ASCII by Jason Scott

Jason Scott's Weblog

Geocities RIP —

I am sure we all laughed at the end, there, when one of the members of Archive Team, slaving like the rest of us to yank data out, suggested a link to a Geocities page with a MIDI of “The Final Countdown” by Europe.  The perfect tinny music to blast out of the speakers as we watched a massive site come grinding to a halt.

As it turned out, the machines of Geocities did not die on October 26th, but instead started to come down around 12:30pm PST on October 27th; we assume nobody felt a need to stay up late at Yahoo to do the work and instead began taking machines down and redirecting at the start of the next day. Fine with us – that was 24 hours of bandwidth-absorbing madness we visited upon the servers before their shutdown.

I was already rsyncing tons of grabbed files from all the harvester machines people were running. And man, did we have data – millions of files. I’m STILL rsyncing data from some people, and will likely be doing so into the next week. All told, as much as 2 terabytes of total data was saved.

A nice surprise was the fact that we had not two but four entities that we know of currently who were trying to rescue data wholesale off Geocities.  The four are Archive Team, Archive.Org, Internet Archaeology, and Reocities (Update: And a fifth, Each of these have approached things in different ways, and will likely present the resulting data differently.  But the fact that something like Reocities would slave in darkness (they didn’t know about us, we didn’t know about them) for over a week in insane download orgies says something about what was going on here.

I’ll let people know when the Geocities stuff we’ve downloaded is available again, and Archive Team Apologizes for the Downtime. We’ll have that fixed shortly.

Categorised as: computer history

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  1. hi in we have over a millon of sites backuped , a part of the history of the internet. offers the possibility that your site can survive! :-)”

  2. Chris says:

    Excellent, I wasn’t expecting to see a “modified” clip of this classic movie scene.

    Over the years, I had several Geocities pages, most of which I had forgotten how to navigate back to again. I’ll be interested to see in the coming months and years if any of the archive efforts managed to capture any of them.

  3. darkstar login says:

    Wow, well, it happened. And there were *four* projects working to save it? I knew about you and the Archive Team and knew that was doing something, but it’s comforting to know that there was some redundancy. Good work, and I mean that without even having seen what y’all have come up with. I haven’t had a geocities site in about 12 years, but have spent many hours reading them, and the efforts to preserve them are more than honorable.

    I have been surprised at how unknown archive team’s efforts have been. I’ve seen several blog entries, news stories, podcast coverage, etc, of the geocities shutdown in the past week, and most of it was nostalgic or dismissive in tone, and even those who seemed to feel on some level that the plug shouldn’t just be pulled as it was had a rather fatalistic outlook on it. I was just reading yesterday an entry on io9 about the best sci-fi sites “we’ll miss when geocities shuts down”; one commenter mentioned his Joe Landsdale fan site, long abandoned, and even gave its url. I went back after reading your post here and visiting reocities: sure enough, change one letter in the url and this guy’s old site is there. What a thankless job these four projects have done. I appreciate it.

    I suppose Yahoo still hasn’t given any indication of how much data was there to be saved? How much they’ve gained by doing this?

  4. bradlee says:

    you are all heroes

  5. Church says:

    Congrats to everyone on your epic copyright violation 😉

    On a serious note, would it have killed Yahoo to make GeoCities Read Only instead? They probably served more pages in the past month than they had the previous year.

  6. hey Jason,

    Just backtracking through my referrer logs and I found your page. How is the merging coming along ?

    I keep finding new people with ‘stashes’, one guy just mailed me 2.5G of Anime. Go figure 😉 Anyway, I have seen some sites that we’ve lost, but not many. One nice way to check statistically what kind of coverage we’ve got by going to bing or google, type in a subject and , then see what you’ve got and what’s missing.

    I’m working on a ‘master list’ off all the sites and who has what, this should be available to you in the next couple of days, will be a while in the coming.