Happy 17th Birthday, WinCustomize!

Tuesday, March 13, 2018 by Island Dog | Discussion: WinCustomize News

Happy Birthday, WinCustomize!

17 years ago, in the aftermath of the dot-com bust that took out many popular skinning sites (anyone remember skinz.org?), we launched WinCustomize. It's now the largest site on the Internet dedicated to GUI customization with thousands of user-submitted skins, screenshots, and more.

Do you have a favorite download from WinCustomize? Share it with us!


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Reply #1 Tuesday, March 13, 2018 3:47 PM


Reply #2 Tuesday, March 13, 2018 4:31 PM


Reply #3 Tuesday, March 13, 2018 4:58 PM


Reply #4 Tuesday, March 13, 2018 5:37 PM

In this electronic world we live in congrats on your 17 years. Hard work, imagination and good employees have made this a success. Keep it going.  

Reply #5 Tuesday, March 13, 2018 5:42 PM


Reply #6 Tuesday, March 13, 2018 6:33 PM


Reply #7 Tuesday, March 13, 2018 6:48 PM

Wincustomize.com went 'public' on the 21st of March, 2001.

As people created accounts/joined their UserID numbers were an indication of just how early they were to 'the fun'.

Stardock's crew filled the first 20-odd numbers prior to the site going live [Frogboy at UserID 1], with the first non-SD member to be be Doreen [UserID 20] and Buzz_Hog at 22.  Strangely some creature called 'Stardock Central' was at 21, probably another debugger for T-Man [3].

Alexandrie [19] was the one who nudged me to get on board on Day One which had me end up with UserID 23.

17 years later I see the UserID numbers of new 'arrivals' when they hit the radar re spam and it's a reminder of just how big things have become.  [latest removal was 6884210].

Skinz.org was where most of us came from, generally also connected to Deskmod.com and the oldest/first Skinning site...Customize.org, and several others since, including one which diversified from its origins - Deviantart.com.

If it weren't for Wincustomize.com I dunno what I'd be doing now or where I'd be doing it....

Happy Birthday, WC ....

Reply #8 Tuesday, March 13, 2018 6:48 PM


Reply #9 Tuesday, March 13, 2018 6:59 PM

Someone cut the line.

Reply #10 Tuesday, March 13, 2018 8:44 PM

Happy B'Day WC.        

Reply #11 Tuesday, March 13, 2018 8:58 PM

Happy birthday, Wincustomize (hey, look at my UserID number!)!

Just to share a bit more of history:

Back in 1998/1999, bandwidth was really, really, expensive (as in a relatively popular site would consume *thousands* of dollars in bandwidth *per month*). Many skinning sites of the time, founded mostly by enthusiasts, eventually fell victim to their own popularity, since they hosted free content and had no form of revenue to pay for the ever increasing bandwidth usage costs brought along by their own increasing popularity.

This is where eFront, an advertising company led by the infamous Sam Jain, stepped in: they would offer to pay for the bandwidth - and even a salary to the site's owners - in exchange for owning the site (which they would then use to place ads and in this way generate advertising revenue).

Then the dot com bubble burst and advertising revenue fell through the roof: eFront was no longer able to support the sites it owned, people weren't getting paid, and Sam Jain's ICQ logs and dubious business dealings were leaked to the general public, causing a huge scandal in the skinning community.

This in turn led directly to the downfall of Skinz.org, at the time the most popular skins site on the net, because it was owned by eFront: skinners en masse removed their content from it as a form of protest. The demise of Skinz.org left a huge vacuum on the skinning community, and many great themes and skins were lost forever that day.

This is where Brad Wardell and Stardock stepped in to create Wincustomize. Stardock needed a reliable site to host WindowBlinds skins, and Brad gambled on the idea that filling the vacuum left by Skinz.org would bring in more people from outside, which in turn would become paying customers for Stardock applications. For this to happen, Wincustomize had to host not only skins for Stardock applications, but for 3rd party applications as well. It was a big risk Brad took at the time, as Stardock was relatively small back then (at least in comparison to what it is today) and the expenses were huge - but it totally paid off.

Soon after there were only two big skinning sites left on the net: Wincustomize and DeviantArt. DeviantArt decided to go on another direction (selling and focusing on art) which left Wincustomize as the undisputed king of Windows customization.

To this day, it is still the main repository of Winstep skins too (hey, I had to find a way to pull my own sardine closer to the fire ).

Reply #12 Tuesday, March 13, 2018 9:45 PM

Happy B'day WC    

Reply #13 Tuesday, March 13, 2018 10:15 PM

Reply #14 Wednesday, March 14, 2018 12:35 AM

Yeah, happy birthday WC.  I came along 6 - 7 years later and so glad I did.  The internet is by far a better place for WC being here.  Like Jafo, I don't know what I'd be doing if it wasn't here.

Reply #15 Wednesday, March 14, 2018 6:20 AM

Reply #16 Wednesday, March 14, 2018 9:22 AM

HAPPY BIRTHDAY WC!!! The source of countless enjoyment.    

Reply #17 Wednesday, March 14, 2018 9:32 AM

Happy Birthday      

Reply #18 Wednesday, March 14, 2018 10:28 AM

Well done, everyone.

Admins, moderators, the skinners, the staff, Stardock, and everyone else involved, including the millions of visitors.


Reply #19 Wednesday, March 14, 2018 11:54 AM

Happy Birthday!         Somebody(s) must be doing something(s) right!   

Reply #20 Wednesday, March 14, 2018 3:42 PM

Do you have a favorite download from WinCustomize? Share it with us!


Happy Birthday!    

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