Dan Naden

M is for Marketing on the Internet in the mid-90s

Here’s a fun alphabetical look at the terms you’d be familiar with as a digital marketer in the mid-90s. I lived and breathed this world and it was an entirely different place compared to today’s always-on, always-connected world.

Imagine how different your digital marketing job would be if it were 1995.

A is for Advertising. Banner advertising first appeared online in the mid-90s. We’ve now grown accustomed to video pop-ups, ad takeovers, ad wallpaper, text ads – you name it.

"There used to be only one way onto the Information Superhighway. SCREECH"
“There used to be only one way onto the Information Superhighway. SCREECH”

B is for…Baud as in 14.4 or 28.8 modem. Remember the screech as your modem attempted to make a connecting, sending you down the information superhighway. Ride the wave!

C is for CitySearch, one of the first forays into local, niche communities. Amazingly, it’s still alive and kicking.

D is for Directories: Remember when many popular search engines were organized like a digital card catalog with many layered directories? Today, powerful, personal, relevant algorithms serve you accurate search results.

E is for Excite: Surprisingly, this site still looks as if it could have been on your browser in 1995. The founders of Excite rejected an offer to buy Google in the late 90’s. Bad decision.

F is for Free: Most everything was free on the Internet in 1994. Perhaps this was because of its widespread use on university campuses, or the critical mass wasn’t there quite yet.

G is for .gif, especially the animated kind. If you were a Web designer, you had to animate everything, no matter how tacky it looked.

H is for Hits: Hits have been and will always be a useless Web metric. No one cares how many individual files were downloaded on your Web site, yet Web publishers large and small in 1995 boasted loudly about how their Web site got 1,000,000 hits last month.

I is for IRC: Remember Internet Relay Chat? Before texting and IM became our 2nd language, IRC was your path to IMHO, LOL.

J is for Java: There was a time when you’d wait for 2 minutes to have your computer download a digital clock powered by Java. Today, 2 seconds seems too long.

K is for Kewl: The world was a better place when I stopped receiving e-mails with cool spelled: K E W L.

L is for Looksmart: This ‘vertical’ search engine was supposed to give Yahoo some competition. History revealed a different story.

M is for the <marquee> tag: When this tag arrived on the scene, every Web site presented something in ticker tape fashion. It was celebration time on every domain name.

The full alphabet might be too much to digest in one post. Stay tuned for the second half. Got something that wasn’t covered here? Let me know.

Until next time,

Dan Naden

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