1996: Ancient Fun With Websites

In 1996, my Rella Good Cheese Co. was still known as “Sharon’s Finest,” the company on the Inc. 500 in 1993. Rella then spawned HempRella and Hempeh Burger in 1994, then The Hemp Corporation, then HempNut, Inc. in 1996. I call it Continuous Improvement as applied to Branding. Web sites were fairly new back then, and consumers were not as jaded about them as they are today.

          Remember the 1995 movie “The Net,” starring Sandra Bullock?

          Recall how the screen would do all this stuff and then land on some secret thing? It was triggered by clicking on the Pi (Π) symbol at the bottom of the screen.

          Well, on rella.com, we recreated that, as an inside joke. A Π symbol all by itself way at bottom, click on it and a half-dozen brightly-colored pages with random alphanumerics would load lasting about 3 seconds each, then land you on CIA.gov. Among the random characters on each page was a dozen “BUY TOFURELLA,” our flagship product.

          Back in the early days of the Internet, 1996, that was a great prank to pull. We would get emails “I think you’ve been hacked by the CIA…”

          The site also had a fractal picture of the mythical “Land of Rella” on the “front page.” And a whole “Land of Rella” back story with “Virtual Villages.”

          Also had a link to the latest SEC public filings by our main competitor, a small-cap public penny stock company (GALX), showing them losing money hand over fist.

          This was, of course, all done on Dial-up (28.8k baud), my internet connection today is 25 mpbs, or 893 times faster.

          “When I was your age” I had to wait hours to download one image, and we still thought it was the coolest thing!

Click here for the Wayback Machine archive of that page, go ahead and click on the Π symbol, extreme lower-right.

Click here for a trailer for “The Net,” the thing I’m talking about parodying starts at 00:40.

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