Friday, April 24, 2009

GeoCities gets a headstone alongside, Xoom and AOL Hometown

As Yahoo’s GeoCities prepares to enter the Internet graveyard, it’s interesting to look back on all the other failed Web services that consumers embraced only to be let down later.
The list is a long one. Thank goodness for Web chroniclers and historians like It Died by Glenn Fleishman, Archiveteam’s Deathwatch, Ghost Sites of the Web, Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine, and Wikipedia.
Yahoo’s announcement Thursday that it is shutting down its GeoCities Web site hosting service later this year is disappointing. Many people, including myself, now have to find ways to save photos and other personal information stored on GeoCities.
I used GeoCities mostly for photo essays about vacations and other key events in my life from late 1998 through 2004.
What do I do now?
Do I look for a way to port those Web pages to another hosting provider?
Only if it’s easy and free.
Do I download the old photos and move them and the cutline information to my paid Flickr account?
Doesn’t seem like a good fit.
Do I save them as PDFs and put them on CDs?
Or do I make hardcopy books out them?
This is the first time I’ve had to deal with something on this scale. I’ve had e-mail accounts shut down on me as well as services like Yahoo Photos and Yahoo Briefcase. But I didn’t have a lot to save there.
Before opening my first GeoCities account, I experimented with I ultimately switched to GeoCities because it had better Web design tools.
Xoom folded along with other Web 1.0 hosting ventures like and AOL Hometown. Now GeoCities gets a headstone too.
I found an interesting Web page in an AOL community blog where panicked users of AOL Hometown posted notes seeking help in recovering their lost data. AOL Hometown shut down on Oct. 31, 2008.
Here are some of the comments posted after that date:

Is there not a way to obtain the blogs any more. I was unable to transfer them before Oct. 31. Please let me know if there is any way to get them.

I need my files back. This is crap. You can't just close it and delete our files!!!

My question is like those above. Is there anyway still to retrieve my journals and homepages? I tried before the deadline but nothing happened. These are my memories. Things I wanted to remember about my kids. And when I tried to access them before the deadline I was unable to. Otherwise I would have printed it all out. Please help.

What a shambles & a poor show. No one wants to know either. Fortunately I saved my Web page & transferred it to GeoCities.

That last note was posted Nov. 6, 2008, by Phil. Poor Phil, less than six months later and he’s going to have to move his Web pages again.
I hope I don’t end up like Phil.

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