The world wide web is constantly evolving. Shopping online has become easier and browsing the web on the toilet now means websites are mobile friendly. These changes mean the web of today looks very different to what it looked like ten years ago. You can view some of the world’s biggest websites like Reddit and how they looked back ten on Ten Years Ago.
But what about the most popular Irish sites?
I did some digging to find Ireland’s most popular sites and then travelled back in time to 2007.
Most Popular Irish Sites of 2007
RTÉ is actually one of the leaders in Ireland when it comes to innovation. They’re the reason we’re only second to market in Ireland with an Amazon Flash News Brief Skill. Back in 2007, their site was pretty tidy, already offering catch-up TV services and pushing RSS feeds. Really interesting to see how their brand colours and logo hasn’s changed dramatically in recent years.
How social media hasn’t killed boards.ie is beyond me. Don’t get me wrong, I love Boards and it has a most amazing community feel to it. The site only got a makeover recently, but before that, the site of 2007 was pretty much the site of today. Given the purpose of Boards, it really doesn’t need to look fancy.
DoneDeal was pretty unashamed to look like a car-boot sale back in the day. Dare I say they even sank to the level of using puppies and kittens to lure people in. Have they no shame? Today, DoneDeal is much slicker, with an eBay feel to their site.
Telecoms Sites of 2007
There’s an extra tinge of sadness seeing the old Meteor site. Meteor was the network that paved the way for parents being able to afford phones for their kids. You could even argue that in 2007, the site’s design was way ahead of its time. The extra sadness, of course, comes as Meteor is set to be merged into the eir brand and vanish from the Irish telecoms scene.
If I was to pick out a modern website that’s a bit crap, I’d probably pick out Vodafone’s current site. Even with some recent updates, Vodafone has yet to really modernise from what was another fairly advanced site in 2007. Regardless, how exciting is it to travel back in time and see the Motorola V3 flip phone. What a beauty.
Ah yes, the one you always forget. They’ve been around for years, but still you only think of them because you’re passing a Carphone Warehouse store. Their website back in 2007 was pretty tidy. Today it’s decent too, though their ability to sell online is extremely limited compared to their UK counterparts. That’s set to get worse now too with iD Mobile leaving the Irish market.
Travel Sites of 2007
Do you remember that episode of The Simpsons where Homer sets up a website? Yeah, Ryanair’s website felt like that back in 2007. All they’re missing is a flying toaster. Today, Ryanair is still focused on upselling, but they’re much smarter about that, keeping most of their offerings to when you’re checking in.
I recently took an Aer Lingus flight and honestly, it’s not very different to Ryanair. When you look at the Aer Lingus site of 2007 and compare it with Ryanair’s, they both went after a similar look too. What this really shows is the importance of brand for the two companies as people think they’re completely different when really they’re not.
Banking Sites of 2007
Bank of Ireland
By comparison, AIB was all over delivering a great web experience ten years ago. Some forgivable use of stock images aside, their site was functional but also nice to look at.
Today, Permanent TSB has the most modern looking website in Ireland. Back in 2007, they were behind AIB in design but miles ahead of Bank of Ireland. It was pretty cool that you could personalise your card back then too, a feature that continues today.
How Is All This Possible
In the early years of the internet, the vast majority of the web was disposable. What I mean by this is, websites were being created and vanishing fairly regularly. This posed unique problems for people trying to get important info from sites that shut down years ago.
Seeing the risks and problems a disposable web, the Internet Archive was founded in 2001 to record the web in a series of snapshots. Today, you can travel back in time through their “Wayback Machine” and see what the web used to look like.