Some might look at March 21, 1998 on the calendar and see the first day of spring. But to TractorByNet, March 21st has a much more special meaning, as the day when the very first iteration of TractorByNet hit the internet.
Here we are 20 years later, celebrating two decades of service! Please enjoy this journey down memory lane as we flash back to screen shots of TractorByNet’s home pages over the years…
It was the first day of spring, March 21, 1998, around 5pm on the east coast when founder Muhammad Chishti opened the doors to what would ultimately become the world’s largest tractor community.
Some people may remember that the first version of TractorByNet wasn’t even called TractorByNet. We started as a Kubota-only resource website, first named “Kubota Tractors Message Board” and later, Kubota Tractor Source. This page was from mid-1998.
What else happened in 1998?
- Michael Jordan takes his last shot as a Chicago Bull, and later retires from the NBA for the second time.
- The final episode of Seinfeld airs on NBC (commercials sold for $2M for 30 seconds!)
- Late in the year Google.com is registered for the first time (yes, TBN is older than Google)
- In Baseball, Mark McGuire hit 70 Home Runs and the New York Yankees won the World Series
Below you’ll see a historical snapshot of one of the early forum home pages. This was shortly after TractorByNet opened the doors to all makes and models of equipment. Our design was plain jane but it got the job done. In 1999 we averaged about 17 posts per day on the forum.
Also in 1999…
- President Clinton is impeached and acquitted by the Senate.
- The Dow Jones Industrial Average closes above 10,000 points for the first time in history.
- The 6 Billionth living human in the world is born.
Big changes in 2000 as we redesigned the site and started the blue color theme that we still use. Back then, we spelled our website Tractorbynet with a lowercase B and N. More on that later.
What else happened in 2000?
- The NASDAQ index peaks at 5132.52 points, signalling the beginning of the end of the Dot-Com boom.
- Tiger Woods wins the US Open by 15 shots (a record!) and becomes the first golfer since 1953 to win 3 majors in one calendar year.
- George W. Bush is elected President of the United States and Florida introduces the world to “hanging chads.”
TractorByNet members got tired of typing, so the acronym TBN was coined. With that, we decided to capitalize B and N in our name along with changing the shade of blue in a redesign. Also in 2001, founder Muhammad Chishti published the first book on compact tractor buying to help pay for the increasing server expenses that came with increased website traffic.
What was going on in 2001?
- Baseball has a big year as Barry Bonds hits 73 home runs in a single season and the Ironman, Cal Ripken Jr., retires.
- Wikipedia is launched by Jimmy Wales and Larry Sanger.
- Dale Earnhardt Sr. passes away after an accident during the Daytona 500.
- September 11th becomes the worst terrorist attack on US Soil ever, marking the beginning to the War on Terror.
Big changes as a new website design came online, featuring a busier home page and a brief stint with what can only be described as a “medium purple-grey” accent color. John Deere places their first ad on TractorByNet, which would mark the beginning of a new stage of growth for TBN.
Also in 2002:
- The United States invades Afghanistan
- Entrepreneur Elon Musk founds SpaceX
- American Idol premiers on FOX
By 2003, the TractorByNet forums were lively, having grown to an average of 210 posts per day by 2003, making it the largest tractor and equipment community online. Back then, more than 30 forums and 200,000 posts on the site—all of which can still be found on TractorByNet.
World News in 2003:
- Invasion of Iraq by American and British-led coalition begins leading to the capture of Saddam Hussein by the end of the year.
- The Spirit Rover is launched, beginning NASA’s Mars Exploration Rover mission
- Kids around the world flocked to the theaters for the release of animated film Finding Nemo.
Another redesign, and the introduction of what would become TractorByNet’s trademarked “tractor sign” logo. Also, a limited batch of TBN logo hats were sold in five colors.
Also in 2004…
- After hosting the show for over 30 years, Casey Kasem gives up the hosting duties of “American Top 40” to Ryan Seacrest.
- Mark Zuckerberg launches Facebook from his Harvard dormitory room.
- Ronald Reagan passes away.
- Martha Stewart is sentenced to five months in prison plus five months in home confinement.
- Longtime “Jeopardy!” champion Ken Jennings of Salt Lake City, Utah finally loses after a 74-game winning streak, leaving him with $2,520,700, television’s all-time biggest game show haul.
From 2003-2005, TractorByNet’s forums almost tripled in size, and grew at a rate of about 520 posts per day. We also made more space for messages by going with a full screen width forum layout. At this time, the slogan “The World’s Largest Tractor Community” is posted atop the website.
Also in 2005…
- Condoleezza Rice is sworn in as U.S. Secretary of State, the first African American woman to hold the post
- The US version of “The Office” starring Steve Carrell and John Krasinski premieres on NBC
- Doctor Who returns to BBC TV after 16 years off the air
- Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger elected Pope Benedict XVI on the second day of the Papal conclave.
- Hurricane Katrina makes landfall as a category 3 hurricane devastating much of the U.S. Gulf Coast from Louisiana to Florida Panhandle. Kills more than 1,836, causes over $115 billion in damage.
While the site looked mostly the same, TractorByNet celebrated a big milestone with 1 million posts.
Also in 2007…
- Apple’s CEO Steve Jobs announces the first ever iPhone
- Author J. K. Rowling finishes the 7th and last Harry Potter novel
- Barry Bonds of the San Francisco Giants breaks baseball great Hank Aaron’s record by hitting his 756th home run.
- The New England Patriots become the first team in NFL history to finish the regular season 16-0
Yet another new home page layout came in 2008 and more forums were added as TBN continued to grow.
Also in 2008…
- China Hosts the Summer Olympics in Beijing.
- Barack Obama was Elected 44th President of the United States.
- The global financial crisis hit, triggering a global meltdown in the stock market and housing prices and leading to a recession.
The U.S. patent and trademark office grants TractorByNet a registered trademark on its name and logo. At this time, the .com is dropped from our now-registered trademark. To celebrate, another new home page brings TBN a more modern look.
Another thing that made 2010 special was when we picked up the New York Times and found an insert feature about TractorByNet in the magazine! Extra fun because we never made any efforts to get press coverage for the site—they found us on their own. Now we can say “Recommended by the New York Times” too…
Also in 2010:
- The worst oil spill in the history of the petroleum industry started on Apr. 20, after an explosion at the BP-run Deepwater Horizon offshore drilling rig in the Gulf of Mexico.
- Apple announces the iPad.
- Tiger Woods apologies (to everyone).
- Mark McGwire apologizes (to Everyone).
By 2012, TractorByNet’s forums were growing fast. After crossing the 2 million post milestone, we hit another milestone—100,000 registered members. Post counts skyrocket to more than 1,000 per day and TBN was considered, one of the best communities on the internet.
Not a whole lot changed on TBN in 2015, so here’s a screen shot of what it looked like (probably fresh in the memory of most visitors). We still use this header on parts of our site.
Also in 2015:
- Thousands of people died when a 7.8-magnitude earthquake struck near Kathmandu, Nepal.
- It’s a girl for William and Kate—Britain got a new princess after Kate Middleton gave birth to an 8-pound, 3-ounce baby girl on May 1. The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge named her Charlotte.
- David Letterman, after 33 years, hosts the “Late Show with David Letterman” for the last time
- In the ‘Fight of the Century’ Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao went into the ring, with millions watching on TV and hundreds of millions of dollars in play. The undefeated Mayweather beat Pacquiao in a 12-round unanimous decision.
- Bruce Jenner becomes Caitlyn Jenner.
- The United States wins the Women’s World Cup in soccer.
- Justin Trudeau became Canada’s new prime minister in a stunning upset over the country’s long-seated Conservative government.
Here we are. Present day TractorByNet has a modern look and a bunch of content. Today, nearly 5 million posts, 300,000 members, 250,000 photos, 10,000 tractor reviews, define TractorBynet as not only the world’s largest tractor community, but the go-to source for tractor information and discussions. Wow—what a difference 20 years makes! Let’s see if we can make it another 20 years…