The 1st Internet Gallery of GIF Animation opened just before January 1995. The goal was to showcase sites that were experimenting with the beta-GIF Animations which I was promoting on my pages. Those pages, now in the Pioneer Hall, were the first GIF Animations on the Web ever. I knew it was the first Gallery of GIF Animation, because this site leaked information on GIF animations at the start.
The Gallery grew to over 500 submitted links in just 3 1/2 months. By April GIF Animation had taken off, surpassing Java, Server-Push, Shockwave and all other forms of Animation on the Web. It had become the de facto method of doing animation without any real commercial advertisement, just individual sites promoting it amongst themselves. In March, Netscape placed one, very sad page up describing them. GIF Animation was not inlcuded in the official anouncement or feature list of the released Navigator 2.0. Late April, sheer popularity forced them to amend the feature list of Netscape 2.0 and announced that GIF Animation was now an official feature. It had been thougth to be unmarketable due to no know product that could create GIF Animations. They had been wrong..
By June/July 96, my backlog of Gallery submissions had gone over 800 unlisted! submissions. The Gallery demanded far too much time to maintain and the size was unwieldy. The purpose was diminished. GIF Animations needed no promotion. I stopped adding entries in April, but submission continued on for months.
In November, America OnLine released several CGI features. I beta tested several and had a chance to input ideas. I was happy with the result, since my wish list was well met. AOL provided enough automation to create a Gallery that would accept online submissions and little maintenance from me. The Expo was born. The idea was to collect animations that could be used, sorting them by visual characteristics or themes to help people find images that were appropriate. The submission process is much more detailed, but that discourages casual "link-me-too" submissions. I hope the Expo will bring business to professionals and attention to amateurs who submit their work and generate interest and traffic to sites involved.
The Expo looks to be a success. With three months running, about 300 animations have been submitted. Most of them are very good, and better than half are high quality professional animations. In three months, 220,000 visits have been made to the EXPO. That's about 70,000 hits a month worth of free advertising and attention for artists and web designers. Some categories are ebing discontinued and other combined and rearranged to better distribute attention.
America Online is developing personalized search engines. By summer a search engine will probably be available for keyword finds. Also a new HELP! WANTED section was added for people to post animations they are looking for.
The Exhibition probably won't be online till sometime in '97. I'm putting together images that show how far you can go with GIF animations.