Christmas 1997, I had to fortune of receiving a delightful gift from my mother: Creating a Website for Dummies. I read through this book creating a newfound fascination in the internet and soon desired to create a website for myself. However, caution was at the forefront of my mind. Being only twelve at the time, my mother warned me that predators lurked on the internet, and that even giving one's name to an unknown person could unwittingly lead said person to disaster. Taking my mother's words at heed, I fashioned myself a name; plain, ordinary name with which I could pursue the internet's endeavors completely anonymous: Kaitlyn Copeland. And so, on the 26th of March 1998, I ventured forth into the land of Yahoo!Geocities and created myself a webpage under the guise of Kaitlyn Copeland. My website was titled "Kaitlyn's Tight Page" and included only things that I considered important: television, random Internet games, Justin Timberlake, clothes and music, and myself, naturally.
As time progressed, I developed the layout of the homepage, making it look a bit less like it was made by a beginner, and added items like the "Fun Stuff" page which eventually evolved into the games section of the Peaceful Palace. I also started experimenting with java scripts and applets from which I developed my "Last Updated" marquee, which was my source of extreme pride for about a month. It also became necessary for me to consolidate my pages to Geocities given that many places were changing their once free webpages to pay sites.
I eventually began to tire of the "happy-go-lucky" feel of my homepage and decided to make it look a bit more modern and deeper, so I experimented with a few different names, keeping with the "Kaitlyn" theme, Kayerealm and Kayewinner, and extended the "Justin Page" to a general "Hotties" page, changed the "TV Department" to one for entertainment, added a place just for photos and a special section devoted to giving others the life tips I had had as I had grown: Life.
All was well in the land of "Kaitlyn's Tight Page," and then....Yahoo!Geocities began changing it's policies. Once upon a time, with a basic, free Geocities webpage one could have the Geocities ad as a banner toward the bottom of the page or a small AdSquare elsewhere. Geocities changed it so that there was no longer any option and an ugly bar sat on the far right of the page for a short time. Then, they decided that the small bar on the right which closed on itself after a short while was not enough and changed it to this: a complete frame separate from one's own webpage. This cut down the viewing space by 75%, but it was still somewhat manageable. And then came the final straw. Geocities decided that it would limit its free webpages to only 2MB of bandwidth an hour. It is much akin to running out of room in an e-mail Inbox. Imagine receiving ten e-mails a day, each of them at 2KB a piece, 20KB total. If the mailbox allotted to one is limited to 15KB, there is a serious problem since that last 5KB of e-mail will not get to the Inbox. This was the most frustrating thing of all. My webpage was becoming more and more complicated and there was an increase in the amount of people who saw the site as well. The bandwidth limitations were where I had to part ways with Yahoo!Geocities.
I had been playing with the idea of buying a dot com and making my website from it, but many complications lied in my path. First was the monetary issue. Webspace ranged from $4 a month to somewhere in the hundreds, and I had NO money. There was also the issue of creating the actual webpages. My knowledge of the HTML was very feeble (and still is) and the allure of something like Geocities was the ability to edit HTML through their site. Finally a friend alerted me to AceNet and GoDaddy.com, allowing me to purchase the space needed and the name I wanted. The final piece of the puzzle was brought to me via a "free" version of Microsoft FrontPage, which enabled me to edit and view my edits as they occurred.
And so on the 18th of May 2004, a little more than six years after my first webpage adventure, I bought my name, after realizing how silly it was to have my own website under a fake name, and Dorienne Smith.com was born, free of giant Yahoo! eyesores, and out of the bondage of Geocities' bandwidth limits. This site was once my greatest hobby, but with the responsibilities brought on by adulthood, my hobbies have shifted and, sadly, I am lucky to update the site once every six months, if it gets an update at all. I will continue to keep it going, however, as a smaller hobby and a place to showcase other endeavours, such as my writing, as I could not bear to part with such an old, fun friend.
When I created the identity of Kaitlyn Copeland, I also needed to create a nickname or ID. Taking kait from Kaitlyn and co from Copeland, kaitco seemed to be the perfect blend of my new fake names. Back in 1997, I started using kaitco for e-mail accounts and new forums I had found, and over the years, it has become an extension of my own name. If one Googled kaitco, over 90% of all the results found are all related to me. I simply find it amusing that this name has become just as much a part of me as my own given and surnames.
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