16 People Recall Mysteries From The Early Internet That Remain Unsolved

If you’re a person of a certain age, there’s a good chance some stuff went down during the early days of the internet that you still can’t explain.

Some of them are personal mysteries and others live in our collective past, but either way, we’d all still really like answers to these 16 outstanding questions.

16. Tell us, ok?!

The truth about Icy Hot Stunnaz.

15. If it does, I wouldn’t open it.

Will my bonsai kitten ever arrive in the mail?

14. We’re just concerned.

Has anyone checked on the Numa Numa guy?!

Is he okay?! I have to know he’s doing okay!

13. If you know, you know.


12. Technology, man.

Do animated gifs keep moving when you don’t look at them?

In a similar vein, video games only render what you can see which means that things you are not looking at are at a lower state of existence than things you are looking at.

11. It’ll blow your mind.

It’s not so much a “mystery” because Yahoo!’s history has been analyzed by tech journalists, pundits and laypeople/end-users alike, but…

It still amazes me how the company that was once the top dog in multiple areas of the Internet fell off by other companies, mainly Google, basically stealing its thunder.


Yahoo! Maps: Around the turn of the century, before most people had even basic GPS units, printed directions from Mapquest or Yahoo! Maps ruled the passenger seat of every vehicle on US roadways (and elsewhere). Google basically came in and blew them both out of the water, while also not being afraid to go head-to-head with GPS giants Magellan, TomTom and Garmin with the rise of smart phones and ability to provide its own turn-by-turn directions.

Yahoo! Mail: Everybody I knew had a Yahoo! mail account back in the late 1990s, when I was finishing up high school and moving on to college. Sure, there were a few other domains out there, but Yahoo! mail was by far (at the time) the most feature-rich. GMail presented itself as this mysterious new thing that everybody “wanted” to have because when they first started you literally had to be invited by a friend/relative (thanks, cousin!). GMail was nothing special when it started, but Google put in the time and effort into building up its user base through increasingly helpful features and better UI while Yahoo! Mail seemed permanently stuck in 2001. There was a decently major tweak when they switched to a more Java(??)-based format, but by then the damage was done and people like me were letting their Yahoo! accounts languish.

Yahoo! Groups: Before Facebook Groups there was Yahoo! Groups–places to share pictures and ideas/commentary. Certain groups even had gatekeepers and regular moderation. Again, the issue was lack of interest in innovation: Yahoo! Groups couldn’t possibly compete with Facebook’s user-friendly UI (or every-increasing massive user base); and, last I checked, is all but phased out now.

Yahoo! Search: Same story as Yahoo! Maps, enough said. Top dog into the early 2000s. Steam-rolled by Google’s more user-friendly UI and ever-expanding indexing.

10. You might not want to know the answer.

Are my neopets still alive?

9. Earworm incoming.

What happened to Hampsterdance.com?

it’s actually a sped-up clip from “Whistle-Stop”, the song that plays over the opening credits to the Disney Robin Hood film from 1973.

8. Don’t hold your breath.

When will we get our Zombo.com newsletter?

Man, zombo.com was the weirdest website. Literally anything was possible on zombo! Way ahead of its time.

7. Forever thankful.

Online since 95. Pour one out for ICQ and yahoo games room. Forever thankful there is no trace of my livejournal.

It’s true, his spoon was too big.

6. The man in the moon.

How the hell did my AOL kids account know which websites were/were not safe in a dial-up era…and why was dragon fable always flagged 🙁

5. I can’t stop laughing.

Whether or not you can work out 4x a week, every week, by going to the gym every other day.

4. No one knows.

So what happened if you managed to actually punch the monkey in that banner ad?

Did you win something?

3. It don’t matter.

Ninjas or Pirates?

It don’t matter all the pie that I got

I’m still I’m still Weebl this is Bob

I got a donkey that I love a lot

And I wanna be a ninja (pirate)!

2. Where indeed?

Rotten dot com, it’s paid up until 2030, but doesn’t exist anymore. Where has the owner gone?

1. We just need to know.

The identity of John Titor

The identity of Goatse and Tubgirl

What happened to the Radium Crew

I mean, it was a whole different world. One that’s really hard to explain to anyone under the age of 30.

Did anything weird happen to you during the early days of the internet? Share your story with us in the comments!