GeoURL and deviantART

On August 9th, 2003, many GeoURL users might have noticed a large influx of websites from deviantART. And for a lot of deviantART users, they probably noticed the benefits of GeoURL. How did this all start? A recap might be in order:

GeoURL is a location-to-URL reverse directory. This will allow you to find URLs by their proximity to a given location. Find your neighbor’s blog, perhaps, or the web page of the restaurants near you.

deviantART provides a central location for graphical artists to display their creations for feedback and exposure. It’s also an online art community for artists and art lovers to interact in a variety of ways.

Each of the thousands and thousands of registered users at deviantART receive a free userpage, which includes a current listing of artwork submitted (”deviations”), a blog (”journal”), an internal intra-site messaging system (”notes”), and many other features.

Friday, August 8th, 2003
deviantART completely and radically revamps their website. This was months in the making, and included an overhaul of the backend and a move to an XHTML 1.1 and CSS design. One of the new features included was the addition of adding GeoURL geographic coordinates.

Screenshot of deviantART's user settings page

The site was officially launched. But nothing happened yet at GeoURL. That’s because users were limited from logging in until the next day.

Saturday, August 9th, 2003
Users were greeted with a new geographic coordinates setting (this along with another three pages of various settings). Users were able to type in their longtitude and latitude coordinates, and in exchange, deviantART would post the required meta tags and ping GeoURL. In effect, thousands of deviantART members who logged in that day, from around the world, entered their coordinates and created a non-stop flow of pings into GeoURL.

Screenshot of GeoURL on Aug 9th

While it seemed like deviantART was pumping coordinates like a some sort of spamming machine based on bulk user location profiles, each listed deviantART userpage on GeoURL was effectively entered by an individual user who went to Maporama and found out his or her own coordinates. It still boggles my mind that each “recently updated site” was a deviantART user who just figured out the whole GeoURL thing in semi-real-time. And it’s facinating to see the list of nearby cities from deviantART’s large member base.

As a deviantART user, I’ve found and talked to several members that I would have never known. There’s even one deviantART member who lives 0 miles away from me. So yes, I’ve met a bunch of new people who not only live near me, but who are also artists.

As a blogger, I have mixed feelings. It really did feel like deviantART was bombarding GeoURL. And sometimes, I miss seeing independent blogs, rather than rows and rows of deviantART members. There have been some good changes though, as GeoURL’s Joshua Schachter says that “deviantART and other bulk URLs are still being loaded, but they are not being shown on the front page“. And in the future, I’m sure more (blogging and non-blogging) sites will feature GeoURL features. Maybe we’ll even see AOL’s blog-like Journals with this feature as well. But all in all, it has been a beautiful thing, and I’m glad that Joshua’s been able to handle the load and accept all these new deviantART sites.

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