Global Christian Network
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The Global Christian Network (GCN) began in 1994. It was a precursor to Facebook for Christians, and was the largest online community in the world at the time with around 4 million people. GCN sent out over 100,000 emails a day to subscribers.
The Global Christian Network officially began on March 11, 1994. It was begun as a hobby site by two brothers, David and Robert Fritsche. David Fritsche founded Dynamic Systems International, a Microsoft partner that was widely regarded as a leader in the Internet and data. They used these skills to start the new site. The site allowed users to create their own online web pages. It contained subject and regional chat rooms, very much like the Facebook News of today. There were newsletters from famous Christian authors to which users could subscribe. GCN's newsletter emails grew to over 100,000 a day. GCN also contained the first search engine dedicated to Christian content.
In 1996, Microsoft took notice and used the site as its official testing site for its SQL Server. Microsoft was adapting SQL 6.0 and 6.5 for use on the internet and using the newer TCP/IP protocol. GCN provided an excellent test base with lots of transactions and world renowned experts to help guide Microsoft. Microsoft launched its first support for the Internet with SQL on April 16 of 1996 with GCN's help.
On January 1 of 1997, GCN's traffic doubled in one day. At the time over 2 million hits in a day was a tremendous amount of traffic.
In 1997, GCN added events, and brought the first online events for Christian artists around the world to its community.
Also in 1997, GCN started the first Christian dating sites. Thousands of people met their future loved ones online and hundreds were married because of these sites.
GCN grew to over 4 million people in this time. It merged with a public company and was valued at over $400 million at one point prior to the burst of the dot com bubble in 2000. In 2001, GCN sold to a public company for a tenth of its highest value. This company largely dismantled GCN for its parts.