Whenever I mention GeoCities there is usually an accompanying sneer, a condescending eye roll, or even a wary step backward as if to say “Oh God, you’re one of THEM! Take the girl but don’t hurt me!” For those that might not have been cruising the Information Super Highway back in the ’90s, GeoCities offered free web space to anyone who wanted it regardless of how much (or how little) they might know about making a website. Sites were separated into neighborhoods depending on their content (Hollywood was for entertainment sites, Area 51 was for Science Fiction and conspiracy theories etc.). It was a pretty cool idea, but since the whole idea of web design was pretty new in those days, your average GeoCities site was… is hideous too strong a word? Ghastly perhaps? Let’s go with unsightly. This combined with the fact that a forgotten site could moulder away on GeoCities for years, it’s animated gifs, flashing headlines, musical backgrounds, and frame-based pages growing more offensive with each passing day, has left GeoCities sites with a not-always-deserved reputation for archaic and awful web design.
Personally I have very fond memories of GeoCities. I had a site on there called Horrendous: Films That Go Bump in Your Mind, which was an online version of a short-lived horror movie zine I published. I bought a few books on HTML, downloaded some shareware graphics applications, and taught myself what I needed to know. It was an adventure, and it provided me with skills I use to this day. Still, there’s some cringe-worthy design at work, and thanks to The Wayback Machine, you can see it right here. Please don’t judge too harshly. It was a different time.