The Early Days of the Internets

This made me laugh. Our editor at Arkansas Business, Gwen Moritz, found this article she wrote in 1995 (a month after I graduated high school, I was happy to point out) about how lawyers were beginning to use the “World Wide Web,” or “W3,” to market themselves worldwide.

Some choice excerpts:

Despite a deluge of newspaper, magazine and television reports and new computer programming that make cyberspace as easily accessible as a cable television station, the Internet remains a mystery to many Americans. It is a vast exploding worldwide network of computers and the information they contain are carried by telephone and data transmission lines.While some businesses – including Boult, Cummings – are linked directly and constantly to other Internet host computers, smaller businesses generally use a local Internet provider. Siskind has a dedicated data line from Telalink attached directly to the computer at his desk, making accessing the Internet as easy as changing from one computer program to another. Cheaper and only a little more troublesome is the use of dial-up services such as The Nashville Exchange and The Sounds of Silence (local) or America Online, Prodigy, or Compuserve (national). These are accessed using a modem and telephone line.

The Web, or W3, is a research system based on “hypertext” – highlighted text (usually blue or purple) that is linked to other documents. The reader, using various programs called “Web browser,” finds a “home page” that is of interest. A home page is the doorway of information, generally containing one or more graphics and introductory material with hypertext scattered throughout. To read more about a topic of interest, the reader simply points the computer cursor at the hypertext and clicks the mouse button.

Moses, the Telalink consultant with whom Siskind works, says a basic but effective Web site can be created and posted on the Internet for about $1,500 in start-up costs and $150 a month in maintenance fees. More elaborate sites would carry additional costs. But Siskind says the price is a bargain, considering all the perks that go along with Internet marketing. For example, he can get a periodic report on exactly how many people have accessed his home page (762 during a single week in April) and relatively detailed demographic information on those readers.

Siskind is looking in new directions as well. He is exploring the use of the Internet for teleconferencing, which he says can be done for no more than about $500 in equipment and programming. And he is also optimistic about the use of InternetPhone, a program that allows the transmission of voice calls over the Internet without the expense of long-distance telephone charges.

My how things have changed.

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