrive), these rules were never enforced in practice. On December 15th, 1995, “Beverly Hills Internet” officially rebranded itself as GeoCities, serving more than 20,000 users and 25,000 homepages[10] with more than six million page views per month[14] at the time of the announcement.

Yahoo! Acquisition

After investment from a number of companies and the introduction of Internet advertising throughout user generated sites, Geocities was publicly listed in the NASDAQ stock exchange in August 1998 with an initial public offering (IPO) of $17 per share, at one point reaching highs of at least $75.[11] In January 1999, Yahoo! purchased GeoCities for $3.57 billion in stock. The merger was completed in May of that year.[12] That June, Yahoo! updated the Terms of Service for GeoCities’ four million members, announcing that Yahoo! would gain full ownership over the content posted on GeoCities sites.[13] Following a number of protests from users, the change was quickly amended, stating that Yahoo! does not own any user-submitted content unless it is clearly stated prior to its submission.


As the 2000s progressed, Yahoo! practically phased out the free web hosting service and launched a paid premium hosting service through GeoCities. Between 2006 and 2008, GeoCities’ web traffic saw a drastic decrease from 18.9 million to 11.5 million unique visitors. On April 23rd, 2009, Yahoo! announced that the company would be shutting down all GeoCities operations on October 26th of that year. When the servers were shut off, more than 7 million websites went with them. At the time of its closure, GeoCities was still in the top 200 most-trafficked sites globally.[15]


On April 26th, 2009, Jason Scott of TextFiles announced[16] he was working with Archive Team[17] to download and mirror every GeoCities site available. Within 48 hours, the team had saved more than 200,000 sites and were downloading five new sites per second at the time of his blog post. While the sites were being archived, Scott created two supplementary websites dedicated to showcasing image and GIF files pulled from the sites. The first, This Page is Under Construction[18](shown below, left), was dedicated to the once-popular “Under Construction” GIFs and the second, Please Mail Me[19] (shown below, right), served as a home to graphic buttons that were widely used to contact the webmaster via e-mail.

During the six months between the announcement and the actual closure of Geocities, a number of other websites began archiving GeoCities pages including Oocities[20],[21], ReoCities[22] and Internet Archaeology.[23]The Internet Archive[24] also hosts their own archive with data gathered through the Wayback Machine. On October 29th, 2010, Archive Team[25] released all of their archived data as one terabyte torrent file via The Pirate Bay] In February 2013, artist Olia Lialina[27] and 8-bit musician Dragan Espenschied[28] launched the single topic blog One Terabyte of Kilobyte Age[29], which automatically generates screenshots of the webpages backed up by the Archive Team multiple times a day.


On May 23rd, 2013, entrepreneur Kyle Drake posted a tweet announcing that he wanted to make a new version of Geocities granting users free web hosting with a 10 megabyte limit.

On the following day, the domain[30] was registered. The following month, the Neocities free web hosting service was launched. giving users 10 megabytes of space to put up web pages using HTML, images, text, CSS, Markdown and JavaScript. On June 22nd, Redditor hxcloud99 submitted a post introducing NeoCities to the /r/InternetIsBeautiful[31] subreddit, gaining more than 360 up votes and 50 comments in the first 10 days. On June 28th, Drake published a blog post about the goal of NeoCities, revealing that it is meant to be a platform that inspires creativity. On the same day, the Internet news site The Daily Dot[32] published an article about the web hosting service, noting that over 1,600 NeoCities sites had been created since launch.

Search Interest

External References

[1]GeoCities – Home (Archive from October 22nd, 2006)

[2]GeoCities Japan – Home

[3]Businessweek – John Rezner Profile

[4]Wikipedia – David Bohnett

[5]Wikipedia – Homestead Principle

[6]Google Groups – WWW> Beverly Hills Internet

[7]Geocities – ChattyDeb (Archive from October 6th, 1999)

[8]omgplzstfukthx – One of the oldest Geocities sites saved: Chatty Deb (a doll related site)

[9]The Free Library – Business Wire: Beverly Hills Internet, builder of interactive cyber cities, launches 4 more virtual communities linked to real places

[10]AllBusiness – Beverly Hills Internet, Builder of Web Communities, Changes Name to GeoCities

[11]Silicon Investor – Technology Stocks : XOOM [XMCM]

[12]Cnet – Yahoo completes GeoCities acquisition

[13]New York Times – Yahoo Angers GeoCities Members With Copyright Rules (Archived on a Columbia server)

[14]Digital Media Archive – Geocities

[15]Time – Internet Atrocity! GeoCities’ Demise Erases Web History

[16]ASCII by Jason Scott – Geocities: Lessons So Far

[17]Archive Team – GeoCities

[18]TextFiles – This Page is Under Construction

[19]TextFiles – Please Mail Me

[20]Oocities – Home

[21] – Archive

[22]Reocities – Home

[23]Internet Archaeology – Home

[24]Internet Archive – GeoCities Special Collection 2009

[25]ASCII by Jason Scott – Archiveteam! The Geocities Torrent

[26]The Pirate Bay – Geocities – The Torrent

[27]Olia Lialina – Home

[28]Wikipedia – Dragan Espenschied

[29]Tumblr – One Terabyte of Kilobyte Age

[30]Neocities- Your free home page

[31]Reddit – Want to recreate the GeoCities experience

[32]The Daily Dot – Neocities

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