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Sunday, January 26, 2020

The Story of JAUP! An Interview With The Original JAUP Master.

Back in 1996 an internet sensation called JAUP appeared. JAUP (Just Another Useless Site) was a site list featuring an award for websites, not necessarily because they were useless, but merely because they weren't yet in the top 5% (or the Bottom 95%) of the web.

JAUP came about in the hey day of personal web sites in the Web 1.0 era when people were creating their own web sites, growing to immense size in just two years. Although updates to the site ceased in late 1998, it remained online until 2002 when it suddenly disappeared.

JAUP reappeared in 2019, this time on GeoCities.ws! I was responsible for that, having created a retro web 1.0 site over on NeoCities for fun. As part of the experience trying to be created, several old defunct '90s sites from the Internet Archive were planted in various places around the web, primarily as faux places for the site to link to, JAUP being one of them. A few sites on NeoCities were added to the list to prime the pump and before long the site took off again with people requesting to join and adding JAUP buttons to their sites! Seems I had become the new JAUP Master 2.0!

I often wondered what happened to the original JAUP Master and how he might feel about this revival. I tried to find him in order to find out, but he was just nowhere to be found, But then one day, straight out of the blue, he contacted me through the new JAUP site!

Today we're going to spend a little time with the JAUP Master 1.0!

Welcome JAUP Master, can you tell us your name or would you prefer to remain anonymous?
"I would prefer to remain anonymous, sorry..."
OK, but can you tell us a little more about yourself and what you are up to these days?
"I started at a lumber yard in contractor sales in 1990, and I am still there but i am now the manager."
Back when you were the JAUP Master: How old were you? What were you doing back then?
"I was 36 when I started the page. I had been at the lumber yard for 6 years."
Why did you stop updating the site? Did you ever have any plans to continue it later?
"The site had simply began to take up too much time. I was working on it 2 to 3 hours per night. I was getting 20 or more emails per day. If I went even 1 night without updating it, the next night was simply brutal.
I have never even thought about reviving it."
How did you find that the site had been revived?
"Thursday while at work I was doing a little research on a product for a customer of mine, I manage a lumber yard, and for what ever reason I went to Google and entered JAUP. I got nothing.
Then I entered Just Another Useless Page and it was the first hit on the list. I was in shock! When I clicked it I could not believe my eyes.
I did some looking around on the site and realized that SOMEONE was maintaining it, and went to the guest book and it had current sigs in it."
What can you tell us about the original site? How did you come up with the idea?
"Well, the page started just as I explained it in the title page. It was an accident. Failing to come up with any original content for site, I grew frustrated, thinking to myself, "THIS IDEA IS USELESS!" And it hit me, what I had was Just Another Useless Page!
Little did I know how popular it would become."
What was it like to Webmaster a site back in those days?
"For a while I was actually getting 30 to 40 new requests per day. I would review every single one before I put it up. It was not automatic that you got on, and I got accused of NET CENSORSHIP!
There were some really dark pages back then.
Some nights it would literally take hours. And it was ALL hand coded. Then I would use a freebie I found called WSFTP. It was an FTP program I found on Tucows.com. I would then upload nightly the new page. EVERY DAY. I did this for years. ON DIAL UP. There was no DSL or High Speed."
Can you tell us a little bit about the lay out of the site?
"Back in the 90s there was not a lot of standards in browsers. I used Netscape, and found that if I configured it for that, it would not always work on IE or Firefly. There were so many LOWER resolution computers out that unless you had it on the same resolution that I wrote the page on it would be off. I believe it was originally done at 640x480."
How popular did the site become?
"Back then my ISP was Inreach Comunications. They sent me a email once telling me that JAUP was their number one hit page on their servers for almost 6 months straight."
When did you decide to quit updating the site? Why did the site ultimately disappear?
"I forget when I actually had to stop doing the page, and it hung there for a while until one day it just disappeared. If I remember correctly, Inreach was bought by someone that stopped web hosting."
Can you tell us about that brick pattern background image and the MIDI that plays on each page?
"Oh, The Wall! You see I am 60 years old and grew up with Pink Floyd. I was in my 30s when I did JAUP. In my mind I envisioned the pages as Bricks In The Wall, and therefore, "All In All We Are, Just Another Brick In The Wall"."
What do you think of the revival of the site? Should the layout be updated or changed?
"I am glad the appearance has not been altered. It looks just the same now as it was back then. The only thing I would consider doing is start at page 8 and delete all the dead links. They are actually just as old as the page."
No, With all due respect I think those old links will stay as a testament to how popular the site was. Would you ever consider working on the site again?
"When I saw that someone had put it back up I was happy, but for me, I am through.
When I told my wife about it, the only comment she had was "DON"T YOU DARE!"."
Any advice or tips for the New JAUP Master 2.0?
"DONT STOP. I would suggest the JAUPERS section not be revived..., that's when things really got out of control."
The JAUPERS section? I haven't heard of this! It isn't archived, can you tell us about it?
"JAUPERS? Well, when I first started the page I did all the nominations. I would go out and hunt down pages that I wanted to add to the list.
Shortly after it started, there were several of the members asking if they could nominate pages so I started a sort of contest. Those people were called JAUPERS, and they in turn went out and did what I was doing, locating and nominating pages to be JAUPed. However, I still had final say as to which pages made the cut. While almost ALL did, there were several that I simply did not want to have associated with JAUP!
Those didn't make the cut, they were the ones that accused me of NET CENSORSHIP. Like I said, there was some pretty dark sites out there.
There was a separate page with all the JAUPERS listed, and the number of pages each one had JAUPED. If I remember correctly there were a couple that had around 100 JAUPS to their credit.
One time two of the JAUPERS nominated the same page and argued over who would get credit for it!
That part was in a separate folder in the site directory, and may have been lost when the page was archived. The old guest book also had it's own folder and if I remember correctly there were over 400 sigs. in it."
Wow! No I won't be doing that! Thanks for joining us today, any final thoughts?
"This just blows me away!"

What did you think of today's Web 1.0 flashback? Please leave your thoughts in the comment section below!

3 comments:

  1. The search for the lost JAUPERS section begins.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Unfortunately, the Internet Archive's earliest archive of the site is Deccember 6, 1998, shortly after the last update to the site. The JAUPERS section had already de-linked by that time and the archive never spidered it. So, it would have to come from another source, which is very unlikely. :(

      Delete
  2. And thus it continues to the next generation...

    ReplyDelete

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