I was reading Jason Kottke's blog last week and came across this post about the original Twitt(e)r branding. The post mentioned a few other early versions of famous websites, which I decided to seek out and collect in one place. You can see the full collection here.
Appropriately enough, I tweeted about the collection and watched as it 'went viral' – with over 100 retweets and 6,200-odd views of the page so far.
I think it's because people like stories of origins and unlikely beginnings. It's fascinating how so many great brands didn't get where they are because of great branding. Google started out like this!
And this was their first ever Google Doodle!
It's notable how Google subsequently dropped its exclamation mark, but Yahoo only gained it later:
Amazon was another early fan of the exclamation mark!
It's a salutary lesson for brand people everywhere that neither the logo nor the strapline (Earth's biggest bookstore) played the slightest role in Amazon's subsequent success – both were dropped long ago.
You can see some more here, including the BBC, Tumblr, Myspace, Linkedin and thefacebook.