Ghost Sites of the Web

Web 1.0 history, forgotten web celebrities, old web sites, commentary, and news by Steve Baldwin. Published erratically since 1996.

May 27, 2005 Wishful Thinking Written Large

I have been thinking a lot about the history of New York's fallen, now almost completely forgotten "Silicon Alley" in recent days, so I was intrigued to find a site called, and decided to find out more about it. Was it possible that the same cyber-shysters who had brought us the maniacal boom-and-bust that ravaged New York back in the late 1990's were attempting to regroup somewhere?

Not exactly. The domain was registered last year by a fellow named David Kirsch, who works out of the Robert H. Smith School of Business in College Point, Maryland. If you go to this site, you'll see a pretty picture of the Flatiron Building (the New York architectural icon that stood right next to Doubleclick's famous $1.3 million billboard that used to proudly announce "Welcome to Silicon Alley!").

You'll also read this, from the site's mission statement:

Our goal is to use the technology we embraced to help build an interactive historical archive of and by the people who were there. Silicon Alley was the result of a tremendous investment in human and social capital. Now, after the downturn it is time for reflection: How should history remember the birth of Silicon Alley?

OK; all well and good. I'm a big advocate of people remembering stuff, especially in an era when it seems American culture is suffering from an acute case of collective Alzheimer's. And in the case of Silicon Alley -- a subject that nobody wants to discuss these days -- the world could use a big dollop of remembering, especially this: does anybody remember where all that money went?

So I had high hopes for But they were dashed the moment I tried to open up an account. Here's the message that greeted me:

Microsoft JET Database Engine error '80004005'

Unspecified error

//global.asa, line 37

Wow - now that's a user-friendly error message!

Yes, friends, is more dysfunctional than any weird and wacky project hatched by the overheated minds at Razorfish, Avalanche,, or even Time-Warner's Pathfinder. It's so broken that -- well, it almost works -- as a sly joke played on the entire world.

And, given the actual history of Silicon Alley, maybe that's exactly the way such a site should be.


Click Here to Return to the Ghost Sites Home Page