Who Knew the Web Would Suck.com? Promotion in the Days Before Search Engines

Keepgoing.org has a great history of one of the first great web sites – the online Mad Magazine of its time. In The Big Fish, they take a look at Suck.com, ten years after its launch.

I came to the party late, and didn’t learn about suck.com until it had closed its doors, and stopped publishing. But this story is a great one, and there are probably a lot of lessons here to be learned by anyone interested in putting a web site online.

Promotion in the days before search engines made it big? Here’s how suck.com got the word out:

Anuff collected every magazine he could locate, at the Wired offices and at home, until he had a stack of perhaps 200, which he combed through, writing down every email address he found. “Every published email address of any journalist period ended up on this master list, and we spammed them all when we launched.” After that, there was little else to do except watch the server traffic, and wait.

Seems like that’s not a bad idea, even in these days of search engines. Excuse me now, I have to go collect the email addresses of all the local reporters I can find, so I can tell them about a gathering of internet marketers happening in the Havre de Grace area….

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6 thoughts on “Who Knew the Web Would Suck.com? Promotion in the Days Before Search Engines”

  1. I’ve had a free for all link site in 98/99 and the search engines at that time including google LOVED it, because they it helped them to fill their index and now they despise such practices.
    Its just funny how things can make a 360 over time in history.

  2. HI Donnie,

    Thanks. One of the very earliest posts here at SEO by the Sea. I think there’s a lot to learn from some of the Web’s early success stories. :)

  3. Hi Andreas,

    The history of the Web is filled with some interesting stories and turnarounds. Do you remember when AltaVista first launched? In their FAQ page, one of the things that they stressed was how important it was for site owners to use meta keywords. Not only that, but they stressed that you could use up to 1024 characters in your meta keywords element. Meta keywords are one of the least important things that you might want to create for a page these days.

  4. Hi Wendels,

    The last thing I would advocate is spamming anyone, but the idea of finding the right audience and reaching out to them to build actual relationships makes sense.

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