Today is the twentieth anniversary of Boing Boing in its current incarnation. It looked like this in 2000.
Here's a brief history of Boing Boing, which actually goes back 33 years.
Carla and I conceived of it as a print zine in 1987. The first issue of bOING bOING came out in 1988. We printed 100 copies on a Xerox machine. I sent a copy to Factsheet Five, which was a zine that reviewed zines. Based on the review that ran in Factsheet Five, we sold all the copies. We also got an order from a newsstand distributor for 100 copies of the next issue. So we printed 200 copies of the second issue, sending 100 to the distributor and 100 to people sending $3 cash to us in the mail. We basically followed a Moore’s law style growth curve. The final issue of bOING bOING, number 15, had a print run of 17,500. Unfortunately it was our last print issue because our two major newsstand distributors went bankrupt, owing us tens of thousands of dollars.
In 1995 I was an editor at Wired and one of my friends who worked at Hotwired, the magazine's online spinoff, registered boingboing.com for us and we started running occasional articles on the website.
In 2000 I wrote an article for a magazine called the Industry Standard, about web logs. To learn about how web logs worked, I got a Blogger account and started posting things on boingboing.net (I forgot to register boingboing.com so a design firm with the same name took it).
The first item I posted to Boing Boing was on January 21, 2000, 20 years ago today. My early blog posts didn’t have headlines or photos. The posts were just links and short descriptions to things that I found interesting.
One of the first people to discover the blog was Cory Doctorow, and he would send me lots of ideas of things to write about. After a few months I asked Cory if he would like to have an account on Boing Boing and post directly. He agreed, and I was surprised to see him post seven or eight or more items every day. This was an order of magnitude more than I had been posting. I typically posted two or three items a week!
As a result of Cory's prolific posting, the traffic shot through the roof. Soon after that my friend and a bOING bOING print zine editor, David Pescovitz joined, and shortly after that Xeni Jardin became one of our editors as well. A few years later Rob Beschizza joined as an editor and Jason Weisberger came on board as publisher. Carla, the cofounder of bOING bOING magazine also writes and edits for Boing Boing. Another bOING bOING editor, Gareth Branwyn continues to write for us. And Ken Snider keeps the whole thing running with his exemplary technical chops.
It's incredible to me that Boing Boing still has the original band line-up. I’m always excited to see what my co-editors post every day, and Boing Boing remains my favorite place on the Web, because I love their points of view. Even when I don’t agree with what they have to say 100% of the time, I always find what they have to say interesting and worthy of consideration. Carla and I would like to thank Cory, David, Gareth, Jason, Rob, and Xeni for joining us on what has become a life journey. We'd also like to thank everyone who has been reading Boing Boing over the decades, because your interest in what we do is what motivates us to keep this up.