Today, April 20, marks the 9th birthday of ReadWriteWeb. Much has changed since 2003! The World Wide Web was not very mobile or social back then. There were no smartphones or mobile Internet (and no I don’t consider WAP as proper Internet!). There was no Facebook, or even MySpace. Twitter was a few years away. The iPad was a full 7 years away. But all of those amazing developments are why ReadWriteWeb exists: to experiment with and explore the latest in Web technology. There’s no way I could’ve foreseen Twitter or the iPad, back in April 2003. But I, along with my super smart colleagues at ReadWriteWeb, have had a wonderful time discovering those and other new tools, platforms, apps and websites over the past 9 years.

Usually we’re all about exploring the new and trying to explain the future, but in this post I’ll allow myself some nostalgia. Here’s a look back at ReadWriteWeb’s history.

Like a self-titled debut album, the first post on April 20, 2003 was simply titled The Read/Write Web. The first words I wrote were: “The World Wide Web in 2003 is beginning to fulfil the hopes that Tim Berners-Lee had for it over 10 years ago when he created it.”

When I started in April 2003, ReadWriteWeb sported the default template of Dave Winer’s blogging software Radio Userland.

Like many enthusiast bloggers, then and now, I started out doing everything myself – including the design work. The first proper design I did was in September 2003 and it was, believe it or not, green.

Even greener! The version below is circa May, 2004. Not my best tagline work…

This version is an iteration from January, 2005 and featured giant pencils. Those were from one of my favorite artists, John Baldessari and his exhibition READ/WRITE/THINK/DREAM (not where I got the name of the blog btw, that is explained in the debut RWW post).

RWW went red sometime around November 2005 – and that’s been our color ever since. The image below is a later iteration of this:

The foundation of our current design went live over Christmas 2007:

For posterity, here is today’s homepage design. And yes we will be doing a re-design this year, thanks to the amazing designers at SAY Media.

Thank you to all our readers, sponsors and supporters over the years. It continues to amaze me how many great people I meet through blogging, all over the world!