Defunct Websites & Dot-Com Disasters

Defunct Websites

In the world of mega websites with stupid names like Twitter, Flickr and Facebook, it’s easy to forget that there was once a time when these ultra popular staples of an Internet generation didn’t exist. Before torrents, before MySpace, and long before an iPhone, you could still get your free music, catch some free flicks (Not flickrs!), and chat it up with your buddies. Only, the Internet was a lot different on dial-up and a lot less crowded. Let’s take a look back at some of my favorite websites from a decade ago. What they were, what they became, and what they helped launch shaped the Internet and let you become the porn downloading, Flickr uploading, tweeting mofo you are today. was an online PC gaming website rolled out by Sega which hosted both Sega-published and third party games of that time. Mega hits such as Quake and Baldur’s Gate were available to play online in a multiplayer gaming world. was also the home of tournament play-offs with big cash prices and even its own website currency called “Degrees.” Being cheap and broke at the time, I played a lot of Death Drone, a widely popular free racing shoot ’em up game set in a futuristic world.

As users cheated the system to rack up “Degrees,” Sega started to feel the pinch and ended up owing players more than they paid in monthly subscription fees. shut down on October 31st, 2000 — almost a decade ago as I write this, mainly due to the fact that they were flat ass broke and it was figured that was in debt two fold to every player verses their monthly fees they paid into the website. This did however open the doors to a lot of popular online gaming systems and I still miss the free online games to this day.

Funny thing is, Sega never got the math right! was an adult (porn) site and dabbled in political entertainment to pair with its great name and first appeared online in 1997. The website was originally created so that uncensored discussion of government and politics could occur, and then they moved in the boobies to pay the bills. And the rest is history. Part of the controversy and popularity of was that the typical Internet surfer stumbling upon the site was expecting the official White House website. Instead they got tits and ass.

Many web browsers tagged “.com” to the end of everything back in those days, and they still do. If an Internet surfer typed “whitehouse” instead of “” they were whisked away to blowjobs and orgies instead of the political powerhouse with that infamous seal. The site drew so much attention that the Clinton administration sent the website owner a letter of cease and desist, citing not the fact that he’s using the name — First Amendment rights do apply, but that he was improperly using names like “White House,” and “The President,” and “The First Lady” in the political gang bang dot-com.

Unfortunately that didn’t work since Internet inventor Al Gore wasn’t involved, the power of the Internet remained supreme and the site stayed online. It was recently re-opened into a real political site. No more “fake” Monica and Bill photos going around on the site these days.

Bert Is Evil

Before “All Your Base” belonged to me and a long time before you were “Rick Rolled,” there were rumors going around that one of the most beloved Children’s TV stars, Bert from Sesame Street was up to some real bad shit. From doing lines of coke to getting down with Osama, Bert was out of control and off the chain. And there was a website that showcased his antics: Bert Is Evil.

The “Evil Bert” phenomenon was picked up by other humorists, who created their own images linking Bert to current and historical events. From the JFK assassination to talking strategies with Adolf Hitler, Bert was indeed evil. The site grew so popular that soon after, the website owner offered anyone to create their own Bert Is Evil images for him to host on the site. After one of the Bert photos appeared on a sign in a protest rally in Bangladesh showing a pro-Osama bin Laden Bert, the website was later shut down after getting way too out of hand.

Goes to show you the power of the internet. From a joke image to a terrorist protest rally. Bert is still evil though.


Move over Big Brother, and look out Survivor. There’s a new reality TV star in town, only she’s not on TV. And those shows don’t exist yet. Meet Jennifer K. Ringley, a then 19-year-old college student who decided to put a webcam in her dorm and post it for all of the Internet to see, which weren’t that many people back in 1996. When she turned on that webcam, she turned into history, becoming basically the first reality show the world had ever seen.

JenniCam soon fell victim to some “hackers” (crackers) who compromised her website after she refused to do a nude show for them after often teasing her audience with stripteases for the webcam. Her first webcam only shot in black and white and only when she was in her computer room. A year later she moved to D.C. and added more webcams, to cover different angles of her new place in full color. She started to charge a membership fee and her webcams updated more frequently. Being a web designer student, she whipped up a brand new snazzy layout and she started bringing in big bucks.

She shut her site down on December 31st, 2003, citing PayPal’s new anti-nudity policy, despite the fact that there were several other methods to accept payment for the site. Some critics theorized the real reason was due to dropping subscription rates caused by less time on cam and her new love interest’s refusal to appear on cam when they fucked. You can still catch almost every Jenni moment from over a decade ago online by searching through Google.

Bill Gates sells Microsoft to the United Negro College Fund for $1.00? You’re not dreaming, you’re probably reading, the legendary fake geek news website that was picked up by the “Slashdotter” masses. Started in 1998, Segfault was a very popular humor site that posted fake news reports on geek/hacker-related topics almost every single day. It followed closely to what was fresh and hot on Slashdot, only funny and twisted. Even the name of the site, “Segfault” refers to a fatal computer error.

Stories came in by way of the website owner and by the site’s readers. One of the more famous stories out of the Segfault site was written by Peter Norvig, who is currently Director of Research at Google, Inc. who writes a witty piece poking fun at all the lawsuits for copyrights and trademarks: “Songwriters, Publishers Sue Themselves.”

Ironically, Segfault’s demise was somewhat related to their catchy computer error name. In late 2001, the website shut down for good after losing its web hosting server. When they went to move the site to a new location, it came to light that their database containing all of their stories and user comments — the whole shabang — was corrupted and they were too stupid to make a backup. You can now find the creator and some of its contributors working at McDonalds (probably). Idiots.

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About Richard

Richard is a professional web developer and business consultant. He opened his first web hosting company at the age of 13 out of his bedroom on an ISDN connection and hasn't looked back since. Richard currently resides in sunny Florida.

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3 Responses to “Defunct Websites & Dot-Com Disasters”

  1. Richard

    If you look close, the graphic I used for the opening of this article is old Internet Explorer showing the MSN homepage from 1999 for an added touch of class. Thank you, Wayback Machine!

  2. Thomas

    Too bad got bought out by the Gov. or else we could have had another Virus-infested porn site with women that are anything but, and dare I say it, MILF’s.

  3. Alex

    The only one I remember is Bert is Evil. It’s amazing to see how far the web’s progressed in 10 years.