Twenty-one years ago, in 1995, the Internet only had 10 million active users. Only 35 million people used email.
To most Americans, the Internet was a strange thing they’d been hearing more about in media and in movies like Sandra Bullock’s 1995 thriller, “The Net.”
In February 1996, Morgan Stanley analysts Mary Meeker and Chris DePuy wrote a massive, 322-page report arguing that that would soon change. They wrote, “the market for Internet-related products and services appears to be growing more rapidly than the early emerging markets for print publishing, telephony, film, radio, recorded music, television, and personal computers.”
For about 200 pages, the report examines the growth of the Internet and which companies and industries would benefit from it.
Then, at the end of the report, there’s a section called “Morgan Stanley’s Cool Sites — 500 Channels & Everything’s On.”
It’s a list of 110 sites that were accessible via the Web or your AOL account.
It is nostalgic bliss.
Here’s how Meeker and DePuy introduced the section:
So you want to “surf the Net,” but it’s your first time and you’re not quite sure if it’s legal in this country to have a URL, and the last time you heard the word “Yahoo” was when your grandfather’s favourite baseball team won the pennant. It is very likely that somewhere out there on the Internet is everything you wanted to know, plus a whole lot of other stuff that would seem really interesting if you knew it existed. So whether it’s your first time, or you’ve “been there, done that,” we have organised this section into what we consider to be the most important, highly useful, and, simply put, coolest cool sites on the Internet.
If you’re 30 or older, you’ll remember a lot of the sites. If you’re 30 or younger, you’ll look at most of the sites and wonder why anybody bothered.
There are a few sites on this list, however, that show how much promise the Internet held, even so early on.