We’re celebrating our birthday here at Zamzar HQ – ten years ago today we launched the Zamzar website with a simple mission:
Things were very different ten years ago. In Internet years that’s like 8 centuries …
A potted history of 2006
Cast your mind back to 2006 …
- The INTERWEBS™ was a small and barren wasteland with *only* 75 million websites online (there are 1.4 billion now)
We were about here on this graph:
- Twttr was 1 Tweet strong:
just setting up my twttr
— 🚶🏽jack (@jack) March 21, 2006
- The iPhone didn’t exist yet (WAT!) – all the cool kids were using Motorola Razr’s. The, er, not-so-cool ones had Palm Treo 700’s.
- Dropbox was about to get flamed on Hacker News as “not very viral or income-generating” and Facebook’s only users were Mark and his mum .
- ICanHasCheezburger hadn’t been invented (NO LOLCATS !), and the most popular meme of the year was a sneezing panda:
It was into this primordial Internet soup that Zamzar was born. Most of the 9 months of intensive development time for such a key pillar of the Internet was spent on logo design
(obviously the key facet for any budding “web 2.0” service).
We’ve included the best of the bunch for your delectation – extra marks for spotting the malformed sheep motif. Graphic design was not our strongest asset at the time.
Despite the shameful attempts at back-of-a-beermat logo design Michael Arrington covered the launch at TechCrunch, Wired and Lifehacker both jumped onboard with very positive articles, the BBC gave Zamzar glowing reviews and Robert Scoble (he of Google Glass fame) liked what he saw.
The vogue for launching “web 2.0” applications into (seemingly perpetual) beta at the time led Zamzar to be included in the Museum of Modern Betas a fascinating historical record of every-man-and-his-dog’s attempt to jump on the web 2.0 bandwagon.
The “museum” is still charting new beta launches to this day, and Zamzar has the privilege of rating as number 2 on the list of most popular betas of all time (just behind Flickr).
Launching Zamzar was primarily an exercise in “scratching our own itch” in developing software which allowed us to view, edit and save files in as wide a variety of formats as possible, without needing to have every version of every application ever made. We’re thrilled that this turned out to be a useful solution for others too.
We’re proud to have run Zamzar as a bootstrapped and profitable web business for 10 years now. If time on the Internet was calculated in dog years (which it should be) we’d be 65 years old.
During that time we’ve:
- Converted over 300 million files
- Worked with Vint Cerf on tackling digital preservation
- Served users in every country on the planet (including Antarctica)
- Worked with respected media outlets such as the Guardian
- Helped the inventor of PowerPoint convert his long-lost files
- Saved countless lives* … (*converted files for thankful users)
The fact that we’ve never taken VC-funding (despite being courted on numerous occasions), allows us to keep focussed squarely on making our products better for our customers.
This is our number one goal, one which is shamelessly stolen from Paul Graham & Y-Combinator – “Make something people want“.
Our plan is to keep building products and services which you will love. Products that make handling and using file formats easier for everyone, whether they are new to the world of computers or a seasoned developer.
We recently launched a file conversion API capable of converting thousands of different file formats right from the command line or inside your own mobile or web application.
We’ll be making this service even better, improving the design and features on our main file conversion website, integrating with a whole bunch of other file-related services, building out some exciting new products (including a self-driving car powered by Word Doc macros) and much more.
If you’ve used Zamzar over these last 10 years then *thankyou*. It has been an honour and a privilege to convert your files.
Here’s to the next 10 years!
Chris & Mike Whyley,
Co-Founders @ Zamzar.
 Almost. Actually Facebook had 12 million users, but most were probably Mark’s shell accounts.