Then and Now: What Your Favorite Blogs Looked Like in Their Infancy

Blog Herald May 2003

As we all know, every blog has a beginning. The beauty of the web is that websites can be stored in a permanent cache; effectively taking a virtual snapshot of the way the blog exists at that moment in time and storing it for later retrieval. Wouldn’t it be neat if you could go back in time and see what certain blogs looked like then? Well, it turns out you can. has a public cache that stores snapshots of websites at regular intervals. It is called the Wayback Machine, and works just like a regular search engine; I tapped into it to bring you some blog history. You punch in the URL of the blog/site you want to look up, and they show you what dates they have stored in their database. The tool is not flawless, and many searches turn up corrupted pages or missing images, but it is really cool nonetheless.   I did quite a bit of poking around on the database, and here are some of the snapshots I found:

The Blogs I Looked Up

From left to right, down the list in order, the blogs covered were Blog Herald, Boing Boing, Copyblogger, Engadget, John Chow, and Problogger. The thumbnails are in sequential order, so that you see the earliest snapshot of the blog to the most recent. To view each snapshot, just click on the thumbnail to load the full-size version of it. If you roll the mouse over each thumbnail, it will tell you what blog the snapshot is from and which date as well. This project was a lot of fun, and I could have gone on forever with it.

One thing that we can all take away from this example is the amazing amount of hard work and dedication the owners of these blogs have committed to their sites. We sometimes forget that everyone has a starting point, and everyone at one time was a nobody. Even Google. Now, I am gonna bet that after you read this post, you are going to head over to the Wayback Machine and start looking up all kinds of sites! Go for it.

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How Many Blogs Are There? Is Someone Still Counting?

The question of how many blogs are out there is currently buzzing in my e-mail inbox and in my (Dutch) feed list. Why do we even care about the total number of blogs? Carl Bialik from the The Wall Street Journal explained it as follows in 2005:

First, let’s step back and consider why we’re counting blogs at all. You no longer see articles that attempt to demonstrate the legitimacy of the Web by stating how many Web pages there are. But blogs are still in the process of entering mainstream consciousness, so numerical credibility is important; bloggers themselves cite the statistics a lot.

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To Blogroll or Not to Blogroll

I have been thinking about removing my blogroll in a new design. My blogroll needs updating but instead of reconsidering the blogs in my blogroll I have been thinking about removing it altogether. Not only is it outdated, the blogs I want to link to are subject to change and I rather link to blogs through blog posts than through my blogroll.

Currently I mainly link to friends from university and some other people writing about new media. My blogroll is pretty coherent as it reflects the focus of my blog but what about the other people I want to link to?

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Hoax Bait — A Special Kind Of Link Bait.

Over the past few days the notorious blogger Fake Steve Jobs (also known as senior editor of Forbes magazine, Daniel Lyons) had put together a series of posts which made it appear as though he was being the target of legal action from the target of his satire: Apple.

What made it such a great piece of work was how legitimate it sounded. Oh, they had sent their lawyers after him. He had dropped his “FSJ” persona and was largely talking with that mask off. He was concerned and worried about having the pants sued off of him. And so on.

Which made it all the more poignant when a great majority of tech bloggers got suckered into these posts as they were all, in fact, fake. What’s the lesson here?

Only that bloggers are pathetically easy targets for hoax bait.

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Happy 10th Birthday, Blogging! (Or, is it … ?)

Around 10 years ago today, one of the first blogs was authored by a gentleman named Jorn Barger, called Robot Wisdom.  In the beginning, he wrote content that consisted of short commentaries and links, but in 2000 he began to experiment with a timeline-based format which blogs are known for today (that is, the reverse chronological format today).

But was it The First? 

Well, it wasn’t.

And therein lies the debate we may always end up having, as Jorn Barger may have coined the term “blog”, but in fact was not the very first individual posting to what is currently known as a blog.

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