Bombshell number one: Microsoft will replace all Hotmail accounts with Outlook.com accounts by this summer. Bombshell number two: Wait, Hotmail still exists?
It’s true — that spam-choked email account you used while signing up for Neopets in 1998 is still alive and kicking, though only for a few more months at most. But while longtime web users may mourn Hotmail’s death — making jokes about out-of-touch Internet users is about to get just a little bit harder — they should take comfort in knowing that plenty of other obsolete sites and hosting services haven’t budged from their virtual perches. For example:
Warner Brothers never took down Space Jam‘s official website, originally published in 1996. EW was lukewarm about the page back then, when we still published website reviews — but now, we think it’s slammin’.
You’ve Got Mail
Similarly, this cyber-rom-com’s official site is still alive and kicking, complete with a truly incredible Flash intro that recreates the experience of signing onto AOL in the ’90s and a useful link that shows Ryan/Hanks lovers where they can buy a video cassette of the movie.
The original Tumblrs
Amateur web builders with terrible taste can still host their garish, MIDI-soaked sites on either Angelfire or Tripod, though GeoCities was taken to that big computer screen in the sky in 2009. Thankfully, the good folks at ReoCities are doing what they can to salvage the extinct web host’s ashes.
The original search engines
Primordial online journals
Beware: If you charted your adolescent angst on Xanga, Livejournal, or Livejournal’s cheeky cousin Deadjournal, there’s a chance future employers may still be able to find and read your proto-blog. You were smart enough not to put your full name on there, right? Riiiight?
Yearn for the days when Amanda Bynes was a fresh-faced Nickelodeon star rather than a hot mess? Proceed to Amanda Please, a fake fan site for the Amanda Show star supposedly built by Penelope Taynt, Amanda’s biggest fan, circa 1999. (Naturally, Penelope was also played by Bynes.) The GIF at the top makes it look almost modern!
In the pre-YouTube days of 2004, America was briefly captivated by a silly animated short in which George Bush and John Kerry sang a modified version of “This Land Is Your Land.” The site that posted that video, JibJab, isn’t nearly as prominent these days — but it is still around.
Similarly, Homestarrunner.com still hosts its once-popular flash cartoons (Trogdor!), which first hit the Internet in 2000 — though no new material has been added to the site since 2010.
And then there’s the official site of the suicide cult known as Heaven’s Gate, which would be creepy even if the page hadn’t outlived the 39 members of the group who killed themselves in 1997.
On a lighter note: Think this guy still loves sporks as much as he did in 1996?
Harry Potter’s Realm of Wizardry
Millennial dorks will be pleased to know that one of the boy wizard’s first fansites — founded in 1999 — hasn’t apparated off of the Internet, though webmistress Gypsy last updated it right before Book 6 was released in 2005. Click around to read now-hilarious rumors about the last books in the series (back then, we thought Book 7 would be called Harry Potter and the Forest of Shadows) and surprisingly active forums.
Though it became a punchline long before Mark Zuckerberg’s global dominance, Friendster (founded in 2002) never fully disappeared. You can even join the social-network-turned-gaming-site by using your Facebook account. Whoa.