I was surprised to find that the Internet Archive is the 52nd most visited English language site on the Internet. Why? What is so interesting there? O.K. Vanitysurfing. It is fun to check out all the incarnations of the SAP’s main Webpage from 1996, or did you know that in 1996 SAP was using a Buster Keaton image? But vanity surfing gets old real quick, so what else are people doing?
A Google search gives you the present, or better the status from their last crawl. The Internet Archive gives you snapshots of moments in time and you can derive history from it and use it to your advantage.
I talked to a successful entrepreneur who just sold his company and is about to start the next one, and he told me he used the Archive all the time very successfully as a sales tool. Example: “Our company is doing Web services for 4 years now and check the competition’s site in the Archive. Only half a year ago they were a pure Web page hosting site. Also, their last CTO left three months ago; do you really want to put your money where the brain behind the technology is gone?”
The Internet Archive can tell stories, it is like an old attic, a searchable, readable attic where you can puzzle the past together like never before.
P.S. During my vanity surfing I found a long-gone online store that I once built as a Christmas present for my father. A display for the jewelry that he creates out of stainless steel since he is retired. I was very happy to rediscover that site. See him in action in his Werkstatt. The only sad thing is, that no pictures of his creations have made it into the archive. So please excuse me while I post a small one here, in the hope that it will make it this time around to eternity 🙂