You’re the Man Now Dog is gone. A year after it stopped accepting new users, YTMND.com has disappeared from the internet. The site's owner has been warning for years that he planned to shut down the site entirely.
Update, 1 PM: A few hours after this blog was first posted, YTMND.com, which had been offline for several days, showed signs of life. A new landing page appeared suggesting the site may come back: "YTMND is down for temporary maintenance. This gives us time to optimize the database, free up unused space, deploy new features, and generally just break stuff." Motherboard has updated the headline of the piece to reflect that its future is uncertain: The website also has a message stating "rip db," presumably referring to the site's database.
YTMND started in 2001 and was one of the first viral sensations of the early internet. Before impact fonts and weird Twitter, there was YTMND.com. The site allowed anyone to attach a gif, usually animated but not always, to a bit of looping sound. Users could vote on these weird animations, remix, and share them. When it launched, it was the perfect mix of ridiculousness and interactivity.
It was named for its first upload—tiled pictures of Sean Connery pointing aggressively while a clip of him saying “you’re the man now dog” from the Gus Van Sant movie Finding Forrester played over and over again on a loop. Back in 2001, we thought this was the height of comedy. Even now, watching the clip brings a smile to my face.
Creator Max Goldberg started the website after seeing the trailer for Finding Forrester, but he never expected he’d created something that would shape the early internet. Along with Something Awful, NewGrounds, Ebaumsworld, and 4chan, YTMND.com defined and shaped the humor of the early generation of the extremely online.
The sites memes and animations were hilarious and the traffic was high enough to make it a profitable venture, but policing its users became a full time job for its creator, Max Goldberg. “People would upload child porn and make death threats and people uploaded other people’s addresses,” he told Gizmodo. By 2004, he was already dealing with internet Nazis.
As the traffic waned and people moved on to Twitter, Vine, and YouTube, YTMND made less money but required no less time to police. In 2016, Goldberg said he’d pinched a nerve in his body, had to code less, and that the site was no longer profitable and likely to shut down.
But YTMND.com will live on forever in our hearts and on the Internet Archive. The Archive team copied the entire site last year and is working to make all of its most popular animations playable in the Wayback Machine. Mine was always a techno remix of Samwise Gamgee cooking potatoes from Lord of the Rings: the Two Towers. What’s taters precious?