The Hampster Dance
Animated dancing rodents hit the top of the Web charts in 1999. Deirdre LaCarte's HampsterDance, 329 dancing and singing hampsters, were wildly successful Internet characters that could now be classified as icons. 9
LaCarte, a British Columbia art student and martial arts instructor, initially created the site as a tribute to Hampton, her pet hampster. 10
HampsterDance 2 is now up and runing in place of the original and allows for interactivity. Visitors can control the speed and locations of the hampsters now. The rodents also rap now over a synthesizer and electric percussion.
Visitors can also now buy HampsterDance cds and T-shirts and visit the home pages of Hampton, Dixie, Hado and Fuzzy (the hampster's names). What was born as a humorous joke has blossomed into a commercial venture.
The rodents have starred in a commercial for Earthlink. And as of 2000, the site was still getting over 200,000 visits per day and thousands of emails. 11
As with other pop culture Internet icons, countless numbers of parodies have sprung up as well. There's the Cow Dance, the Dancing Cartman and the Jesus Dance.
"Andy Warhol underestimated s future where banal pet hampsters can garner worldwide fame lasting far past fifteen minutes," said journalist David Cassel. 12
The Dancing Baby is one of the first Internet pop icons. Created in 1996 by Viewpoint DataLabs and Unreal Pictures, it was at the time an impressive animated file.13
With it's gyrating-diaper-clad cutie and "Uga Chucka" song, the clip quickly passed through the "Check this out!" email circuit.
It made commercial success through appearances on "Ally McBeal," and in commercials for CMI Films and Blockbuster.
Like other pop icons, it too has several parody sites and spin-offs, several which were created by the original producers.
Mahir Cagri - I KISS YOU!!!
Mahir Cagri's home page is another quite simple page which gained popularity through emailing. Cagri, a Turkish gentleman whose site calls for world peace as well as invites beautiful women to stay with him in Turkey, has since claimed that his site is a hoax. 14
Claiming to be 'the most popular homepage ever,' Cagri said the page received more than 1 million hits in a week during its heyday in 1999. The site was shut down Nov. 12, 1999, but fans recreated it and posted it elsewhere.
But Cagri claims that many of the popular frank comments about women and sex were placed there by a hacker. 15
His fame scored him a world tour sponsored by eTour.com, denounced by some fans as an attempt by eTours to capitalize and exploit Cagri's new status. But eTours did claim to have donated to Cagri's charities.16
Other sites of note
An obvious candidate for a Web icon. Margolis made her debut in 1995, and has since been dubbed "Most Downloaded Woman in the World" by the Guiness Book of World Records.
She's been downloaded over 158 million times!
She now stars in an online radio show, the Cindy Radio Show.
All your base are belong to us
A line from a Japanese video game called ZeroWing, the badly-translated phrase made itself into an online pop staple.
The parodies hit first with dubbed voices. Then there were "All Your Base" T-shirts, and even a music video.
Mainstream media reported on the trend and references appeared in Time Magazine, USA Today, Wired and several others. It's pronounced dead frequently, but still seems to continue on.17