In celebration of the first banner ad, which debuted 20 years ago, its original creators, Otto Timmons and Craig Kanairick, have fashioned a website that mimics the original experience over at The First Banner Ad dot com. There you can time travel back to the gray Internet pages of 1994 and willingly click on a banner ad for the first time in decades.
The mock-up looks slightly better than what flanked the content of HotWired, Wired magazine’s digital-only sister publication, back in the day because of the advances of browser and computing technology. Still, it’s a pretty impressive re-creation of the early web. (And is, in a way, timeless, what with the resurgence of ’90s web design.) All of the original websites have been lost to the Internet vortex forever, so its creators had to code the pages from scratch.
As you can see, the hyperlinks lead to something similar to what web browsers would have seen back then. You can explore, for example, the original homepage of the Musée d’Orsay. At the time, it was pretty incredible to visit an art gallery across the world from a desk chair. Now, the tiny images look quaint. Unlike the original ad, the site also includes some history of the first online ads.