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ColumbusUnderground.com Version 8.0

Walker Evans Walker Evans
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The new revamp of Columbus Underground has only been up for a few hours, but I’m already hearing some of the regulars describing it as being “Columbus Underground 2.0”. That might be accurate for many people who have only been around for the past year or two and only know Columbus Underground as it’s most recent incarnation. But the fact is… Columbus Underground has been through many changes over the years. And thanks to Archive.org’s Wayback Machine, we’re able to take that stroll down memory lane. Won’t you join me?

cu0p0ColumbusUnderground.com 0.0: The “Coming Soon” Screen
November 2001 – Early 2002

CU was officially “born” on November 8th, 2001 when the domain name was registered. The concept and planning came a few months prior, and the first launch came a few months after, but November saw the very first online presence of CU: a big “coming soon” sign. A sign of things to come. Not really very exciting, which is why I’m labeling this as version zero point zero.

cu1p0ColumbusUnderground.com 1.0: Clubs and Bars and DJs, Oh My!
Early – Mid 2002

The original version of Columbus Underground was focused pretty exclusively on the Columbus nightlife scene, highlighting both local and national dj performances around town. This was during what some might call the end of the “golden era” of the superstar dj tours hitting Columbus. And I probably don’t have to tell you this, but our heavily photoshopped font and eyeball logo was pretty sweet in 2002.

cu1p5ColumbusUnderground.com 1.5: The Birth of the Messageboard
September 2002

On Thursday, September 19th 2002 at 9:17pm, the ColumbusUnderground.com Messageboard (or “Discussion Forum”) was born. The addition of phpbb2 on CU may have been the single most significant software installation of its lifetime. What began as a small handful of people talking to themselves grew steadily over the years into a large and vibrant hyperlocal online community.

cu2p0ColumbusUnderground.com 2.0: The Gang Gets Interactive
Pretty Much All of 2003

In early 2003, the real “2.0” version of Columbus Underground launched, featuring an expanded event calendar, more messageboard integration, user polls, and the first signs of urban development interest as we start to cover neighborhood-based topics and reviews. Some of my favorite review highlights include a trip to the North Market with Anne Burkhart in February 2003, a positive review of Strada in the Arena District, a negative review of Roadhouse Annie’s in the Short North, and a review of a VIP party at Tapatio in January. Ah, how things change…

cu_3p0ColumbusUnderground.com 3.0: More Features? I think?
Late 2003 – Early 2004

For a few short months, CU went through some sort of identity crisis. Archive.org doesn’t have any of the images cached, so it’s hard to see what exactly it looked like then, but it appears as if new features were being added (mp3 downloads, new photo galleries, CU “store”, and a realtime chatroom) while the news content was slimmed down. Thankfully it didn’t last long like this.

cu_4p0ColumbusUnderground.com 4.0: Back to the Future
Early 2004

Another mood swing in Early 2004 shows Columbus Underground 4.0 looking more like 2.0 with news and event content getting heavier once again and other features getting slimmed back down. Again, archive.org doesn’t have images cached, so most of the design was lost into the abyss. It was probably for the best. A couple of review gems from the archives include the original Outland and the Carlile Club.

cu_5p01ColumbusUnderground.com 5.0: Flashy, Grungy, and Over-Saturated
Mid 2004 – Mid 2005

I have to admit… the design of CU 5.0 was heavily influenced by the now-defunct BlackTable.com. It’s a bit embarrassing to look back on now, but imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, right? Content-wise, this was the first time CU officially made the full jump outside the world of nightlife and focused much more evenly on shopping, dining, art, culture, and urban development. And what do you know… when we grew our range of topics, our readership started to grow too.

A couple of fun features include our short-lived “moblogging” stint, the launch of the unpopular “local news” forum that would eventually turn into the popular “urban living” news, the start of the smoking ban discussion, some silliness with some club owners in Mansfield, and some pipedreams for light rail, straight out of 2004.

cu_6p0ColumbusUnderground.com 6.0: Experiments with new CMSes
Mid-Late 2005

In mid-2005, we switched our content management system over to a platform called Greymatter and launched several user blogs as well. It turned out not to be such a great idea as the application’s spam filtering was easily taken over and filled with garbage. Which worked out for the best, as Greymatter was ugly and clunky to begin with.

cu_7p01ColumbusUnderground.com 7.0: Almost There…
Late 2005

Columbus Underground starts to resemble it’s most recent version in late 2005 when the Content Management System is switched over to the forum-driven phpbbfetchall application. The topics listed across the top of this version of the site define CU as a place for Events, Nightlife, Dining, Shopping, Music, Art, Movies, Politics, and More. Almost There…

cu_7p1ColumbusUnderground.com 7.1: …big bold graphics everywhere…
Early 2006

Only a minor update takes us from version 7.0 to 7.1: some of the site graphics get bigger. Because bigger is better in 2006.

A peek into some of the discussion topics of mid-2006 reveal a young Coremodels with fewer than 200 posts, talk of the newly announced OSU arts center downtown, and as always… plenty of discussion about the summer festival series (Comfest, Red White & Boom, etc).

cu_7p21ColumbusUnderground.com 7.2: …slow and small changes…
Mid 2006-Early 2007

More minor updates to the site over the course of the next year give it another version bump from 7.1 to 7.2. Some graphics get smaller, more forum functionality makes its way to the front page, and “Urban Living” and “Sports” news pop into the navigation for the first time.

Hot topics of late 2006 include the demolition of the Main Street Bridge, the Daily Show coming to town to film for a week, and ongoing news about the 70/71 split project.

cu_7p51ColumbusUnderground.com 7.5: …and here we are!
Mid 2007 – Late 2008

Columbus Underground finally fully resembled its latest version in mid-2007 with many front page features being added, mostly to do with tie-ins to the forum.

Of all iterations of CU, this most recent version is the one that saw the largest amount of growth. The number of users with registered accounts quadrupled in the 18-month period between mid-2007 and late-2008. Which brings us back to my original point. For nearly 75% of our registered members, this is the only version of Columbus Underground they’ve ever really known to exist. Just keep in mind that 8.0 is the new 2.0 in 2009…

cu_8p0ColumbusUnderground.com 8.0: The Future of CU
Jan 1, 2009 and Beyond

You’re looking at it. A refreshed design. A brand new dual-core content management system. New exclusive content and features. A new weekly audio podcast show. And more tags, topics, discussions, and content than you can shake a stick at.

See you in the future!

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