What was Internet Marketing Like in the 90's?

58 replies
Just as the title says...

I started working in IM after 2000 and I really don't know anything about IM at that time.

They say that it was much easier... less competition, PPC advertising was cheaper, 1 and 2 word domain names were abundant... etc..

Correct me if I'm wrong. I think that making money online was much easier.

What do you think?

Did you start working in IM in the 90's?

If so, pls share your experience.

Thanks
#internet #marketing
  • Profile picture of the author CDarklock
    It was a double edged sword. It was, first of all, a LOT more expensive to set up a website that took credit cards... and then you'd find that a tremendous number of people simply refused to buy anything off the internet, those who would buy online didn't want to spend a lot of money, and there was a simply outrageous quantity of fraud on both sides of the fence. I bought a lot of things online that I just plain never got, and I sold a lot of stuff online that I ultimately didn't get paid for.

    Bottom line? The infrastructure today is so much better, I wouldn't go back no matter how much you paid me. The internet in general has been massively transformed in the last twenty years, and if you're nostalgic about the internet of 1992, you cannot possibly have been doing anything of importance on it.

    There were nice things about it, of course... but honestly, it was a stone bitch to get running and an absolute nightmare to maintain. Can you say Crynwr? If not, you almost certainly weren't serious about your internet activities in those days, and if so - well, that word ought to send a shiver down your spine.
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    • Profile picture of the author Johnathan
      The internet hasn't been "around" for 20 years (talking specifically about when people starting doing e-commerce, etc, it would be 15 years). "Netscape" was pretty much revolutionized the "internet" as we know today, and that was in 1994. Up until about 1998-99, the only sites that were really accepting credit cards tended to be porn websites, and it was difficult to set up your own system for accepting cc cards, etc.

      It was fairly difficult to figure out how to get anything done unless you were 'in the know'. Registering a domain name was like "magic" (and at that time networksolutions took care of all registrations, and I think it was about $30/year).

      At the time also -- a "spinning" .gif was magic. One of the first guys that made it popular simply made his head rotate around and around.

      People usually "made" money by sending in cheques to a p.o. box or an actual physical address, and in many cases BBS's were the big thing. (At the time, a 14400 baud modem was considered exceptionally fast. In todays terms, that would be like waiting about 30 seconds for a single 50k jpg file to load.)

      At the time, I probably would have purchased domains like "business.com", etc, but didn't have the money (easily accessible), and $30 was a 'big' sum of cash. (Incidentally, domains like business.com ended up going easily for $1 million a piece).

      It was much, much different than now.

      And now... iPhone is the craze among the 'younger' generation, basically press a couple buttons and have 'instant' gratification. Probably 5 years from now, websites will be complete multimedia solutions (they are already getting to that) -- but you will have virtual assistants this time that 'look' like real people, but are 100% a.i. generated, you will have massive profiling done on you (it already is being done, but moreso in the future, i.e., like a virtual agent buying things on your credit card on your behalf because it automatically knows what 'you' will want), and many people's primary form of communication will be through 'entertainment' or visual stimulation.
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  • Profile picture of the author findtips
    I started in 1999. I agree about the credit card thing. I couldn't even get Bank of America to accept us. I had to write several letters to the 'powers-to-be' about encryption and security, convincing him that we were playing by the book and that we were legitimate, etc. It finally worked but it was like pulling teeth.

    Back then you could get a lot of mileage out of simple two way link exchange. That's one thing that put us on the map. I hit every website online for link exchanges. And theme didn't matter back then. There was no Google or PR. You wanted links on as many websites as possible so people could find you. And b/c there weren't but so many people online, it was "much" easier to get found once you were linked up.

    Jump ahead a couple of years: GoTo.com (then Overture and now Yahoo Search Marketing) was brand new. I got in early and I was bidding on most words for a penny. I had over 20,000 keywords or so and was getting most of them for a penny. It was insane! I spent every waking hour writing keywords. LOL That was the best time for us looking back. We were so small but I was getting better placement and traffic than many big superstores.
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  • Profile picture of the author TLTheLiberator
    It was light years different just 5 years ago. ( talk about the 1990's )

    These are the best times to be a newbie or to be running a online business.

    TL
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    • Profile picture of the author findtips
      Originally Posted by TLTheLiberator View Post


      These are the best times to be a newbie or to be running a online business.
      On the "newbie" part... I think it depends. I know a ton of people that are failing at it or at the most, barely making anything for all their efforts. I hear them complaining about it in many forums. Although there are thousands of tools and apps and IM options these days, there's also a million times more competition out there and it's harder to get noticed or to make certain things "stick" than in the old days.
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      • Profile picture of the author Adrian Cooper
        Originally Posted by findtips View Post

        On the "newbie" part... I think it depends. I know a ton of people that are failing at it or at the most, barely making anything for all their efforts. I hear them complaining about it in many forums. Although there are thousands of tools and apps and IM options these days, there's also a million times more competition out there and it's harder to get noticed or to make certain things "stick" than in the old days.
        If you think IM is tough, offline business is a thousand times harder without the global market or potential to make money - definitely not working from home.

        IM is easy - but you still need to approach it like a business, not a casino.
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    • Profile picture of the author CDarklock
      Originally Posted by OnTheRoad View Post

      It seems like there are many more people doing this, and there is more competition?
      There is more money in this field than we could possibly take out of it. No matter how many people come into the IM game, we can all still play, and we can all still succeed.

      Competition doesn't really matter. What does matter is the community and the tools. The community is stronger than ever before, and the tools are better than ever before. Some of us old timers may gripe about how you kids don't know how easy you've got it these days, but that's mostly jealousy. Why, if only we'd had what you've got when we were your age! That would have been awesome.

      Youth is wasted on the young, as they say... so try not to waste it.
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  • Profile picture of the author Brad Gosse
    In many ways it was harder because affiliate programs were not as popular neither was the internet. Porn sold best in those days
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  • Profile picture of the author p2y
    Anyone else from the 90s remember the pain of having to accept money orders and checks in your p.o box?
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  • Profile picture of the author misterwrecker
    I was not into IM in the 90s but I came online in 97 and remember websites had a visitors counter on the bottom like you see on ebay. Aol and chat rooms were a big craze. Of course there were marketers in random chatrooms trying to sell herbalife....lol
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  • Profile picture of the author Andy LaPointe
    Organic SEO was great. I was selling a retirement planning book and I didn't even have my own domain. I was using a Geocities domain and the url looked something like geocities.com/books/retirement/planningforretirement.html

    Best of all I have was placed in the 1 -3 positions for keywords: retirement planning, planning for retirement, money management, etc. and I was selling it off of Clickbank.
    I was getting better placement than Citibank and other major players in that niche without paying a dime for nearly 3 years.

    Those where the days, but I wouldn't go back for anything the potential for making money online is so great. I'll be happy to leave the 90's back in the day.
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    • Profile picture of the author drmani
      In the mid-90's -

      'Experts' were fewer - but more 'real'

      Email was opened - and read, even replied to

      No one was 'too big' to not need partners

      There weren't many laws - it was the 'Wild West' Web

      Scams abounded - then, as they do now

      Winners kept winning - success secrets are the same

      Everyone was learning - some did it faster

      Resources were fewer - and needed smarter use


      .... and then a lot of it changed!

      Some of it didn't, though

      All success
      Dr.Mani

      P.S. - I was making more than Amazon.com at that time!
      (Full disclaimer: Amazon makes more than me now!)

      .
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      • Profile picture of the author psresearch
        Originally Posted by drmani View Post

        In the mid-90's -

        'Experts' were fewer - but more 'real'



        .
        I didn't start until 1999, but from my recollection it was MUCH more obvious who the real experts were back then, too.
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        • Profile picture of the author Paul Myers
          Phil,

          I knew you'd been around a long time. Much longer than your profile states, anyway.

          People might be surprised to know who comes in here and reads regularly and never posts...


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  • Profile picture of the author Mickm
    Selling SEO to people was tricky because they didn't know what it did, and didn't understand why being found at the top of Alta Vista, Yahoo & Netscape was important to their business.

    The actual SEO itself was much, much easier but nowhere near as much fun as it is now. We could train new employees to do it in minutes.

    Given a choice between the 90's and present day, I'd choose the present day. Marketing websites today involves a lot more creativity and is more about being smarter than being able to code.

    I just can't wait to find out what the next 10 years or so has in store for us.
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  • Profile picture of the author Derek S
    I started in 1998 and was 13 years old.

    I used to make a killing selling SUB DOMAIN NAMES! lol
    While $30.00 for a yourname.com was too expensive for most, I would charge $1.99 for yourname.myname.com and business was steady.

    Shortly after I started giving them away from free in exchange for having a pop-up open. The pop-up's worked like a charm back then and got my foot in the door to affiliate marketing.

    I got a lot out of it because the internet was evolving so rapidly at the time and to stay in business you had to evolve right along with it.

    At age 13 It was a VERY nice little business and helped pave the way for my current success.
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    • Profile picture of the author LACAVALIER
      I started back in 1994 on a slow dial-up (remember those?).

      Websites were mostly text since graphics took just about forever to load. Hosting was expensive and getting a merchant account was like legalized financial rape.

      I remember going to a seminar around 2000 and people were saying how much the Internet was already saturated and there was no way someone new could make money. RIGHT!
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    • Profile picture of the author mmurtha
      Originally Posted by Derek S View Post

      I started in 1998 and was 13 years old.

      I used to make a killing selling SUB DOMAIN NAMES! lol
      While $30.00 for a yourname.com was too expensive for most, I would charge $1.99 for yourname.myname.com and business was steady.

      Shortly after I started giving them away from free in exchange for having a pop-up open. The pop-up's worked like a charm back then and got my foot in the door to affiliate marketing.

      I got a lot out of it because the internet was evolving so rapidly at the time and to stay in business you had to evolve right along with it.

      At age 13 It was a VERY nice little business and helped pave the way for my current success.
      Hey Derek,

      I bet that did a nice treat for you back then. Very cool for a 13 year old.

      Yeah, domains were high, but hosting was higher. I remember it costing a mint for a hosting account ( acouple of hundred at least). Now you can get an account for $6 or less - go figure.

      In the mid -late 90s I had 1 site where I ran affiliate products from. They were all for offline companies like shoes, clothing, autos, dentistry, etc ... The biggest problem was the non trust issue with internet users back then. As someone pointed out, people weren't as trusting back then, and using a computer to do shopping was unheard of. In the public's eye people who sold stuff on the internet were scammers. I think part of that rep came from those pyramid schemes that were so popular in the 90s.

      But then again, some things were easier than they are today. Linking and branding were a little simpler. Not easier, just simpler Plus a viral effect was a "real" word of mouth viral effect that was done mostly from offline advertising - magazines, newspapers, flyers, and cold calling were a big part of it. Family also helped more, at least with me anyway.

      I think one of the biggest changes was that it used to be hard to find other marketers because the search engines weren't what they are today.

      Let's face it, the Internet is changing every moment, and what seemed easier or more profitable one year, may not the next.

      Lol I like DrMani's list above. It about covered everything. I particularly like the comment about emails, and the experts. He's right you know - they were much more real back then!
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  • Profile picture of the author BrandonLee
    It was expensive. I spent over $50,000 to create our first continuity system billing program and it took forever.
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  • Profile picture of the author George Wright
    Hi,

    I had dreamed about the Internet since I was a kid in the 50s and 60s. I knew it existed somewhere and it just had to happen someday. This was before I even, or anyone for that matter knew what a computer was. There weren't any. Well, Univac but that would never be for the public. LOL

    I thought the "Internet" (didn't call it that of course) was a telephone hooked up to a bunch of other telephones where people could talk and sell stuff to each other. WOW, when multi line voice mail came on the scene I thought that was "IT."

    I bought a voicemail system, "press 1 for restaurants," "Press 2 for bicycle shops," etc. Then I went out to sell my "bargain hot line" as I called it. Well, that wasn't it.

    Then in the 90s (OK now I'm up to your question.) I started hearing about the "Information Super Hiway."

    I didn't get it right away but when I did as far as I knew and anyone else knew, AOL was the Internet. People used it interchangeably. Do you have Internet? Yes, "I have AOL."

    So, the first time I sat down and "surfed" the AOL I was on the computer for hours. When I got up from the computer and tried to talk I couldn't, I couldn't hardly walk, the room was spinning or more like pulsating. I said out loud. "The computer sucked my brains out."

    To this day that is how I remember my first encounter with the Internet. It sucked my brains out.

    Now I would be sad if I had to live without it.

    What was it like? Slow. 20kb modem. You could start to open a large picture and get up, go have dinner and come back and it still wouldn't be loaded.

    The first money maker for me was "CookieCutterBootCamp" the second was eBay. I got spammed by someone (didn't call it spam) to join some outfit called the Warriors. I won't swear to it but I think I had to mail a check to join. I really don't remember using a credit card. I just know it was $39 or $49 and had to be manually set up after payment. (verymuch like the WSO forum today LOL) The rest is very pleasant history.

    George Wright P.S. Wanna know what it was like before TV?
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    • Profile picture of the author Tony Dean
      Spam was the order of the day and no-one seemed to mind, it was something new to be emailed by someone you never knew!

      As for the Warriors, I think it started out at $20 a year membership and gradually went up from there, but it's nice now it's free!
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      • Profile picture of the author Paul Myers
        I got on the net in 1995, the year they opened it completely to commercial use. The technical end of things was easy enough, as long as you weren't trying to accept credit card orders, but the social part stumped most marketers. I'd had a lot of experience with electronic media, including Usenet, so I had it a bit easier.

        I loved it. We were figuring things out as we went, and inventing stuff to do what we needed. You could sign up for every marketing newsletter online and have time to read them all and still get things done.

        In late '96/early '97, there were me, Terry Dean ("Web Gold is here"), Jim Daniels, Marty Foley, and Ralph Wilson that I can recall offhand who were publishing IM newsletters via email.

        I don't remember if Jonathan Mizel was sending the Online Marketing Letter via email at the time. I believe he had the first paid newsletter in this market.

        Back then, "mailing list" meant an email discussion list. There were a lot of those. The big ones in IM were Glenn Fleishman's "Online Marketing" list and Market-L, if I recall the latter's name correctly. Glenn's list was a lot of fun. I remember how excited Jeff Bezos was about his idea for an online bookstore.

        John Audette founded I-Sales, recruiting a lot of people from the soon-to-be defunct Online Marketing list, published a moderated digest version of the thing, and IM took off as a named industry.

        Randy Cassingham was the first to publish paid material via email, in 1995. Jeff Walker started selling his market letter in '97, I believe, at rates that most people still consider high today.

        In '98, we were invaded by a bunch of young turks, like Harvey Segal, Phil Wiley and Allan Gardyne.

        When the Warriors took off, a lot of people started running web-based marketing discussion boards. The changes in software for web forums has been nothing short of amazing.

        In '98 or '99, Marlon Sanders became the first person I'm aware of to sell an electronic book: "The Amazing Formula that Sells Products Like Crazy." (Referred to now as just "Amazing Formula.") Corey was already going nuts with the affiliate program for his "Insider Secrets" course. Stephan Mahaney was the first serious SEO guy I knew, at Planet Ocean.

        As far as I know, Corey was the first to use an affiliate program in this niche. Allen had, I believe, the first membership site in it. Jonathan had the first paid IM newsletter, and John Reese had one of the first paid autoresponder services. The first video product I remember in this market was from Terry Dean - on VHS. (I still have that course.)

        I don't think either time was better or worse, as far as getting started. The same stuff counts today as counted back then. Got something people want? Got a way to take payments and deliver product? You can make money.


        Paul
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        • Profile picture of the author philwiley
          Originally Posted by Paul Myers View Post

          In '98, we were invaded by a bunch of young turks, like Harvey Segal, Phil Wiley and Allan Gardyne.
          You got that just slightly wrong Paul. I've just published the 12th anniversary edition of my newsletter at http://philwiley.com/newsletters/12thanniversary/ meaning I started in August 1997.

          I couldn't really start online any sooner because the Internet hadn't come to my (remote part of Australia) town except to the university. However, I was writing it before then and selling it on disc by mail order to readers of my newspaper computer column.

          To send emails in those days I had to drive to the university and persuade a professor to send and email for me using his address. Then when the reply came he'd phone me up and read it to me

          My first newsletter was read by about 500 people, nearly all in the USA, and quickly grew to a few thousand. But then my ISP, which was hosting my mailing list, went broke and I lost all my subscribers and had to start from scratch...which is probably when you first came across my name.

          phil
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          • Profile picture of the author FrontLineMentor
            It is a lot easier due to less competition
            but at that time the number of people online
            also a lot less. Meaning, less leads, less
            customers

            The cost of web hosting and domains are also
            quite expensive
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  • Profile picture of the author Justin1
    In the 90s I would chuck up a adult web site and make hundreds of dollars in a couple of days, no seo, nothing, it was all so easy back then, we all need to smack ourselves if we didnt make millions in those easy days, think mainstream wasnt even going back then was it? What was the first mainstream affiliate program???
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    • Profile picture of the author Richard Tunnah
      Oh the 90's. I started online in 97. That was the time when it cost me nearly $100 for a domain per year, $4000 + for basic hosting, $5,000 for web design and oh yes when my business partner and I asked various banks for merchant account we got laughed out of every bank as some form of scammer!
      Lastly does nayone remember the excitement of logging onto a newgroups and going to make a cuppa while it took like 10 minutes to load the headers! LOL

      Rich
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      • Profile picture of the author Steven Wagenheim
        For me, it was a small world. The only thing I even knew back then was
        that there were a gazillion porn sites. IM? What the heck was that? I didn't
        get into IM until 2003.

        However, long before that, I had a softcore site...very softcore. It was
        a leg fetish site. I had a paid members area and took payments via check
        sent to a PO Box.

        Only reason I was getting like 1,000 visitors a day was because I submitted
        my site to thehun.net and they posted it on their list of daily sites. The
        first day (I'll never forget this) I got 14,000 visitors. My wife was in shock.
        I was speechless.

        If I knew then what I know now, I could have made a fortune in that niche.
        But I was so clueless, it was a joke.

        The site is long gone as it was hosted on AOL's free web hosting place
        members.aol.com, which is now defunct.

        Ah, but those were the days...not.
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        • Profile picture of the author AndrewCavanagh
          In the past everything was VERY expensive...domains, hosting.

          It was very difficult to edit websites...we learned to do html by hand.

          There was no other real way to get a halfway decent looking website online...no blogs, no good html editing software etc etc.

          You had to agonize over reducing file sizes because every user was on pathetically slow dial up (including you).

          That meant hours more of html editing.

          It was hard to take money online (most people weren't using paypal and people were VERY nervous about sharing any credit card details or buying anything on the internet).


          And finally...yes some strategies were easier because there was not so much competition but there was a really obvious problem...

          No one had really tested these strategies or knew how they worked.

          You had to work very hard to get any accurate knowledge about anything and you usually had to pay a lot of money for that knowledge (courses and software you'd pay hundreds or even thousands of dollars for...you can now get far better information and tools completely free).

          It is a whole lot easier to start from zero today and make some kind of income.

          Kindest regards,
          Andrew Cavanagh
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          • Profile picture of the author Paul Myers
            Andrew,
            And finally...yes some strategies were easier because there was not so much competition but there was a really obvious problem...

            No one had really tested these strategies or knew how they worked.
            Dude, that was half the fun ot being online back then. Figuring it all out.


            Paul
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          • Profile picture of the author Adrian Cooper
            Originally Posted by AndrewCavanagh View Post

            In the past everything was VERY expensive...domains, hosting.
            When I started domains were free

            It was very difficult to edit websites...we learned to do html by hand.
            Yes - I developed many a website in Notepad

            But think yourself fortunate.

            I entered the Internet before the Web, when state of the art was a product called "Gopher".

            When I was testing the first web server and later the first web browser - Mosaic, I remember how awesome it was. Before Mosaic web browsing was all command line through Lynx or whatever - as was the Internet generally.
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            • Profile picture of the author CDarklock
              Originally Posted by apc01 View Post

              I entered the Internet before the Web, when state of the art was a product called "Gopher".
              ...and gopher support remains built into pretty much every web server.

              Remember echo networks and front-end mailers?
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              "The Golden Town is the Golden Town no longer. They have sold their pillars for brass and their temples for money, they have made coins out of their golden doors. It is become a dark town full of trouble, there is no ease in its streets, beauty has left it and the old songs are gone." - Lord Dunsany, The Messengers
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              • Profile picture of the author Adrian Cooper
                Originally Posted by CDarklock View Post

                ...and gopher support remains built into pretty much every web server.

                Remember echo networks and front-end mailers?
                Many of the early utils are still there

                If I suspect a website has malware code on it, I still browse it with Lynx first.

                I remember a load of stuff that most people don't see which originated from UNIX decades ago.
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  • Profile picture of the author Adrian Cooper
    Originally Posted by a-marketing View Post

    Just as the title says...

    I started working in IM after 2000 and I really don't know anything about IM at that time.

    They say that it was much easier... less competition, PPC advertising was cheaper, 1 and 2 word domain names were abundant... etc..

    Correct me if I'm wrong. I think that making money online was much easier.

    What do you think?

    Did you start working in IM in the 90's?

    If so, pls share your experience.

    Thanks
    Totally different - but so much fun

    It was like the Wild West. Many of the characters have retired now with their millions. I just can't seem to stay away.

    Back then there was a big emphasis on cranking out software to scrape the search engines, duplicate pages, spin pages, cloaking, and tons more.

    A business associate of mine created a famous and first product to scrape search engine results to create pages from on sites - which was legendary. I wrote the manuals.

    Black Hat was rampant in those days.

    Marketing is maturing fast - people are finally beginning to get the idea that an IM business is the same as any other business and needs to be approached as such.

    Back then it was more like "hit and run"
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  • Profile picture of the author Richard N Adams
    In some ways, I think things were much harder. Hosting was more expensive, learning to build a website was challenging and you needed to learn web design etc. to stand any chance. Today there are tools for everything and so getting started is, in my opinion, far easier.

    I remember it took me days to set up my first affiliate program - using a script that you used to get free with a Warrior Forum paid membership back in the day.

    But equally there were far fewer people doing it and so if you got over those barriers then it was easier to "make a splash" that it is with all the noise these days.

    Equally though, all that "noise" has meant that websites have to get better and better and so I think all the competition has raised standards to a degree.

    All the best,
    Richard
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  • Profile picture of the author findtips
    I agree. It bothers me how loosely some businesses conduct themselves online. They think because the customer isn't standing in front of them, the same business standards that have proved themselves for years suddenly don't apply anymore. I'm talking about business ethics here. I urge everyone to not forget the Golden Rule when you're out there Guerilla Marketing.

    By the way, I started a new thread on what you think it will be like in 5 years:
    http://www.warriorforum.com/main-int...e-5-years.html

    I'm interested in hearing what some of you have to say. Maybe it will help us prepare.
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  • Profile picture of the author Mark Riddle
    Here are a few of my sites from the 90's

    USA MALL Consumer & Business to Business

    We were among the top sellers for Mason Shoes in the US in 98

    We were a test site for Hickory Farms with linkshare before the real roll out (I forget what year that was)

    SinglesMatch.Net Where singles become couples

    Look at the bottom of the page for SinglesMatch site its my affiliate link for the warriors Private Site membership.

    I remember thinking that it would be impossible to have more impressive sites

    Anyone else remember building thousands of doorway pages

    Mark Riddle
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    Today isn't Yesterday, - Products are everywhere if your eyes are Tuned!
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  • Profile picture of the author jonb
    I started on AOL and Compuserve back in the early 90's, posting articles and such to the writing forums of those services. I got my first website up in '95. The URL had a ~ in it. When someone asked me the address of the site, I called it the "squiggly thing right below the escape button".

    Big marketing deals back then were:

    * mailing lists (e-mail discussion groups)
    * banner exchanges
    * getting listed in yahoo
    * posting on usenet

    I got a merchant account in 1995 from Teleflora (the flower company -- don't ask me how that happened) and things really took off from there. I had to enter each credit card order manually in a DOS software program that connected to Teleflora at 2400 baud.

    My other memory from back then was getting a copy of the Mosaic browser and trying to figure out how the hell to use it. Also, my dial up ISP was in Atlanta and I was in Colorado. And long distance was expensive back then. You hadda keep your time online brief.

    The net seemed a lot quieter and like more of a "secret club" back then. it was kinda fun.
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    • Profile picture of the author Paul Myers
      I remember a load of stuff that most people don't see which originated from UNIX decades ago.
      Yep. I started with a slip/PPP connection, using an Amiga 3000 and JRcomm as the terminal program. Gopher, archie, veronica, lynx, pine and pico. Tin as the newsreader, until I got a PC, at which point I switched to Agent. That was much more like an Amiga program at the time.

      I actually moderated a newsgroup using Agent, which was fun. (misc.business.moderated, which I co-founded with John Gerits, formerly the mod of misc.business.marketing.moderated.) I probably still have the manual for that here buried in the archives somewhere.

      When I got a PC and got to look at Netscape, which everyone was raving about, I couldn't understand what the big deal was. I was used to a Skyline BBS that a friend ran, which had a point and click interface and much better graphics and sound than anything you found on the web at that point.

      And that nasty battleship grey they used as the default background color. Bleccch.

      As you say, much of it is still there. I got the urge to test my memory a few months back, and logged into my server and started up Pine. It came back pretty quickly, but I wouldn't want to have to use it regularly again.


      Paul
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      Stop by Paul's Pub - my little hangout on Facebook.

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      • Profile picture of the author CDarklock
        Originally Posted by Richard Odell View Post

        Let alone the nineties, who here was learning the basic coding back in the eighties?
        My mother used to abandon me in the computer lab at Wright State University while she went to night classes, when I was six and seven years old. So when I wouldn't STFU answering questions, one of the hackers dragged me into an abandoned corner of the lab and said "This is a PDP/10, and here is how you enter the boot code."

        That was 1976.

        The PDP/10 in question had been shipped to WSU by Harvard, when they didn't want to dismantle the truly impressive hack of interfacing it to an IBM paper tape reader. I am told (without any convincing proof) that this hack was carried out by one William Gates III. The timelines match up well, but I've never had the opportunity to talk at length to anyone who would really know.
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        "The Golden Town is the Golden Town no longer. They have sold their pillars for brass and their temples for money, they have made coins out of their golden doors. It is become a dark town full of trouble, there is no ease in its streets, beauty has left it and the old songs are gone." - Lord Dunsany, The Messengers
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      • Profile picture of the author kf
        What do they say about the 70's? If you remember, you weren't there?

        I remember manually subscribing and unsubscribing people to my weekly ezine, saving their email addresses in notepad in 'blocks' so I could bcc them in limited numbers at a time so my ISP would send them out. Someone (can't remember who) even had a little software to help you write your ezine so it didn't go over the character width.

        Manually (phone, fax, mail and online form) accepting credit card payment for ezine sponsorships, banner ads and directory/portal space that I then had to run through my card swiper and fill out the carbon thing by hand - and then mail the receipt to the buyer and take the CC slips to the bank. And of course, cheques and money-orders in the mail.

        On the upside, SEO was easy so offline customers thought you were a genius and sites in my niche were few so people would contact me to buy advertising space.

        I remember Jim Daniels and Wilson Web. I remember one speaking engagement where I bulk bought a little booklet Jim sold (stitch binding, 8-1/2 x 11 sheets) on how to use e-mail and then sold it at the back of the room for a small profit and as lead gen for design jobs.

        Building sites using notepad.

        Paying $35 to Internic for domains. $50 for .ca domains to CIRA.

        In '98 or '99 I paid $250 (OMG) for annual membership to a private marketing forum.

        The one thing I wish I'd known then is that $35 was cheap for a domain name if you were smart enough to buy up the right ones.

        And I wish I'd found the warrior forum in the 90's.
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        Those who stand for nothing, fall for anything. ~ Alexander Hamilton
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      • Profile picture of the author Johnathan
        Lol,

        Funny thing is... I *still* use tools like lynx, pine & pico, for various testing/developing applications, etc... Lynx is great if you want to check for a 'very' streamlined website, make sure over all it loads fast, etc, etc.

        Originally Posted by Paul Myers View Post

        Yep. I started with a slip/PPP connection, using an Amiga 3000 and JRcomm as the terminal program. Gopher, archie, veronica, lynx, pine and pico. Tin as the newsreader, until I got a PC, at which point I switched to Agent. That was much more like an Amiga program at the time.

        I actually moderated a newsgroup using Agent, which was fun. (misc.business.moderated, which I co-founded with John Gerits, formerly the mod of misc.business.marketing.moderated.) I probably still have the manual for that here buried in the archives somewhere.

        When I got a PC and got to look at Netscape, which everyone was raving about, I couldn't understand what the big deal was. I was used to a Skyline BBS that a friend ran, which had a point and click interface and much better graphics and sound than anything you found on the web at that point.

        And that nasty battleship grey they used as the default background color. Bleccch.

        As you say, much of it is still there. I got the urge to test my memory a few months back, and logged into my server and started up Pine. It came back pretty quickly, but I wouldn't want to have to use it regularly again.


        Paul
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        Make money from writing, find out how now.
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  • Profile picture of the author mmurtha
    Hmm ... after reading the rest of this thread, I'm starting to feel like I'm old lol.

    I'm not sure if it was the comment about it being a bear to edit our sites, using netscape when it first came out, or the discussion lists.

    At any rate, things have come a very long way in a few short years.
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  • Profile picture of the author John Atkins
    Just finished reading all of the posts... thank you guys

    Thanks for all the valid & interesting information that you provided us with. To tell you the truth I didn't think that a lot of WF members started their online carreer in the 90's!

    From all the info that I picked up from here... I'd say that working online at that time had both advantages & disadvantages.

    I think that the easiest (& perhaps most profitable) business at that time was the domain business. As I said earlier, 1 word & 2 word domain names were abundant & the same goes for other valuable domain names...

    If I could travel back in time, I think I'd search for valuable domain names & sell them...
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  • Profile picture of the author waken
    Originally Posted by IM Headlines View Post

    Just as the title says...

    They say that it was much easier... less competition, PPC advertising was cheaper, 1 and 2 word domain names were abundant... etc..

    Thanks
    Very true..but domain names are much expensive, hosting is pricey, less tools, less software, less automation, less guides, less tutorials, but Bum Marketing work damn easy then..
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  • Profile picture of the author john_kennedy
    I opened my first website in 1997.

    jekco subscription service

    I still have the domain name. Domains cost $70 for 2 years and you got them from Network Solutions - period! Webhosting was very expensive and forget about a merchant account if you were small potatoes. I operated based on checks, money orders and well concealed cash! I did OK back then, covered my costs and made some coin. PHP was in its infancy and most people used CGI or Perl. It's like comparing a 54" plasma TV to a 16" black and white tv.

    John
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    • Profile picture of the author Paul Myers
      Phil,

      'Bout time you posted something, old-timer.
      You got that just slightly wrong Paul.
      I was going on memory. Always tricky, and more so when you've spent a few years "off the clock." I consider "just slightly wrong" a victory.
      I've just published the 12th anniversary edition of my newsletter at philwiley DOT com/newsletters/12thanniversary/ meaning I started in August 1997.
      Congratulations! Not many people have been at it that long. The funny thing is, most of us are still at it. The real churn didn't start in this business until maybe 2000 or so.

      The only big exception I can remember before that was the MLM newsletter crowd. Tons of those came and went every month. Only a relative handful of those early ones are still around, and most of them have changed focus over the years. You had a very few in the field who did it right, and the rest were just amateur scrape-and-spam outfits. George at WorldProfit got sick of hearing from me about them.
      To send emails in those days I had to drive to the university and persuade a professor to send and email for me using his address. Then when the reply came he'd phone me up and read it to me.
      [chuckle] OUCH!
      My first newsletter was read by about 500 people, nearly all in the USA, and quickly grew to a few thousand. But then my ISP, which was hosting my mailing list, went broke and I lost all my subscribers and had to start from scratch...which is probably when you first came across my name.
      Maybe. Seems to me it was in one of the marketing newsgroups, but that could be wrong.


      Paul
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      Stop by Paul's Pub - my little hangout on Facebook.

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      • Profile picture of the author DeePower
        It was terrific but not nearly as great as it is now. First website went up in 1998 as a glorified brochure for our consulting services. It's still online and has taken on a life of its own as a resource for entrepreneurs looking for capital.

        We didn't worry about accepting credit cards online because we didn't accept credit cards period.

        We got our first book contract by emailing the editor of a major publishing house.

        The Internet opened up the world, literally, as a potential client base, rather than the city we live in.

        Dee
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        Are You a Writer? Then you need this FREE guide Convert Your Words to Ca$H Make Money Writing Online
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      • Profile picture of the author philwiley
        Originally Posted by Paul Myers View Post

        'Bout time you posted something, old-timer

        Yep,it is isn't it

        I've been here since the early days of Warriors and still not made enough posts to be able to post a WSO or even put a live link into a post.

        I guess it's because I always had my own busy forum back in the early early days - well, until about 3 years ago when I closed it.

        However, for the last 10 years, or however long it's been, I've never stopped coming here - reading posts, learning from people like you with bigger brains than me, and buying WSO's.

        phil
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  • Profile picture of the author John Romaine
    I remember the first time I saw the net. I sat down to www.infoseek.com and thought "what the hell is this..???"

    That was in 1998.

    I remember hearing about how many people were making a fortune "on the internets" selling ebooks - but I didnt care right?

    I was too busy fooling around on Yahoo Chat

    I remember wasting a good year and a half on those old web based chat rooms where you typed in your comment, then pressed REFRESH to see if anyone else had said anything.

    Back then it was hotmail, yahoo chat, and porn. Oh and trying to find an MP3 was almost IMPOSSIBLE!!!
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    BS free SEO services, training and advice - SEO Point

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    • Profile picture of the author CDarklock
      Originally Posted by ramone_johnny View Post

      Oh and trying to find an MP3 was almost IMPOSSIBLE!!!
      Precisely how long WAS it before you finally heard of mp3.com? It was up in '98.
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      "The Golden Town is the Golden Town no longer. They have sold their pillars for brass and their temples for money, they have made coins out of their golden doors. It is become a dark town full of trouble, there is no ease in its streets, beauty has left it and the old songs are gone." - Lord Dunsany, The Messengers
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    • Profile picture of the author georgekosch
      Nice to see my name in this post about the "first ones". Ah yes, I remember those days... sleeping next to my colo windows nt machine. Rebooting it everytime someone clicked the wrong thing or filled out a form with two @@ crashing the machine.

      Hmmm, is it really much better now? I have 32 servers and offsite hosting bla bla bla. Sql servers, mail servers ...

      Arghh! It's harder today BUT

      MORE FUN!!
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      George Kosch
      Webmaster
      http://Worldprofit.com

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  • Profile picture of the author Derek Allen
    I would have said it was easier. Maybe more expensive to set things up, but as far as getting front page listings... Geezz... I really couldn't tell you though because I didn't get my start until 2007.
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    My Blog + Cool Stuff>> Self Made CEO
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  • Profile picture of the author Brad Gosse
    It was like my first time with a girl. Confusing and difficult to navigate yet still fun and exciting.
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  • Profile picture of the author hotftuna
    There were so many search engines back then. around 2000 give or take a year there was:

    Lycos, Excite, Goto, Northerlights, Infoseek, Alta Vista, Hot Bot, Snap, All The Web, The Inktomi Index, Web Crawler, Netscape, and more.

    Much different SEO environment. Google domination changed everything.
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    HeDir.com ranks #1 for "human edited web directory"


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