An update from the Founder and CEO of World Wide Web, Inc.
October 1, 1998
I know this blog has been quiet lately. It’s been a crazy few months of meetings and negotiation here at WWW HQ, but we’re finally ready to share our big news: World Wide Web is joining the America Online team next month! We couldn’t be more excited.
When we first launched the World WIde Web in 1991, we never expected it to catch on or turn into a business. The last few years have proven us wrong. The New York Times has a website, Vice President Gore mentions us in speeches, and some people buy books through their web browser.
We’ve always admired the guys at America Online, so when they approached us this summer, we jumped at the chance. By combining forces with their amazing team, we can leverage the technology and scale of their platform and focus on what matters. Our small team has been lucky just to keep up with your questions and bug reports.
The World Wide Web has been great, but to be honest, it’s also been a lot harder than it needs to be. I know some of you love creating new web pages and participating in online discussions, but the last thing most people want when they get home is one more thing that makes them work. That’s why television is so much more popular.
We know how frustrating it can be to click a link that turns out to be broken, or visit a page that you thought was about one thing, but turns out to be about something different. Many pages are filled with typos and inaccuracies. We would never put up with that in our newspapers and magazines. Why should we online?
Our team will be working with first-class partners to bring you the content you deserve, from the best magazines in the checkout isle to in-depth reporting from your favorite network news programs. We want your new World Wide Web to be a place you can trust.
Some of you have put many hours into adding pages and sites of your own to the World Wide Web. Your passion and enthusiasm for quirky topics and off-the-wall ideas were great.
Don’t worry, all of that hard work won’t be wasted. The World Wide Web will remain accessible for 30 days, which will give you plenty of time to update your readers and customers. Each of you will also receive a 30-day free trial for AOL. Look for your CD in the mail soon.
Even better, we’ve created an import tool to make it easy to migrate everything you’ve put on the web to American Online! The address will change, of course, but now it will be available to every AOL member. You may find that you don’t need to bother, though. America Online already has groups and pages about almost every topic you can imagine. Take a look around first and you might save yourself a lot of time. There are only so many different ways to say that Citizen Kane was a good movie!
We understand that not all of you will become AOL subscribers and not all web sites will move to the new platform. Just to be safe, be sure to print out all of your favorite pages before the end of the month.
It’s been a wild ride, but we’re just getting started. I look forward to seeing you online, America.
A recent talk by Cory Doctorow reminded me once again how lucky we are that no one owns the Internet. Thanks to Tim Berners-Lee, Cory, EFF, and so many others for steadfastly defending the World Wide Web against those who would co-opt it in the name of safety, commerce, or anything else. As Dave Winer says, “Ask not what the Internet can do for you, ask what you can do for the Internet.”