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October 15th, 2001

World Birthday Web

Way back in 1995 I first entered my name on Thomas Boutell‘s World Birthday Web. Boutell is best known for his wusage log file analysis program and his imagemap MapEdit! program, but the WBW was also pretty popular. The idea behind it was this: send your name, e-mail address, web site, and birthday and it would be posted to the World Birthday Web for the world to see. I did so, and every year on my birthday, I’d get 10, 15, even 30 happy birthday wishes from people around the world. Occasionally one of the well-wishers would mention a web page of their own they’d like me to look at, but they were always personal sites and never commerical sites looking for free advertising. Most of the times, people would send a form letter, but occasionally, I’d get a happy birthday from someone that checked out my web site through the WBW and comment on it. All in all, it was just kind of nice to have a box full of “happy birthday” wishes each year from random people.

This year my birthday came and went and I realized my e-mail was missing these random greetings I had grown used to. So I checked it out and was distraught to find out that the WBW is no more. There’s no real explanation offered, but I guess he got tired of the upkeep and perhaps spam was becoming a problem.

In any event, it’s one of the great pieces of “the original Web” that I’m going to miss. -ram

Posted in Technology

FROM: Paul
DATE: Monday October 15, 2001 -- 10:09:35AM
Indeed, Ryan, I was just thinking about this the other day, and it's one of the things I miss as well.

It was such a mind-blowing idea... strangers sending birthday wishes without ads! Today, they'd all be HTML emails with banner ads on the top and bottom.

FROM: Robert
DATE: Monday October 15, 2001 -- 12:13:14PM
I suspect this Ping is just a ploy to get people to wish you a happy birthday!

FROM: Ryan
DATE: Sunday June 2, 2002 -- 10:19:26 pm
Good news: the WBW is back!

FROM: mitch
DATE: Thursday December 15, 2005 -- 6:55:28 am
it's almost 2006 and I stumbled across the WBW on Boutell's site. it looks as though it is there, but is it still active?

FROM: lol
DATE: Thursday April 27, 2006 -- 6:01:44 am
u sad bastard y wud u want sum1 u dont know to wish you a happy b day

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