The year was 1995.
A cease-fire was announced in Bosnia and Croatia. O.J. Simpson was found not guilty. And Forrest Gump won the Best Picture Oscar.
1995 was also the year I launched my very first Website. In fact, it was exactly ten years ago this month.
A decade later, my little ‘pet project’ is still around, more popular than ever, and is now (gasp) generating revenue, despite the fact it’s been badly neglected by yours truly for the last few years.
Truth be told, I came close to shutting down the Website several years ago because I didn’t have enough time to devote to it. (I still don’t!) Not long after that, an organization offered to buy the Website from me. I agonized over their offer but finally decided to turn them down. I sensed that the industry was turning around (I was right) and figured I’d stick it out and see what would happen. I’m glad I did.
When I look back over the past ten years and reflect on the thousands of hours spent working on the Website, the numerous re-designs and technical challenges, all the crazy things (good and bad) that have happened to it and me, I realize that this Website has been my ‘E-Marketing School‘ (or at least a ‘semester’ or two of it). When I launched the site, there were no Web authoring tools at all. I hand-coded the first version of it myself, badly. I also had to figure out how to market it, which I did, making all sorts of mistakes along the way.
In many ways, the site has been (and still is to some degree) my ‘science lab’ – an incredible source of experimentation and learning. For instance, earlier this month a spammer (God love ’em) hijacked one of the CGI scripts on the site and used it to send out thousands of junk emails. Talk about a technical and P.R. nightmare. This had never happened before, and I hope never happens again, but now I’ve learned more than I ever expected to learn about how to correct such an unusual problem should a client ever find themselves in a similar position.
So, as my first Website enters its second decade of existence, warts and all, I hereby publicly thank it for all the memories, all the good times, and – most of all – all the learning. Happy birthday, MultiMediator.