Global Network Navigator
The Global Network Navigator (GNN) was the first commercial web publication and the first web site to offer clickable advertisements, now commonly referred to as "banner ads." The first such internet ad was sold by GNN to Heller Ehrman LLP.
GNN was founded in May 1993 by Tim O'Reilly and Dale Dougherty of O'Reilly Media (formerly O'Reilly & Associates) of Sebastopol, California. It was launched in August 1993 at InterOp in San Francisco. It was inspired by Viola, a WWW browser that introduced enhanced HTML features like formatting, graphics, scripting and embedded applets.
The free service was divided into five parts:
- GNN News
- GNN Magazine
- The Online Whole Internet Catalog
- The GNN Marketplace
- Navigator's Forum
The Online Whole Internet Catalog - a forerunner of internet directory services like Yahoo! - was organized into ten sections:
- The Internet
- Current Affairs
- Libraries, Reference & Education
- Government and politics
- Work and Play
In the original press release that introduced GNN, the Online Whole Internet Catalog was described this way: "... subscribers can not only read about these subjects, they can actually connect to them with the click of a button." GNN described itself as "a new experiment in online publishing."
Potential readers were advised that they would need "an Internet connection, a World Wide Web (WWW) browser and a universal resource locator for GNN or a local copy of the GNN 'home page' (which is available via electronic mail)." It was hosted at NEARNET (a project of Bolt Beranek and Newman (BBN) of Cambridge, Massachusetts.) 
Among other projects, GNN sponsored the "Best of the Web Awards" an event held annually in San Francisco. Public relations for GNN and its various initiatives was handled by Niehaus Ryan Haller (See: Ed Niehaus)
O'Reilly sold GNN to America Online in 1995 and GNN was turned into an Internet service provider as a counter-point to AOL's primary online service which at the time offered limited Internet access. When AOL introduced its flat rate in 1996 along with full Internet access, GNN was discontinued. GNN's accounts were rolled-over into AOL.
GNN Server and GNN Editor (a web page server platform and an HTML editor, previously NaviPress and NaviServer) were both groundbreaking for their time. AOL made them available for free, and then discontinued them.
Lisa Gansky served as GNN's CEO from the time GNN was sold to AOL until GNN was discontinued. Jennifer Niederst was GNN's original designer.
The original GNN.com URL http://www.gnn.com now points to the Huffington Post sometimes and at other times fails to connect.
- Dale Dougherty (October 1994). "GNN One Year Update". Retrieved December 17, 2011.
- GNN home page circa 1993 on O'Reilly server
- Archives of the GNN home page after its acquisition by AOL
- littlechair project archive: GNN - Examples and comments on the original GNN website by one of its designers