timeanddate.com Had Its 10th Birthday In 2008
timeanddate.com, one of the world’s most informative websites on time and date related facts, turned 10 years old on Saturday, May 24, 2008. This website, which also includes the World Clock, has come a long way since it first began in 1998.
About 10 years ago, a university student in Norway created the concept of a website, called timeanddate.com, to offer people a free place to access all sorts of information centered on the topics of “time” and “date”. The site became available online for the first time on May 24, 1998, and attracted only 24 users.
Today, timeanddate.com is an award-winning site free for millions of people all over the world. It is a reference source for educational institutions, government offices, businesses, bloggers and the media. The mastermind behind the concept, Steffen Thorsen, is now Chief Executive Officer of Time and Date AS, a private company in Norway that manages timeanddate.com.
timeanddate.com provides facts and information on topics related to time and date. The website features the World Clock, which includes time zones from many cities around the world, and the Calendar, which has customized features according to country, language, year, and other personal preferences.
The website also features: calculators for time zones, dates, and the sun and moon; news articles and features on topics such as daylight saving time holidays and other observances in the calendar; a free digital clock; and other planning tools, including international dialing codes and a distance calculator.
The inspiration behind the dream
Steffen was always interested in clocks, time and calendars when he was a small boy. Growing up, he created some calendars and world clock programs prior to the escalating popularity of the World Wide Web. Seeing the opportunity, it was only a natural step for him to create web versions of the calendars and world clock programs that he created. During his university days, Steffen was also inspired by some friends who had websites or webpages of their own. His goal was to make his dream come true – to one day provide a website with plenty of information and facts related to time and date.
The dream evolving into reality
Steffen was still studying computer science at a university in Norway when he released some of timeanddate.com’s services, including the Calendar and World Clock, in November 1995. Click here for more information about the 10-year anniversary for these services.
Although the idea behind the service was clever, there were a few bumps along the road. The services on times and dates that Steffen provided were initially tied with his university account. It was a free account and generally worked well but there were some downtime problems causing the service to be offline or unavailable for users. Steffen also realized that his university account would no longer be available after he finished his degree in 1999, so he needed to move them to a place where they could continue to be available to the public. Unfortunately, he had to write his programs from scratch again due to the technicalities of maintenance difficulties.
timeanddate.com was registered in 1997 and was made available online on May 24, 1998. Those who used the old pages were advised about the new service. Steffen paid about $600 for hosting and for the domain name for a two-year period. The cost was quite a lot for a university student financially surviving only on a student loan and a part-time job.
On this first date, there were only 24 visitors to the website and the first visitor was a modem user with services provided by xmission.com, an Internet service provider in the United States that is still operational today. Over the years, Steffen succeeded in migrating most of the traffic from the old location and users were able to update their links.
Good reviews and ratings
Since its inception, timeanddate.com has received positive feedback from viewers and the media internationally. It has been given accolades including:
- Houston Chronicle, March 6, 2008 – positive review, stating “TimeAndDate has more features. It has calendars, but even better, it has the time all over the world. This can help you calculate the best times to make a phone call so you won't wake someone out of a sound sleep”.
- Los Angeles Times, December 27, 2007 – positive review, stating “TimeAndDate has more: calendars, yes, but even better, it has the time all over the world, and it can help you calculate the best times to call so you won't wake someone out of a sound sleep”.
- BBC News, April 28, 2006 – positive review, stating that timeanddate.com was one of the best sites on the World Wide Web and that “timeanddate.com is a brilliant resource, especially if you travel a lot”.
- Chicago Sun-Times, August 5, 2004 – positive review, stating “timeanddate.com can help you find a convenient time for everyone so no one need be up in the middle of the night. Or at least you can try. This site lets you to set up a "world clock" with cities important to you. It also helps with calendar questions, such as what the date will be in 500 days.”
- New York Times, July 29, 2004 – positive review, stating “Bookmark http://www.timeanddate.com/, which delivers the time and date for anywhere in the world, including places that insist on setting local time in increments a half-hour or 15 minutes different from everyone else.”
- Being named as a “Hot Site” by USA TODAY on December 8, 1999.
timeanddate.com also received positive reviews from other various online media including: Computerworld; SF Gate, home of The San Francisco Chronicle; The Daily Telegraph (London); The Denver Post; The Toronto Star; The Washington Post; Times Newspapers Limited; and Tradingmarkets.com. Click here for more positive reviews on timeanddate.com.
timeanddate.com is, by a good margin, the biggest time zone-related website in the world, according to statistics from Alexa, Quantcast and Compete. As the company’s CEO, Steffen believes that good publicity, particularly from the press and television programs, helps boost the reputation of the website. However, his day would not be complete without the email comments that from satisfied users and to hear positive stories about how the website helps them in their daily lives.
During the early years of timeanddate.com, there were very few websites that compared with this site, therefore making it unique. These days there are more sites that provide similar services but only a few of these are updated regularly. The company responsible for the website aims to maintain and enhance the accuracy, attractiveness, usability and timeliness of timeanddate.com. There are also plans to expand and improve the services offered within the site over the next few years.
Plans for future
There are plans to build more functionality into the website’s current services. Apart from improving usability, more features will be added to complement the current ones. Other plans include: for the website to be graphically re-designed to enhance its attractiveness, without being overly complicated; and for the services on the website to be easily used on mobile devices. However, there is much more on the list of improvements for the website.
timeanddate.com would like to thank the thousands of people who provided feedback and ideas over the years, as well as those who linked the website or wrote about it. timeanddate.com is also grateful for the resources available on the World Wide Web to help ensure that information is accurate and timely.