the heck happened? I sure don't know.
Once upon a time we had a fantastic
online community, full of excitement
about this new thing called the web.
Now it's an embarrassment even to
have a site on Geocities.
A year ago we launched a war on what
was called the "watermark."
Since then it's changed and mutated
and even disappeared, but it was never
really the mark itself we fought against.
It was what the mark stood for. It
meant Geocities could place anything
they wanted on our pages.
There were those that said "But
it's free." But it's not. We
paid with our content. And quite honestly,
a lot of us weren't there because
it was free. We were there because
we enjoyed being there.
Now Geocities, as you know, is making
us all re-register. If you don't,
your page will be unaccessable to
edit. And since someone intentionally
grabbed my name before I could, I
won't be able to re-register as altericon.
And nor do I want to.
Everything we were fighting for is
gone. There is no sense of community
left? So why fight? Why stick around?
Why even serve as a source of news.
Look, if you want news, and if there
is any, you can always find it at
That's the thing. Other than the whole
whoop-de-do 25 hits this site gets
a day, it's not really worth anything.
You can always find me doing something
So since soon I won't be able to edit
this site anymore, I thought I'd leave
it with a few parting words. As you
know, this site has been shut down
and started up more times than I'd
like to remember. But that's just
part of it's history.
And there's lots of history. Lots
of it. It seems so long ago, but only
a year ago AI was still primarily
a page about Geocities Geolinks.
Then the watermark came, and we all
know what happened next. Reading AlterIcon
became daily routine for Geocities
homesteaders, CLs, Liaisons, and even
employees. Especially employees. They
And they loved the mistakes we made
to. Or rather I should say I made.
I'll admit, when AI became the focus
of much of the attention directed
at the watermark, I felt like I had
something to live up to. I felt like
I owed it to you all. And that's just
me, that's just a personality trait.
I would have done that whether we
were trying to get rid of the watermark,
or trying to eliminate bovine gas
So sometimes I'd take myself a little
too seriously, and sometimes I'd do
things that were just plain wrong.
I'm only human. So when I essentially
started a civil
war with Joseph, I should
have known better. But I thought I
was doing the right thing. The guy
was admittedly crazy, but he didn't
deserve what I gave him. Some might
say it eventually led to the end of
the anti-watermark movement. But the
fact is, it was dead long before then.
It was dead because we didn't trust
each other. It was dead because people
were jealous. It got ridiculous. One
person believed I was strategically
placing my hit counter to show off.
Another thought I was somehow hacking
into message boards and deleting messages,
so that my own message board would
be used by watermark debaters. Whatever.
One person told me to "run a
board like Liv, or just admit it's
an ego trip, and your (sic) after
hits." Get a life.
But it wasn't their fault. They were
simply as frustrated as I was. Very
quickly after the watermark was released,
Geo started deleting sites. They deleted
the small ones, the ones no one really
noticed. I certainly wasn't able to
keep up. There were so many popping
up, when they deleted one I simply
didn't have the time to do anything
about it. But they knew well enough.
They would delete all the small sites,
and the support for the big ones...
AI, Orange Ribbon, Monty Python Heaven...
the support would disappear. They
wouldn't have to delete us, because
we'd have no audience. And sadly,
they were absolutely right.
I should mention something that someone
pointed out to me, something I hadn't
even thought of. A lot of us suspected
the real reason behind the watermark
wasn't to drive traffic or help out
homesteaders, but to create brand
awareness for a company preparing
an Initial Public Offering. And if
that were the case, it certainly worked,
as Geocities stock shot up to incredible
heights. CLs who had at one time a
few hundred dollars worth of stock
now have over a thousand. If I had
wisely invested in Geo, a stock that
I predicted would drop like lead,
I would be writing to you from the
beaches of the Caribbean, not from
the coffee capitol of the world.
But of course Geo told us, and more
specifically it's "Community
Leaders" that this was a "cool"
tool for homesteaders, and gosh, homesteaders
all loved it. If you were to believe
Geo, homesteaders thought the watermark
was the greatest thing ever seen on
the World Wide Web, despite the fact
that at the time most homesteaders
weren't even using DHTML capable browsers.
In fact, the people that were using
DHTML capable browsers were the ones
Geo cared about. They were the investors
Geo wanted to attract with it's funky
little watermark. And the more press
we gave them, the better off they
were! Even though industry analysts
were telling people that GCTY was
a piece of junk that held no real
value, people were buying it up like
Now, Yahoo merges with (read: takes
over) Geocities and what immediately
happens? The watermark disappears.
Completely. Sure, we have an image
that say "Yahoo! Geocities"
but it doesn't really function like
the watermark. There's no dynamic
properties. It doesn't take you anywhere
but the Geo main page. What happened
to the targeted traffic the watermark
was supposed to present?
It was all a sham. It was all a lie.
There was no real added value to homesteaders.
When GCTY died, when the stock disappeared
from NASDAQ as it was acquired by
Yahoo!, the watermark died too. Now
that Geocities doesn't have to worry
about the investor, it can suddenly
concentrate on the customer. And sure
enough, people are getting actual
responses from Geo. Pages sent to
Alert are disappearing. It's everything
we've been crying for over the last
year. Maybe we just needed to buy
Speaking of dying, I should mention
that Geo has finally done what I've
been saying will happen for a long
time. It's killed the Community Leader
program. Sort of.
The Community Leader program is now
the Volunteer Network. Technically
it's only been renamed ,but there's
a reason behind everything. And the
fact is that CL's no longer are part
of a community, and in fact they don't
really lead. Geo gives them information
a whole 24-48 hours before they give
it to everyone else (making AlterIcon
obsolete unless I'm up 24/7). They
have no real functionality anymore.
They can send pages to Alert, but
so can you. It's pointless for them
to do blockwatchs, since most of them
legally can't view the porn they are
looking for, and the ones that are
can't take the constant pop-ups crashing
their computers. CL's, er, Volunteers,
who are easily duped by Geo anyway,
will defend the name change as part
of the integration into Yahoo! But
there's no reason for a name change
unless there is something to hide.
Most of the smart ones have left anyway.
I'd like to create a network for former
CL's. If anyone is interested, please
me. I know Teresa would like it
a lot. She misses the sense of community,
but not the stress of having to deal
with morons. (Mainly Geneseo, who
to her credit had the stress of having
to deal with Teresa!)
But life goes on. And looking back
on the last year, it was quite a fun
ride. Obviously, I've moved on to
bigger and better things, like the
new Genealogy Pages site, which generates
more traffic than AlterIcon ever could
have hoped to. And a lot of others
moved on to. In fact, a lot of the
protestors have quality sites hosted
at their own domain. I guess it says
a lot about the "minority"
that was against the intrusion in
the first place. Most of the supporters
of the watermark are still at Geo.
One major supporter got so sick of
Geo's antics they dropped their support
and started leaking info to me. But
none that I know have anything more
than "Hi, my name is Bob"
sites run on a pitiful excuse for
a online community.
So when all has been said and done,
all I can do is thank you. Literally,
thank everyone. Even those that turned
on me. Even those I turned on. Oh,
there's a long list. And I probably
left someone out. For the most part,
this in chronological order, so don't
get upset if you're at the bottom
of the list. It probably means I met
you last. And since I have a terrible
memory, don't get upset if you're
not there. Obviously, a lot of these
names have been severely shortened
(like one or two letters) to keep
Thanks to : Zorbo
(for introducing me), Wilcox, StevE,
OhYesUAre (who kept us laughing),
Jan, Melody, nvo2, Peter B,
george, Gerben, OZZman, Cy,
Becky, J.P., Nickell, Silver,
JHF, Quietsiren, MJ, Skewer,
Ursula, Northern Prince, Chaz n Anne,
Dr. McSwiney, Bob E., SonicBlue, MV,
Syrynx, Kimberly, Webspinner,
Andreas, Nicholas, Marina, Libragrrl,
D.L., F'Lessa, Denise, Fauvegrrl,
Liv, laleh, William H. (who
I forgot about!) FOTP, Kei, Frank,
Jane, BB, Joseph (I'm sorry),
Cameron, James, Vu, YSL,
Crash, zposter, Carrie, Jody,
Dan, RickB, Maverick (the only
one better than me), IQ (I
can't possibly thank you enough),
Alex, Holger, The Sunbeam Award, Jes,
Lee, d.M., Old Geezers, Kit, Jim,
BMJ, Carolyn A., Eric, Dan, Karen,
Miko, The one and only, absolutely
fabulous Celeste (and you still
bug me everyday!), Dianne See from
the Industry Standard (thanks
for making me famous), Christopher,
Gav, Saul Hansell from the New
York Times, JimH, Todd,
firstname.lastname@example.org), M, Webgoddess,
JosephR, Stacey, acrow, Mr. Bucket,
Prita ('Im sorry I never got that
graphic done for you), Brett, BC,
K, Box, skifyre, Super Genius, Ines,
Gabriel, Alexandra, Boner, S (who
first leaked Watermark 2 to me), Sapphire,
Stefano, Ryan (who I have an e-mail
for), Nita, Harv, Rick, the
mysterious T.J. Marchetti, (whose
communications were kept confidential
until an employee of Geocities blew
it by announcing I was communicating
with him on my very own forum), Tyler,
Liz, McDeath (learn math), Murphy,
Pat, Oohay, MB, The always formidable
"F"(who didn't agree with
me, but respected me anyway), Terri,
Imp, Vroom, lisa, 73, Robyn, Talmey,
AZ, Adlady (the only person
I have EVER met in person after meeting
them over the internet), Nightstar,
"T", PK, CA, KB, L, Suburband,
C.L., ML, Pliny, Linda, Vanessa, Numskull,
Scott B, Terry, Ruben, Daphne, Pooh
Bear (hey, that's my name!) , Raye,
BP, RKH, Carolyn2, Crystal Sword
(who actually had a pro-watermark
article on AI, so I'm not even going
to bother disguising it), Pam, SH,
Martijn, Geneseo (who long
before the watermark debate I said
some VERY nasty things about), Sarah,
AH, Jade, Ireland, PJ, JimBa, Kyle,
Ng, Enigma, Rissa, Norma, SA, BF (who
leaked more than anyone else), Link,
LoneStar, steve, Serrah, T2, BillC,
cathy, SEG, Priscilla, Rochelle, S,
CJ, BrianH, MichaelM, LisaBD, Laura,
Twilight, CP, Jenn, The very successful
JJ!, Maddie, Bob, Charlee, DavidT,
Fern, Shade, JR, KMG, Nita,
Rogier, Kempo, xsmj, JML, inwords,
Jag, RSW, Kevin, The entire Phoenix
Community, Alan (who wrote
me to tell me how he personally was
having Geo delete my page, and then
for some reason proceeded to tell
me information which was for CLs only.
Must be like Dr. Evil... tell all
your plans before you kill the good
guy off), C1, LBJ, CK (thanks for
trying), Sevanne, Wanda, Aimee, Kento,
Colin, JH, D, llizard, Greg
(a CL who thought i was hacking into
Geocities and that I SHOULDN'T BE
posting information that wasn't mine),
alexis, Tim, GK, AL, SLucas,
O, A, DaRReN, KK, Mullen, Unidentified
Anti Geocities Member (this is actually
the name they gave me). And of course,
Norny, who never gave me any
information, but was willing to place
a AI Featured Page logo under the
watermark on his site, despite his
Liaison status. Way to go Norny. That's
And that was pretty much it. There
were others, but those were the guys
that really made AI what it was during
the summer of 98. That's it guys.
It was fun! And maybe we'll all get
together and do it again sometime.