Before the Abuzz iPhone app, there was another Abuzz – a community site run by The New York Times. You can check out a snapshot of the old site here, courtesy of the Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine.
Two things come to mind:
- I will never get to own the Abuzz domain – The New York Times still has it on lockdown until 2012 and I doubt they’ll be surrendering it after that.
- How ahead of its time was this site?
Launched in 1999, the NYT Abuzz site was “social networking” before sites like Myspace and Facebook took center stage. There was a question/answer format (similar to Yahoo! Answers or Mahalo Answers), a discussion section (which isn’t that original – forums and USENET were around for years) and section for publishing commentary, such as book reviews, reactions to news stories, and so on.
On top of that, the site attempted what many sites are still trying to do today – filter information and deliver only what it thinks will be relevant to you. Pretty amazing stuff.
As you can see here, the site shut down on September 2, 2004, citing limited resources. The fact that the NYT has held on to the domain name long afterwards means they think the domain is a valuable asset (I agree). Do they have plans to utilize it in the future? Who knows. If not, and if anyone at the Times is reading this, I’ll gladly take it off your hands. ;)