Where Are They Now? Top 15 Web Properties of April 1999

AOLI’m trying out a new idea. If Twitter is mirco-blogging, then blogging is, well, macro-blogging?

I come across lots of stuff I think is interesting and worth discussing, but not quite full-post-worthy. So, to combat my blogger’s block, I give you mini-blogging.

It’s not quite micro in size, but smaller and probably less well-formed (if that’s possible) than my regular blogging.

Without further ado, here’s one that will appeal to nostalgic nerd in all (erm most) of us.

Whatever Happened to the Top 15 Web Properties of April 1999?

Ah yes, nothing like a look back in time to get your juices flowing. I had a few reactions to this list, in no particular order:

  • ZMOG, how can AOL still be #4 on the April 2009 list and still have 104 million uniques in a month?
  • I’m sorry to see GeoCities shuttered.
  • I remember Excite fondly, watched it go down in flames.
  • Somehow sending e-cards with Blue Mountain seems very 1999.
  • It’s good to see Amazon still in the mix ten years later.
  • Number one on the 1999 list barely makes the top 15 in 2009.

Maybe I don’t run with the right crew, but are you surprised that AOL still commands 104 million unique visitors each month?

Ten years seems like a long time.  Excluding acquisitions, only four of the top 15 from ten years ago still rank in the top 15 now: AOL, Microsoft, Yahoo and Amazon.

Who will be in the 2019 top 15?

Check out the list and sound off here about your thoughts.




  1. My mother uses AOL. There are a lot of mothers out there.

    One fascinating part that was missed was how much the overall Internet has grown in that ten-year period. For example, Time Warner was a huge deal in 1999, and not so much a huge deal today. Yet its visitor count has nearly doubled.

  2. Yeah, I know people use AOL, but when you read about them, it's like afterthought news. Did they every figure out the broadband thing, or all those people stuck with dial up access?

    If so, I feel for them. The average web page is a lot bigger than ten years ago. I think those data are in Jason Grigsby's slide deck, which I posted about a year ago.

    The overall growth is staggering. It doesn't feel that much bigger 🙂

  3. Change is difficult. It's difficult enough for us, people who are supposedly open to embracing change. It gets more difficult with age.

    I was observing an older person (not one of my parents) who was completely confused by the interface required to call someone on a cell phone. Something that I believe is the easiest thing since sliced bread – “It has green and red buttons!” – can be completely confusing to someone who has never been exposed to the technology.

    From this perspective, what's the point in changing from AOL? If I can get my weather report and read some news, why should I worry that there are better ways to high definition video? All those high-def videos are junk anyway. Those rappers don't even bother to sing, and the stuff they say! And the stuff they're showing on TV wouldn't be shown in one of those sleazy movie theaters back in my day! Why would I want to get a souped-up computer to see THAT?

    Seriously, when we build a use case for an application, we really need to examine that use case before we decide that the application is “universal.” And we really need to concentrate on our selling points, because most people need a compelling reason to make a dramatic change. If that means that we have to transfer the Lawrence Welk TV show library to Blu-Ray (to see it better) with remastered audio (to hear it better), so be it.

  4. I have nothing against people who still use AOL. I just feel like they're missing out, but as you say, that's probably OK.

    BTW, there is no universal application. It's a unicorn. Refer back to your point about cell phone buttons.

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