DolphinSafe.gov. CouldIHaveLupus.gov. GovGab.gov. These were real, registered websites at one time until they were terminated. In some cases—take CyberSafe.gov or Americorpse.gov for example—it’s easy to see why.
Thanks to some digging by a MuckRock user named Dean Triplett, a full list of terminated URLs is now available online. It doesn’t go back all the way, which made me think it might not contain all that many old-school gems. But it certainly does—and it’s a testament to how much has changed about the internet in the past few years. I combed through the list and searched for some of the original sites using the Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine.
Most of the sites return nothing, but in some cases there are still plenty of deliciously terrible web design and awkward stockphotos. At the same time, it’s also easy to find a remnants of policy-making in the early days of the “War on Terror.” I’ve listed a few of the most interesting archaeological specimens below. [MuckRock]
Here’s what Technology.gov looked like in 2003. 2003!
USBorderPatrol.gov, put up in 1999 and taken down in 2011. Unfortunately, the “NASCAR fans click here” link is now dead.
Welcome 2 GirlPower.gov, circa 2001!
DefendAmerica.gov, launched in 2002, included some timely info on Donald Rumsfeld’s legal argument for holding detainees.
Did you know the US Forest Service has an official old-timey string band—with a keen eye for old-timey design flourishes and Papyrus? Welcome to FiddlinForesters.gov.
The government should think seriously about re-instating this site. I stared at this page for a good two minutes. The broken images and file names only make it funnier.
LifeAndLiberty.gov, circa 2003. Yikes.
Welcome to FruitsAndVeggiesMoreMatters.gov, because I guess Don’tForgetToEatAllYourFruitsAndVeggiesStayHealthyOutThere.gov was taken.
GlobalWarming.gov, seen here in 2009, “moved to www.globalchange.gov” in 2012.
WMD.gov, which appeared in 2004, disappeared in early 2009.
“2008, Year of the Frog, is a leap year,” explain the webmasters at FrogWeb.gov. “Facing the amphibian decline crisis, it’s also the year to leap to action to conserve amphibians.”
Are you a new appointee to the Bush administration circa 2002? Results.gov is going to be an invaluable resource to you as you get settled in!