Ghost Websites: Top 10
Have you ever wondered where websites go once the owner stops updating them? Ghost websites are websites that are rarely, if ever, updated. They are abandoned, but where do they end up?
Our first website is arguably the most famous ghost website. The Space Jam was vacant for over 20 years. When Space Jame 2 hit theaters, the website was updated once again. The Original Space Jam was released in 1996, and its promotional website was untouched for the most part once the movie was out. It does not look like much, but the icons do still work. The catalogs it brings you to are pillars of the 90s with postcards, desktop screensavers, audio clips, and more. The newsletter has not been updated in years, but the site itself is still alive and well.
On the flip side, the 2021 website for Space Jam 2: A New Legacy is curated for a new generation of Space Jam fans. The site still has the same 1996 look and feel. However, it has been updated to fit the current age of social media trends, games, desktop backgrounds, and virtual posters.
10 More Ghost Websites
Ghost Websites: Fogcam
The San Fransico Fogcam has been showing views of the San Fransisco State University community since 1994. The webcam is still live, albeit grainy. It currently sits looking across a quad. However, the webcam has been moved several times over the years. This was meant to keep the University from taking it down. The site was last updated in 2021. The update uploaded a few links to various articles naming the webcam and its history. Overall, there are very minimal updates to the site.
If you have ever been in an on-again, off-again relationship, you know those minimal updates end up on the ghosted list every time.
You’ve Got Mail
The famous 90s romcom You’ve Got Mail, abandoned its website like its viewers abandoned the movie’s communication style. The online chat room style has been upgraded to social media direct messages, and discourse servers. While the site is still periodically updated to keep up with which streaming platform has the movie available, it was still left in the 90s.
OJ Simpson Trial
Another ghost website is dedicated to the OJ Simpson Trial was one of the most followed trials in history. When it began, social media was not the giant that it is today. There were no trending hashtags to follow, no Reddit pages, and no Facebook groups to join. Entire websites had to be built for others to follow along. The CNN site has not been updated since 1995 after the trial was over in 1994. It is interesting to go back and look through all the statements, evidence, and other captivating moments of the trial piece by piece.
Ghost Websites Washington Post Year in Review
1996 was quite a year for the Washing Post with former President Clinton winning his second term, the Atlanta Olympics, various trials, and other events. The Year in Review site has not been edited since the ‘96 launch, and the links do not work besides those that lead to internal Washington Post articles.
Dole/Kemp Presidential Campaign
In the same way, a website was made to cover a famous trial and serve as promotion for an upcoming movie, there were also websites made to serve for a political campaign. The Dole/Kemp campaign of 1996 was the one-stop shop for everything a potential voter would need to know. It gave the option to read about both Bob Dole and his running mate Jack Kemp, as well as make buttons, and follow him along the campaign trail. Of course, once the run was over for the Dole/Kemp team, the website has been abandoned since.
Where Do Ghost Websites Go?
Just as there are new websites popping up daily, there are also many being abandoned, or ghosted, each day. Once the website is abandoned it still lives there, on the vast web. There is an option to take down a website and create the error code that populates when you attempt to pull up a disabled website. Search engines will begin to push the site further and further down until it has all but vanished. The ghost websites themselves will be deleted if the owners decided not to renew their domain names. With that being said, owners of long-lost website domains may very well be renewing their domain name to keep the nostalgia around.
Ghost websites take up space on the corners of the web we tend to forget about, but they are there. Sometimes, as mentioned, it is fun to stroll down memory lane and check in on your childhood websites, or those with funny names. You never know what you will find out. Take a dive into the 10 new ghost websites you have added to your knowledge bank and see what you can discover.
Adeline is a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Charlotte where she majored in Communications with a concentration in Public Relations and Journalism. Currently living in Charlotte, she enjoys reading, volleyball, and strolling through her favorite farmers markets with her Goldendoodle Theo.