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1995: The Year Everything Changed

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For some of us, this is a crazy blast from a past when the web was the single most exciting thing that had ever happened in our lifetimes. For the rest of you... and if ya don't know, now you know.

Amazing how many things launched in 1995 (Amazon, eBay, Match, Craigslist) and how many things had to wait another decade (Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Reddit).

Consider the following moments, all of which transpired during 1995:

In March, a San Francisco Bay Area software engineer wanted to use email to spread the word about local events to his friends. His name was Craig, he created a list, and...well, you get the idea.

A month later, a San Francisco startup called Electric Classifieds launched a dating service. It cost $9.95 a month, offered useful features such as the ability to submit a photo of yourself via fax, and was known as

In July, after a few months of beta testing, an online merchant headquartered in offices over a Color Tile dealership in Seattle went online. Founded by a former vice president at a Wall Street hedge fund, it specialized in books and—inspired by the world's largest river—called itself

Two months after that, a programmer at famous-but-ill-fated Silicon Valley startup General Magic whipped up software to allow people to auction off items to each other. Originally named AuctionWeb, it was part of his personal site, which also offered information about the ebola virus:

You get the idea? In 1994, the web had been around for three years, but was still the province of early-adopter types. (Yahoo, for instance, was still a college side project, not a company.) But by the end of 1995, it was recognizable as a rough draft of the mass-market medium we know today, and some of the most important sites of 2015 were on their way to changing the world.

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