comScore Web Traffic in 1998: Altavista, Lycos Ruled the Web | The Mary Sue
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Flashback From 1998: When Altavista, Lycos, And Blue Mountain Arts Ruled the Web

Media Metrix, December 1998(Before we dig too far into this, you may want to visit the 56k Modem Emulator, to establish the proper sonic mood. Ah, that beloved squeal.)

A colleague (who is handsome and wise) recently discovered an old Media Metrix report delineating “World Wide Web Audience Ratings” for December 1998. It’s a remarkable study, categorizing thousands of sites and conglomerated web companies.

This thing is like finding election results from 1880; like coming across the original Billboard music chart. It looks familiar, like you should know all of the component elements, but it’s unrecognizable. As though they’re all brands made up for movies.

The Rankings
Home and Work, Combined
We’ll start where the report starts – at those sites most popular when combining home and work visits. (Please see above diagram for clarification.) Before I list them, I want you to try and think up what the top fifty websites were in 1998. Got it?

Yeah, you’re wrong:
AOL.COM 1998 rank: 1; 2010 rank: 3 46 (2010 data via Alexa)
YAHOO.COM 1998: 2; 2010: 3
GEOCITIES.COM 1998: 3; 2010: 1,778
MSN.COM 1998: 4; 2010: 13
NETSCAPE.COM 1998: 5; 2010: 3,676
EXCITE.COM 1998: 6; 2010: 726
LYCOS.COM 1998: 7; 2010: 1,335
MICROSOFT.COM 1998: 8; 2010: 22
BLUEMOUNTAINARTS.COM 1998: 9; 2010: 18,448,258
INFOSEEK SITES 1998: 10; 2010: 663,973
ALTAVISTA SEARCH 1998: 11; 2010: 2069
TRIPOD.COM 1998: 12; 2010: 400
XOOM.COM 1998: 13; 2010: 7,684
ANGELFIRE.COM 1998: 14; 2010: 745
HOTMAIL.COM 1998: 15; 2010: 1,417
AMAZON.COM 1998: 16; 2010: 11
REAL.COM 1998: 17; 2010: 1,324
ZDNET.COM 1998: 18; 2010: 669
HOTBOT.COM 1998: 19; 2010: 21,303
INFOSPACE.COM 1998: 20; 2010: 1,447
EBAY.COM 1998: 21; 2010: 7
DISNEY ONLINE 1998: 22; 2010: 117
SNAP.COM 1998: 23; 2010: 2,486
WEATHER.COM 1998: 24; 2010: 24
ICQ.COM 1998: 25; 2010: 402
BARNES & NOBLE 1998: 26; 2010: 227
SIMPLENET.COM 1998: 27; 2010: 207,614
CNN.COM 1998: 28; 2010: 18
MSNBC.COM 1998: 29; 2010: 750
PATHFINDER.COM 1998: 30; 2010: 28,694
MININGCO.COM 1998: 31; 2010: 1,814,486
DIGITALCITY.COM 1998: 32; 2010: 548,385
ESPN 1998: 33; 2010: 20
LOOKSMART.COM 1998: 34; 2010: 7,350
ETOYS.COM 1998: 35; 2010: 30,376
SONY ONLINE 1998: 36; 2010: 744
BONZI.COM 1998: 37; 2010: 1,379,611
FORTUNECITY.COM 1998: 38; 2010: 3,925
CNET SOFTWARE 1998: 39; 2010: 36
SWITCHBOARD.COM 1998: 40; 2010: 3,375
EARTHLINK.NET 1998: 41; 2010: 146
MAPQUEST.COM 1998: 42; 2010: 56
WARNER BROS. ONLINE 1998: 43; 2010: 783
ATT.NET 1998: 44; 2010: 175
WEBCRAWLER.COM 1998: 45; 2010: 686
GOTO.COM 1998: 46; 2010: 1,171,981
EGGHEAD.COM 1998: 47; 2010: 18,750,018
COMPUSERVE.COM 1998: 48; 2010: 5,445
CDNOW.COM 1998: 49; 2010: 1,663,586
MUSICBLVD.COM 1998: 50; 2010: 3,220,606

Read an analysis of the numbers at Mediaite.

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