I think it’s fantastic that our marketplaces hit a million members this week. That’s progress! It took over four years to accumulate our first half million members, and less than a year to double it. Incredible!
But Envato’s marketplaces had much smaller beginnings. It all started with one fledgling site with much fewer members: FlashDen (now ActiveDen).
The Internet Archive’sis an amazing resource. It basically allows you to travel back in time and see your favorite websites the way they were back in the good old days. This afternoon I spent some time there exploring FlashDen.
Below you’ll see some screenshots of how FlashDen looked over the years. Unfortunately some versions are rendered very poorly, and I’ve left them out. Others aren’t perfect, but we still get a great idea of how the site developed since 2006.
So put on your sneakers and jump in your time machine. Here is FlashDen through the years!
Here is the Beta version of FlashDen. With few members and few items, the front page aimed to explain the site’s purpose and encourage new members.
Notice the fox tail has been there from the beginning. Also prominent is the idea of training – “Tutorial Central” is already there in the left menu.
A month later we’re out of beta. The “Join FlashDen” button has been moved to the side, and items and tutorials take center stage. I love the heading given to the forums: “Blah blah blah”.
Eight months later the layout remains the same, but advertising has started to appear in the left-hand pane. It’s great to see Scott Wills being featured that month. Scott joined FlashDen in the very early days, and has been climbing the ladder ever since.
After that, the design changed several times. Unfortunately the Wayback Machine was unable to render the sites properly. This version of FlashDen was much brighter, with a Web 2.0 style. Although the thumbnails of the recent files can’t be viewed here, it’s great to see them taking such a prominent place.
Alas, FlashDen needed to change its name to ActiveDen – many of you know the story. Here is the first version of the landing page which warned of the change.
A few months later the landing page had received a few changes. That domain is ours no longer. Today if you visit it all you get is a 404.
To complete the picture, here is ActiveDen today.
How did you enjoy that tour through history? It’s incredible to see so much growth and change over Envato’s first site’s brief history.
If you’d like to continue the tour on your own, check out FlashDen.net on the Wayback Machine.