About the Site
Nowadays, if you want to find a certain type of site, you usually can just type a keyword into a search engine. Back in the early days of the web, however, we didn't have search engines (at least, not ones that were any good) - instead, we had what are known as "web directories". These directories were essentially a long list of links to external websites, usually hand-coded by a single person, and focusing on a niche interest.
So, why create a directory site if people can just use a search engine? Well, while search engines are still useful for finding certain types of content, such as shopping or recent news, a lot of older sites, particularly hand-coded fansites and personal sites, are pushed aside in favour of advertised content on social media. I had also come across various fansites from time to time in my search for other personal sites when I began creating my own on Neocities in January 2019. At first, I placed many of the links that interested me on my personal site's link page, but soon the page got too large, so I started devising a way to showcase these in a more organised manner, and it got me thinking about web directories.
One web directory that I frequented in the late 90s and early 2000s was The Anime Web Turnpike, aka Anipike. Containing over 50, 000 different links to all kinds of anime, manga and Japanese video game sites, its loss in 2014 certainly marked the end of an era for a lot of Web 1.0 anime fans. Thanks to the work of the people at The Internet Archive, most of Classic Anipike's pages are still archived, though the external links to the sites it linked to didn't necessarily work anymore.
Going through the external links, it got me thinking: Just how many of these pages were still active? So, in the summer of 2019, I got to work checking every single link on the latest archived version of Anipike. Amazingly, despite the shutting down of Geocities and other free web hosts, many pages were still available. I also checked other directories such as Curlie, narrowed my searches on google to only pick up sites hosted on places like Tripod, Angelfire, or Neocities, and went through available directories that I was familiar with, such as Amassment, or the Anime Fanlistings Network, adding links from these sites to my own. What started as simple curiosity ended up becoming a massive project to create a new directory for anime, manga, video games and other Japanese pop-culture links.
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More coming soon!