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May 072015

Remember Tolkien Toplists?

Topsites or Toplists was a web trend in the late 1990’s and early 200o’s to help promote websites, and 25 Hobbits was the go to site to promote your Tolkien website!

The early days of the World Wide Web… (remember when it was still called that?)

Long before the age of the search engine came into it’s own, when Google was just a twinkle in the eye a few young men… there was the Web Toplist, and if you wanted to send traffic to your Tolkien Website, then you had a banner on 25 Hobbits! Ah… those were the days!

What is 25 Hobbits? What is a Toplist? In the late 1990s and early 2000s, when Google’s page ranking system was still just a small operation running out of a friend’s garage, Search Engines technology was still in it’s infancy. Search engines of the day, such as WebCrawler, Magellan, Excite, Infoseek, Inktomi, Northern Light, AltaVista and Yahoo were all a bit clunky! In reality, they didn’t work very well and as the World Wide Web grew, searches become clogged with useless information.

So what does all this have to do with Tolkien Websites? Well one of the best ways to find content you were interested in was to look for a Toplist or Webring. A toplist was a ranking of websites, focused on a certain subject. You would place a link on your site and ask people to vote for your site by clicking on the link to the Topsite, this would move you up the ranking list and make your site more visible to the masses. It was a symbiotic relationship that drove traffic to your site and to the Toplist site.

The more hits you got, the more traffic was driven to your website  and the higher your ranking! It was a great way for new websites to get noticed and it was really how Mordor ~ The Land of Shadow.com was first introduced to a large number of Tolkien fans. When the movies were announced, interest in all things Lord of the Rings and Tolkien went through the roof and 25 Hobbit was the go to site to find all the best Tolkien Websites.

For several years, Mordor was ranked in the top ten and was often in the number one spot.

Here are several of Mordor’s early banners used on 25 Hobbits!




Before long additional Tolkien and Lord of the Rings Topsites sprouted up on the web, but 25 Hobbits still ruled! 25 Hobbits eventually changed it’s name to Tolkien World Topsites and oddly enough, it’s still in existence today! Go HERE to take a peek. Like all trends and fads in our fast moving world, the Toplist had it’s moment in the sun which has since passed. Mordor is still in the top 10 after all these years! LOL!

The Tolkien Topsite Wars…

Mordor teamed up with with Lugburz, Morgoth’s Lair, Cirith Ungol, Minas Morgul and Mirkwood along with many other websites to created what we called The Dark Legion, a consortium of dark themed Tolkien websites and message boards… and we took the Toplists by storm! But, we will save that story for another day…


 May 7, 2015  Posted by at 7:38 am
  • CT

    Wow, how did I manage to miss out on this? I’d never even heard of this…until today.

  • Roberto Took

    I love those banners!

  • Literally hundreds of Middle-earth themed websites and message boards sprung up after the first Lord of the Rings films came out and the Dark themed site were a smaller contingent of the over all community of Tolkien sites. Sadly after the completion of the trilogy most of those sites have faded away… but not Mordor!

  • CT

    #5 last time I looked…very impressive!

  • The top sites are kind of dead now. I can remember when the top ten sites had thousands of hits each, now the number one site has only sixteen! LOL…

  • Random Musings

    Up to #3 now 😉