It’s an old trick: the radical faction, devoid of boundaries of politeness and decorum, blasts forward into the darkness, doing what needs to be done for a cause. In this case, the impending shutdown of Geocities, a site of much derision but also one of great historical value, relatively speaking.
Meanwhile, a second faction, related and conspiring with the radical faction, but putting on the legitimate and respectful face, goes in through the front door to speak reasonably with all the right parties, hoping that rightness will rule the day. Radical faction refuses to think this is the case, but agrees it can’t possibly hurt.
So I’m happy to say that Archive Team member Steve Webb, with tireless effort and patience, has gotten the attention of Yahoo and archive.org (which Archive Team is NOT associated with in any way) and they are all working together now to crawl Geocities. This is hugely great news.
Here’s the Archive.Org Geocities Page. As you can see you can both browse what they’ve downloaded and suggest sites they haven’t downloaded yet. Can’t really argue with that! The shout-0ut to Archive Team is appreciated too.
Along with this information came official words from Geocities/Yahoo themselves about the whole deal. They also have given a firm shutdown date: October 26, 2009. I still hold out judgment as to whether this is the actual time it will go down; after all this is Yahoo we’re dealing with and they could pull the plug at any time. But with the active attempts to get people to move over to Yahoo hosting and generally buy into some pay stuff, this turns the site into a potential moneymaker and it may very well last to that date. The radical faction will assume the worst, of course.
The internal mails I got to see don’t make it clear, but it’s obvious that some of this magic has happened as a result of the efforts of George Oates, who was booted uncermoniously and shittily by Yahoo and who landed on her feet at archive.org. I’m sure her hand played a part in this.
Also, Yahoo can’t, really, reveal “the list” of all the URLs of what’s on Geocities. Private information, say, directories where people stuck stuff and then never linked to it in an obvious fashion, can’t be given out. So we’re still doing our best to track these down through our various methods, and will continue to do so. At whatever time Geocities ultimately floats upside down at the top of the Internet tank, we’ll see what we were ultimately able to save.
Meanwhile, while we were doing this important work, 30 years of history, in the form of Compuserve, was suddenly shut down by AOL. Just. Like. That. Anyone who has information or archives they want to help get online or saved or otherwise copied out, please feel free to contact me or general Archive Team members.
The fight goes on.
Categorised as: computer history
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