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What AmazingRibs.com looked like in 2005

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    What AmazingRibs.com looked like in 2005

    I use the Internet Archive's site (Archive.org) fairly frequently as part of my work, but it didn't occur to me until today to see if it had cached any of the early versions of AmazingRibs.com. Turns out, it did.

    The first cache is from July 27, 2005. Sadly, like many of Archive.org's early caches, it is missing images and only caught the main page. (It was 2005, after all.)

    AmazingRibs.com is all about America's favorite food, barbecue ribs, smoked, dripping with sauce Kansas City style or crunchy with rub Memphis style, with recipes from around the world and tips on techniques to make your ribs the best on the block. Everything you need to know to make the world's best pork ribs and sides.


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    Meathead's conversational writing style that we all enjoy is fully evident...including those wonderful little anecdotes, both personal and historical. While it makes sense given the name, the early versions on the sites were very much focused on ribs and it appears the site was designed to support and promote the upcoming book, which had the unassuming working title of "Amazing Ribs."

    Meathead has always taken user privacy as seriously as he can, and I found it very noteworthy that he had a Privacy Promise prominently featured, even on these very early sites. (2005 was right near the end of height of companies selling user lists back and forth.)

    The next cached version of the site is from May 11, 2006, and we get some images and a new menu. It is really cool how much of the original versions remain to this day. Here's the 2006 site with the recipe menu expanded so you can see the original AmazingRibs recipes.

    AmazingRibs.com is all about your favorite food: ribs. Finger licking recipes and tips for making them barbecued, smoky, and crunchy, Memphis style; saucy, Kansas City style; mustardy, South Carolina style; spicy, Texas style; Chinese; Mexican; and more. Everything you need to make the world's best ribs.


    Also, is it too late to get my free bottle of sauce?

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    Here's the link if you want to spend more time than you should browsing the cached copies (there are 1,660 of them): https://web.archive.org/web/*/http://amazingribs.com/

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    Here is perhaps my favorite from the really early days. Meathead was doing clickbait before clickbait was cool. From the 2007 version of the site:

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    #2
    How fun seeing the evolution. I am a "font junkie" and the early fonts! OMG!

    Comment


    • Huskee
      Huskee commented
      Editing a comment
      I get a 50's diner vibe from the original AmazingRibs.com rocket script font.

    • Mr. Bones
      Mr. Bones commented
      Editing a comment
      Definitely a Font Junkie, probly have 4-5000 fonts saved on puters, here...

    #3
    Very cool!! Hope MH weighs in with an anecdote or two.

    Comment


      #4
      By Craig "Meathead" Goldwyn. Mr. Meathead to you & me, yessir!

      Comment


        #5
        "Add to my AOL" I was going to laugh at this because I had no idea AOL still exists. The joke's on me, I guess.

        Comment


          #6
          Amazing Ribs...

          Comment


            #7
            Very cool to see this!

            Comment


              #8
              Wow, what a trip down memory lane!

              I built the site thinking I would write a book about ribs because there was none and only one or two BBQ books. I thought it could be sorta crowd sourced. Nowadays there are a dozen new BBQ books every year. The crowd sourcing concept is still with me. I hope to bear down on my next book this year and plan to share content in The Pit for feedback.

              In those early days the site was a one man show. I did the writing photography and even the html. The site was ribs and pork. I used an early tool called GoLive that was later acquired by Adobe and they killed it in favor of Dreamweaver, an inferior tool. I switched to DW then, and in 2017 we switched the free site to Drupal, a move that almost killed us financially. Since then we have spent $400,000+ on infrastructure. We had been profitable every year til then. We moved to WordPress in April 2021 and I think we finally have programming expenses under control. The Pit is built on vBulletin. We should have all our loans paid off by June.

              I must also take credit/blame for the design including the ORANGE and the cartoony fonts. Today we have about a dozen people working full or part time on the site. But I still work from home, a modest brick bungalow in the Chicago burbs, although I am on my 4th office chair.

              I'm flattered you like my writing "style." I just type what's on my mind. Kinda effortless for me.

              Yes, privacy is an underpinning. We have never sold our mailing lists or anything of the sort. Also separation of editorial and advertising. No sponsored content. I'm an old school journalism major out of step with the times.

              As for AOL, I joined Steve Case in the 90s when AOL was just getting started and set up his Food & Drink network. I even hosted Julia in her first online appearance. AOL grew to the point where it became a giant and even acquired TIME Inc including TIME magazine, Sports Illustrated, et al. AOL's decline is a cautionary tale for Mark Zuckerberg.

              And I don't recall what the free bottle of sauce offer was.

              Comment


              • Meathead
                Meathead commented
                Editing a comment
                I should also add that neither I nor any of my team is allowed to endorse products or accept junkets.

              #9
              It is fascinating to recall how our use of the net has evolved. I had a convo the other day with someone about how when we did a site for our business in the late '90s it was considered "high tech" just to be on the web. It was enough just to have some pictures of the building and the operations areas inside with a brief description of things and a mission statement. Customer expectations have changed a lot in 25 years............

              Comment


                #10
                Wow! Thanks for the ride in the Wayback Machine Sherman!

                Comment


                • Michael_in_TX
                  Michael_in_TX commented
                  Editing a comment
                  I am just barely old enough to catch this reference.

                • SheilaAnn
                  SheilaAnn commented
                  Editing a comment
                  Michael_in_TX

                  The WABAC (Wayback) Machine is a fictional machine from the cartoon segment "Peabody's Improbable History", a recurring feature of the 1960s cartoon series The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show. The WABAC Machine is a plot device used to transport the characters Mr. Peabody and Sherman back in time to visit important events in human history. Within the Peabody's Improbable History cartoon segment, the machine was constructed by Mr. Peabody, a professorial, bow tie-wearing dog, as a birthday gift for She

                #11
                This was a cool thing to see..

                Comment


                  #12
                  I think Meathead regrets ever putting his first name out there!

                  Comment


                  • Meathead
                    Meathead commented
                    Editing a comment
                    Yes, I do. It dilutes the brand.

                  • FireMan
                    FireMan commented
                    Editing a comment
                    Awwwwww, Mr. Meathead. Did yer momma call ya Craig? We won’t if ya want us to. 🕶

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