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IMDB turns 18

You might not know it, but the site that has become the definitive repository of information about movies is older than the Web.

You may have heard me say this before, but it's worth repeating: I love the Internet.

From my first forays onto Yahoo in the mid-1990s, to my slow, methodical construction of a perfect rating on eBay to the dozens of times I use Google every day, there is simply no question about it: I am head over heels gaga for the medium.

But no matter how many times I laugh at a YouTube video, read something interesting on or consult Wikipedia, I think my true favorite online hangout is the Internet Movie Database, or IMDB.

What can I say? I love movies, watch them all the time and I find myself constantly doing searches on the site to find out where I recognize that actor in the third lead from or to see what other films or TV shows a director has made.

Yet even I was surprised when I discovered today that IMDB just turned 18 years old. Seriously. Eighteen.

Now, like me, you may not have thought it was possible for a Web site to be older than 14, since the Web didn't even come along until 1994. But there it was in my inbox today: an e-mail touting the fact that IMDB first launched on October 17, 1990, the creation of then-teenager Col Needham.

According to Wikipedia, the database got its start on Usenet newsgroups and later morphed into a proper Web site.

Regardless, this e-mail, sadly, also burst one of my bubbles of naivete (and sure, I have plenty of others left): the idea that IMDB was, despite its ever more polished look and feel, an independent site run by a small but dedicated team who just could not let a minute pass where someone like me can't find out whether Better off Dead or The Sure Thing came first (according to IMDB, they were both from 1985, but the latter preceded the former).

In fact, according to the release in my inbox, bought IMDB in 1998. Sigh.

No matter, though, because over the years, the site has stayed remarkably true to its original mission and to this day is the undisputed champion of movie and TV-related cross-referencing. Sure, it has a few bugs here and there, but in almost every test I've ever put the site through, it's given me exactly what I wanted, and settled more than a few arguments over whether this actor was in that film or not. He was. Or wasn't. I can't remember.

So, here's a big happy birthday to you, IMDB, on the occasion of your turning 18. Now, if only you could go vote on November 4.