The internet used to be considered a place where information would live forever. It used to be considered an archive. However, it is interesting to dig up some of the old websites that were popular in the past, but have gone away. Some of these websites went away due to DMCA. Others went away due to changes that came with time. Still others went away due to their owners' changing life priorities.
Here are some websites that I used to visit, but have since gone away. I was able to make screenshots using the Wayback Machine:
My parents enrolled me in summer camp during the summer before I went to 6th grade. Among the things we learned there was going onto the internet. They taught us how to search for things on the internet using Infoseek. It was interesting that one of the first things they taught was that anyone could put something up on the internet, and that when we researched something, the internet was not considered an authoritative source. Infoseek wasn't very popular, and it eventually merged with AskJeeves, which was later renamed Ask.com, which eventually faded into obscurity.
It was during my teenage years. The internet was new and I wanted to explore. Somehow ended up here, hunting for programs in the midst of pictures of naked ladies, fake ad links, and malware. I only went here as a final last ditch effort desperate attempt at getting a program for free that would otherwise cost a lot of money for little broke me. I was surprised this site lasted from 1998 into the mid-2000s.
First, there was Napster. Anyone could download music in the form of MP3s. Suddenly, you didn't need money to buy music CDs to be able to listen to the latest music to be able to keep up with cool kids' conversation. After it was shut down, came KaZaa. It was Napster 2.0. Whereas Napster was centralized and made for an easy target for the DMCA, KaZaa was distributed, and was the beginning of p2p (peer-to-peer) file-sharing. Now, there was no single target to go after. Still, the DMCA eventually took it down - by going after individual users, and by injecting bogus songs and files. Still, if you didn't mind getting a sub-optimal file (as teenagers, we didn't mind), KaZaa was a goldmine of media - music, videos, programs, etc. Then, came BitTorrent, and its most popular tracker: Suprnova.org. Now, you had an authoritative source from which to grab your files. But, above all, BitTorrent was architected in a way where the more people downloaded a file, the faster the download speed would be for everyone. This was a direct reversal of previous file-sharing programs, where the more popular files would often bog down and inch along at a snail's pace. Suprnova.org was the beginning of the golden age of file-sharing. Unfortunately, it only lived for a few years before getting shut down by the DMCA. However, when the DMCA shut it down, it exploded into a bunch of clones. It would take years before the DMCA would be able to get things under control. In a way, piracy only went away when my generation got old enough to start making money, and preferred to purchase things legitimately. Also, with Youtube, for a long time, everything was available and accessible, anyways.
Anime also exploded in accessiblity with the advent of BitTorrent. For me, unlicensed anime was an avenue where I could satisfy my desire to be entertained, do so legally, and with no impact to my limited finances. Thus, it became my main source of media. Animesuki was an invaluable source. Through it, I discovered many new anime series and fansub groups. Unfortunately, it was a casualty with the changes of the seasons. Now, Crunchyroll and Netflix probably strikes a better balance between giving users what they want to watch and paying anime companies.
Demonoid was where you could download applications or programs via BitTorrent. Getting a virus in the meantime was a managed risk. This was before open-source software made quality alternatives freely available. This was also before I was making a decent income and could afford to pay for software.
It was some time in the early 2000s when I got a tip to look at BensBargains.net. My life has never been the same. From there, I found TechBargains.com, FatWallet.com, and SlickDeals.net. FatWallet.com was rumored to be the source of the deals, which would then be picked up and copied onto BensBargains, TechBargains, and SlickDeals. Of course, BensBargains also had firsts, as well as TechBargains, and SlickDeals, with SlickDeals having a very enthusiastic crowd. Times have really changed in these past 10 years. It used to be where these sites were places we checked frequently for deals bordering on steals (price mistakes). Some businesses would actually honor the price mistakes, and ship what they had in stock. For the buyers, we had to get there before they ran out of stock. It was fun and exhilarating. Now, what counts as deals are less lucrative, but at the same time, money isn't as scarce. The crowd in these forums was the real deal - often I would learn more about the product by reading the comments than I could anywhere else. The people here were bright and had powerful analytical skills. At the same time, they were funny. I'll never forget that BensBargains' slogan: "Where ghetto dogs come for the lowdown on deals".
For people like me growing up, at the time, movies were either Hollywood or from Hong Kong. This was before Bollywood and the new wave of Chinese cinema. I still think some of the old Hong Kong movies are some of the best. This site provided me with an immense amount of information, everything from movie reviews to the actors, the movies they're in, the other people they've acted with, etc. It was this website that gave me the list of all the movies my favorite actor, Stephen Chow, was in. However, as Hong Kong movies have dwindled, the site owner has gotten older, reviews and updates have gotten more sparse. Finally, around two years ago, the site owner officially declared the website done.
This was the website of Kaizoku-Fansubs, a fansubbing group that subbed One Piece for years. I was impressed by their quality and technical knowledge. I took them for granted. Then, they disappeared without a trace.
This was the website of WindFS, a fansubbing group that subbed Higurashi. They were a funny bunch, with "Waifu" icons. Their whereabouts are also a mystery.
This was a website dedicated to anime news and information. However, it seems that it's been a long time since it's received an update.
This wraps up the list of websites that have been forgotten over the years. Surprisingly, there are also websites that are still around, despite being ancient:
This is the website of an anime fansub group. They've been around "4ever".
This website is a BitTorrent tracker for anime. It used to be BoxTorrents, and specialized in packaging entire series into one torrent, so that users wouldn't need to separately hunt down each episode. This was my go-to site for years.
Like BensBargains, SlickDeals.net is a site where I go on for "slick deals". BensBargains went through some changes in the mid-2000s, where it seemed the deals that were posted were notably more lukewarm than before, with suspicions that after Ben sold his site, the new management was peddling sponsored "deals". Hence, I went over to SlickDeals and haven't looked back since. Ironically, SlickDeals nowadays is about as "slick" as BensBargains.
In conclusion, for a website to last 10 years is not an easy feat. I'm glad to have done it with this one.