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.

July 11, 2008 Celebrates Its 6th Year as a Well-Preserved Corpse Celebrates Its 6th Year as a Well-Preserved Corpse, a once wildly popular Web 1.0 humor site that ceased publication in 2002, continues to float in a state of suspended animation. Perhaps satire ages better than any known form of Web content; perhaps the Adsense listings running on Satirewire provide enough of an annuity to reward whoever wound up inheriting the domain; in any event, the domain's owners have reserved through 2012, an optimistic bet that somebody will come forward with a plan to breathe life into a meme that was commodified a long time ago by the likes of 23/, The Onion, and many many others.

Ghostie Award: Site is Stuffed, Embalmed, and Ready for Internet MuseumFive Ghosties (Site is Stuffed, Embalmed, and Ready for Internet Museum) Getting one of these awards indicates that the site in question was updated so long ago that it's almost supernatural that it's still here. Any site that was last updated in the 20th Century instantly qualifies it for this prestigiously mordant award.

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January 26, 2008

"Internet '96:" a Jaundiced Look Back at the Late 20th Century Web

A Jaundiced Look Back at the Internet of 1996What was it like surfing the Web of 1996? A fellow named Wickensworth who runs a site called has put together an amusing exhibit called "Internet '96" which purports to answer this question using screen shots culled from the Internet Archive. "Internet '96" provides a fun, eye-opening trip down memory lane, when website designers didn't know a JPEG from a GIF, big brands didn't have a clue, 14.4Kbps modems ruled the on-ramps to the "Information Superhighway" (remember that corny phrase?)" and the world had somehow gone batty for "101 Dalmatians."

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November 01, 2007 Gets Canned Gets Canned
MediaWeek reports that NBC Universal will soon close, a site which attempted to gather all of NBC's humor-oriented video content under one roof.

This closure is no big surprise. Dotbombery, I mean Dotcomedy was always an overcrowded, ugly site whose search feature barely worked (try typing in "Saturday Night Live into its search box and you'll see what I mean. Most of the crowding on its pages came from ads, promotions, and other branded ephemera, its Terms & Conditions page was long and scary, and its traffic apparently was so low as to make it unmeasurable. This, plus a decision by NBCU to relocate a lot of its unfunniness back to doomed this expensive project, and few will mourn its passing. It joins a long list of Abandoned Humor Sites that litter the Web.

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October 30, 2007 A Decaying Bone in the Craw of the Internet, a Decaying Bone in the Craw of the Internet, Shows Advanced DecayMirsky (and I never really learned his first name: sometimes it was Phillip, sometimes it was David, most of the time it was omitted) was one of those Ivy League-educated Kerouacian madmen who "burn, burn like fabulous roman candles" extinguishing themselves long before we even have an inkling that they exist. In Mirsky's case, bright-white fame came from the launch of his infamous "Mirsky's Worst Of The Web," in January of 1995, long before negativity became an authentic and bankable meme on the World Wide Web. But a deluge of hate mail caused him to stop producing WOTW by late 1996, passing the negativity baton to others (including this site).

Mirsky drifted for a few months, and even hooked up with the hapless crew for several months, producing strange, often-misunderstood ideas for commercial websites before he drifted back into self-styled obscurity. In November of 1999, his site announced what millions had waited for: a comeback in the form of a new site, featuring a line of completely blank T-shirts.

We all held our breath, and are still holding it, for eight years later, Mirsky's main site ( and, which featured a haunting audio track entitled "Lament for Maiden in Mirsk t" (Irish Folk Song Traditional) are, in Ghost Sites parlance, "dead, showing advanced decay. Mirsky, like other Forgotten Web Celebrities, has quietly turned his back on the Web's clamorous multitudes, and I imagine him drifting somewhere in the West, lost in the purple shadows, drawing his cartoons in the shifting sands.

He could have been rich, he could have been a kingmaker, he could have been Cyber-Seinfeld, but he chose, for reasons that he would never share, to simply be alone, a strength that the rest of us will never know.

Wikipedia has a good page on Mirsky at:'s_Worst_of_the_Web. Thanks to Bill Lessard, of, for pointing out the rubble of Mirsky's legendary electrons.

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