Happy birthday world wide web, turns 21 today.

Buy your internet a drink today, the WWW as we know it officially turns 21 today. The drink should probably be "assisted suicide", that's Everclear, Jagermeister and Jolt Cola served as a shooter and it'll make you gag in a fashion that sounds reminiscent to the brrr-DING-DING-TWANG we oldies know and still hate.

See, it was August 6, 1991, at a CERN facility in the Swiss Alps that Tim Berners-Lee published the first-ever website, which was a helpful page on how to use HTML and the WWW. You can see a later copy of that page here the 1992 version, which had a few more helpful links on it.

Just three years later, ads hit the web. We celebrated banner ads tenth birthday and the banners ads fifteenth birthday right here. These days when most of our lives are on the web, and the mobile web thanks to smartphones, advertising and brands have their own channels, pages, fans, social media personalities and yes... banners. Still. Has anyone clicked one yet?

Trivia about that banner ad: The "Have you ever clicked your mouse right HERE?" ad was created for Modem Media/AT&T by TANGENT Design/Communications of Westport, CT.

Frank D'Angelo :

Four of our then-clients placed ad banners as part of that first campaign, MCI, Volvo, Club Med and 1-800-Collect. (The other two advertisers were AT&T and Zima.) Keep in mind, this was 1994; the first graphical web browser, Mosaic, was less than a year old (soon to be replaced by Netscape Explorer), and Web access? Purely dial-up, 24.4kps if you were lucky, meaning these ads took a while to load. The online U.S. population? Two million, if that.
These "original six" were the first brands to take a leap of faith and place advertising in the unchartered "cyberspace" territory. But several didn't know they were taking it until after the fact. Corporate America was still largely unfamiliar with the graphical web, so we didn't even try to sell the concept. We decided to commit agency media and development dollars to place client banner ads on HotWired without clients' prior consent or knowledge. The way he saw it was if they liked it, they would be happy to pay us and if not, that was OK too; but at least the agency would get a running start at exploring this new exciting medium that was on course to change all of our (professional) lives.

about the author

Dabitch Creative Director, CEO, hell-raising sweetheart and editor of Adland. Globetrotting Swede who has lived and worked in New York, London, San Francisco, Amsterdam, Copenhagen and Stockholm.