Happy Birthday Web! Here Are Today's 15 Most Influential Sites

Since the inception of the internet on December 20th, 1990, this year the world wide web or simply 'the web', will turn 27 years old. Almost 30 years ago, a British engineer, Tim Berners-Lee started running the very first website on the NeXT computer in Switzerland at the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN).

birthday cakeAt the time, the website was just a couple of sentences arranged depending on the categories they fall in. Some of the concepts and principles utilized in that first site such as the use of hyperlinks are still in use today. Since those days, the web has been disruptive with new technologies replacing new ones and old players in the web being toppled by new ones. For example, languages such as VRML popular in the 90s are no longer favorites and the same case applies to Adobe’s Flash media players and Shockwave. New web browsers like Google Chrome has replaced traditional favorites like Netscape and Internet Explorer – seriously who could have predicted that? Over the years, there have been websites that have revolutionized the web. The following are the most impactful and why:

15. Match.com Since its inception in 1933, match.com has seen a lot of changes. It started as an online distributor of classified adverts for newspapers. However, in 1995, the website started offering online dating services by “matching” people’s interest. Currently, it serves tens of millions of people while operating in 25 different countries.

14. Reddit Although Reddit may not have been there at the begging of the internet, other similar online forums have been there. Launched in 2005, Reddit started as a story and feedback hub where people could react to different topics. Today, some topics and some users boost billions of page views per year.

13. Pandora During the early days of the web, some sites such as MP3.com introduced music-sharing craze. Currently, a similar concept is being used on modern platforms like Spotify and iTunes. Pandora launched in the year 2000, on the other hand, focuses on streaming tunes. Here the users are able to select what they like and vote for it. The next time the user wants to play tunes, Pandora will remember which tunes a person doesn’t like and not display them – a trend adopted by many websites including iTunes.

12. WikiLeaks In 2006, an Australian activist known as Julian Assange established it as a dumping site for sensitive information about institutions and countries. Over the years, the U.S. has seen a lot of classified information dumped there including sensitive 2016 presidential election information believed to have influenced the outcome of the election.

11. The Pirate Bay In early 2000, Napster started offering pirated music and it only took 3 years before the pirate bay was launched by three Swedes. Since its inception, Pirate Bay website has been offering books, music, movies and more. In most cases, the site violates copyrights. However, the funny thing is – despite facing countless domain seizures and lawsuits - the site is still around.

10. Info.cern.ch It was designed in 1989 by Tim Berners-Lee when at the same facility where he launched the first website. Most of the things included in the website format such as contact information and about us page are still being used in modern websites.

9. eBay eBay started as an AuctionWeb in 1995. Although it may not be the largest online store currently, it was the one that made buying and selling of goods online a common practice. Modern online retailers such as Etsy are based on the same concept.

8. Drudge Report Mostly known for breaking the famous story of Monica Lewinsky, the Drudge report seldom posts its own news. Instead, the site acts as a news aggregator. When you visit the site, you will find links to articles with catchy headlines that are irresistible to click. Despite the website retaining its initial framework, it is still visited by many people. In some instances, it has been used to influence agendas in Washington.

7. Yahoo Yahoo has been there long before Google become a thing. In order to bring some sort of order on the web, Yahoo editors started selecting links to others sites and news stories. Nonetheless, although the same idea remains, human editors have been replaced by cutting-edge algorithms able to go through billions of web pages within a very short time. Newcomer Google has leapfrogged Yahoo in this area.

6. Craigslist In 1995 the idea was born and Craig Newmark took little time before transforming his email list into an online forum with classified adverts. Through it is more than two decades old, the website still attracts over 60 million U.S. users per month. And the idea of online ads has been on the rise since.

5. YouTube Although watching videos has become a routine for everyone, the credit can only go to YouTube for proving to the world that anyone can publish videos. Over the years, the website has continued to grow immensely and it is almost impossible not find any type of video there. Currently, new websites like Snapchat and Instagram are using the same concept.

4. Facebook Facebook is at the moment the biggest social network. In 2000, Mark Zuckerberg started a profiling website for Harvard classmates that later become Facebook. Over the years, Facebook has evolved from just connecting people to doing other things like advertising and source news. Even recent platforms like Twitter, Instagram and Tencent’s WeChat has not been able to topple it.

3. Wikipedia Many professors and teachers usually discourage the use of Wikipedia claiming it is unreliable. But one can’t ignore its rise to prominence making it the go-to internet encyclopedia. Its challenge is only in its openness that allows any person to publish misleading information. According to Alexa analytics, it is the 5th most visited site in the world.

2. Amazon At the beginning, Amazon started as a bookseller before transforming into an all-out e-commerce site selling everything from toys to server space. Its concepts of digital stores led to the introduction of online shopping carts. At the moment, Amazon sales stand at around 5% in the U.S retail market although things are expected to become better with time.

1. Google Even young people know that if they don’t have any idea about something, they can just google (search) it. Since its inception in 1998, Google has changed the way we search for information online. Currently, over 79% of all desktop searches use Google search engine and 97% for all mobile searches according to recent Net Market Share data.

Source: Time.com