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How Your Favorite Sites Looked On Launch Day | ThoughtLab

What Your Favorite Websites Looked Like Before They Were Your Favorite Websites

by Brandon Wright September 26, 2016
Design, Marketing

There's nothing quite like the Timehop feature on Facebook to remind you how incredibly awkward you truly used to be. Since the internet has deemed it acceptable to remind us of all our past mistakes (why did I think dying my hair black was cool?), we have taken it upon ourselves to point out that some of the highly refined, A/B tested internet behemoths of today, used to be not so polished in their beginning.


CNN (2000)

The shocking thing about CNN isn't how different the design is, but how similar the headlines are.

Vintage, old screenshot of CNN's homepage Aug 15, 2000


Linkedin (2003)

Launched in 2003, it took several ex PayPal, and SocialNet employees six months to build. Today the juggernaut boasts 400 million users! Back then, gaining 20 users per day, Linkedin was a bit more modest.

Original Linkedin Homepage


Reddit (2005)

This is the only example we could find of a website that looked better 10 years ago. 

Original Homepage of Reddit


IMDB (1996)

The oldest website on this list, dating back to 1990, this site has come a long way since its inception. This particular screenshot is from 1996. 

Original, IMDB homepage from 1996


Facebook (2004)

Ah, the inspiration for this post! It makes me giddy too know that Facebook also had its awkward teenage years.

Original Facebook homepage from 2004


Craigslist (1995)

No surprises here! Craigslist has waited so long to do a redesign that their brand of vintage is almost endearing.

Homepage of Craigslist from 1995


AirBNB (2008)

A far cry from where it is today, Airbnb isn't new to good, and bad design. Here is the first draft of the now infamous hotel killer.

Screenshot of the first Airbnb homepage from 2008


Youtube (2005)

When looking at the original inception of Youtube it isn't hard to see the influence Google played in the design. A stark white background, logo, and search bar. Everything you need, and nothing you don't. Maybe that's why Google quickly bought Youtube less than two years after the service launched.

Youtube homepage in 2005


Amazon (1998)

Humble beginnings for the worlds largest ecommerce site.

An image showing Amazon's humble beginings in 1998. A screenshot of the original Amazon homepage.


Netflix (2002)

In the early days Netflix had an affinity for terrible stock photos.

An image showing the original homepage for Netflix when it launched in 2002


That concludes our list of terribly awesome websites. If you'd like to explore the web of yesteryear yourself checkout The Wayback Machine. Likewise, if you'd like to take your own website out of the stone ages we'd love to hear from you.

Next: Business and Personal Web Design - Brushing Up on the Basics