A Million Ways to Die on the Web

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This is a list of common ways websites shut down and user content gets permanently deleted. If you know of a website exhibiting any of these symptoms, please tell us on IRC.

Disclaimer(s)

  • This list is very much not complete nor comprehensive.
  • The best way to keep your data safe is to make proactive backups.
  • The average timespan of warning-to-shutdown is 30 days. Sometimes, there's no warning whatsoever.
  • Fortunes can change, websites can suddenly become profitable. Just don't count on it.
  • Death can be sudden and happen overnight, or it can be drawn out over years.
  • Combo death: A website can go bankrupt and be acquired.

Abandoned

Examples: GeoCities, Swipnet, Verizon Personal Web Space, My Opera, Quizilla

Situation: Company A creates a service or buys out Company B and integrates them with their website. Years and years go by, with updates to the service slowing to a complete stop as employees quit or are reassigned. One day, Company A decides managing it is too expensive and not worth the effort, so they shut it down.

Pushed out by a competitor

Examples: Friendster, iWiW

Situation: Company A runs a service, maybe with a limited market (country, age group etc.) One day multinational Company B appears, covering Company A's services, and soon more and more users think "why not use that service if so many others do?", and a bit later "why use any other service, if everyone uses that?" Unless company A is lucky enough or finds a way to keep users, it can soon end its business, left by the users.

Company A may end with symptoms of Abandoned, but also may try a redesign to keep users (this can also cause data loss, see below).

Exercise: Think of some services you used happily back then, but now even mentioning their name is embarassing. If these services are still active (used by a group of "hardcore" users), it's not too late (but definitely time) to archive them!

Bleeding money

Examples: FortuneCity, Inkblazers, Vstreamers, YTMND; Pomf.se, kephost.com

Situation: Company A does "Facebook for cats". Company A grows a small community of loyal cat soldiers users, but doesn't gain enough traction to keep things profitable. Company A can't find anyone who's interested in acquiring them, so they shut down.

Variation: Company B starts a service that becomes very popular in a short time, showing an exponential growth. CEO of Company B (in fact, just Joey in the garage) has no idea of a good business policy, or never even wanted to make it a big business, so as soon as the HDD gets full, he pulls the plug.

teh futurez!1!

Examples: Myspace, MobileMe, Bebo, Nokia Memories, GameMaker Sandbox, Blip.tv, Hyves

Situation: Either Company A releases the new Singing and Dancing Version 2.0 website, which is supposed to succeed nasty old version 1.0, or Company A "pivots" and becomes The All New Shiny Company A. In either case, Company A removes their old website and deletes all of the user data.

Acquired/Acqui-hired

Examples: GeoCities, Posterous, Brace.io, Roon, Viddy, Qwiki, Yahoo! Voices, Blip.tv

Situation: Company A buys Company B, employees and all. Together, they will continue their incredible journey to make the world a better place. A few months/years/seconds later, Company B is dead and its employees are either laid off or reassigned to Company A projects.

Yahoo-ed

Situation: Same as Acquired/Acqui-hired, but the purchasing company is known for suddenly and randomly shutting down websites. Named after Yahoo!, which has a track record of doing this.

The prognosis here is critical. You should make local backups of all of your data ASAP (better yet, why wait until it's too late?)

Personal Issues

Example: ZippCast

Situation: The owner dies, a loved one of the owner dies, the owner or the owner's spouse had a baby, the owner is having a divorce or the owner gives up.

Censorship

Examples: Reddit, YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr

Situation: Company censors parts of the website for the violating its Terms of Service. The evidence for the removal may not be legit. For example, YouTube used an artificial intelligence algorithm to remove videos sympathetic terrorist groups like ISIS or al-Qaeda. Videos and entire channels documenting war crimes have been removed because the algorithm falsely identified them to be sympathetic to terrorist groups. [1][2]

Continuous deletion

Examples: 4chan, Imgur

Situation: Instead of raising a new datacenter one year another, Company keeps deleting old stuff regularly.

Associated data

Situation: If a user deletes a video from a video hosting site, all of the associated comments would be deleted. If a news article was deleted, all of the associated comments would be deleted. If a user account was deleted, all of the data would be deleted.

See also


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Blogging

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Corporations

Apple · IBM · Google · Loblaw · Lycos Europe · Microsoft · Yahoo!

Events

Arab Spring · Great Ape-Snake War · Spanish Revolution

Font Repos

DaFont · Google Web Fonts · GNU FreeFont · Fontspace

Forums/Message boards

4chan · Captain Luffy Forums · College Confidential · DSLReports · ESPN Forums · forums.starwars.com · HeavenGames · Invisionfree · NeoGAF · The Classic Horror Film Board · Yahoo! Messages · Yahoo! Neighbors · Yuku.com

Gaming

Atomicgamer · Bazaar.tf · City of Heroes · Club Nintendo · Counter-Strike: Global Offensive · CS:GO Lounge · Desura · Dota 2 · Dota 2 Lounge · Emulation Zone · ESEA · GameBanana · GameMaker Sandbox · GameTrailers · Halo · HLTV.org · Infinite Crisis · joinDOTA · League of Legends · Liquipedia · Minecraft.net · Player.me · Playfire · Raptr · Steam · SteamDB · Team Fortress 2 · TF2 Outpost · Warhammer · Xfire

Image hosting

500px · AOL Pictures · Blipfoto · Blingee · Canv.as · Camera+ · Cameroid · DailyBooth · Degree Confluence Project · deviantART · Demotivalo.net · Flickr · Fotoalbum.hu · Fotolog.com · Fotopedia · Frontback · Geograph Britain and Ireland · GTF Képhost · ImageShack · Imgh.us · Imgur · Inkblazers · Instagram · Kepfeltoltes.hu · Kephost.com · Kephost.hu · Kepkezelo.com · Keptarad.hu · Madden GIFERATOR · MLKSHK · Microsoft Clip Art · Microsoft Photosynth · Nokia Memories · noob.hu · Odysee · Panoramio · Photobucket · Picasa · Picplz · Pixiv · Portalgraphics.net · PSharing · Ptch · puu.sh · Rawporter · Relay.im · ScreenshotsDatabase.com · Snapjoy · Streetfiles · Tabblo · Tinypic · Trovebox · TwitPic · Wallbase · Wallhaven · Webshots · Wikimedia Commons

Knowledge/Wikis

arXiv · Citizendium · Clipboard.com · Deletionpedia · EditThis · Encyclopedia Dramatica · Etherpad · Everything2 · infoAnarchy · GeoNames · GNUPedia · Google Books (Google Books Ngram· Horror Movie Database · Insurgency Wiki · Knol · Lost Media Wiki · Neoseeker.com · Notepad.cc · Nupedia · OpenCourseWare · OpenStreetMap · Orain · Pastebin · Patch.com · Project Gutenberg · Puella Magi · Referata · Resedagboken · SongMeanings · ShoutWiki · The Internet Movie Database · TropicalWikis · Uncyclopedia · Urban Dictionary · Urban Exploration Resource · Webmonkey · Wikia · Wikidot · WikiHow · Wikkii · WikiLeaks · Wikipedia (Simple English Wikipedia· Wikispaces · Wikispot · Wik.is · Wiki-Site · WikiTravel · Word Count Journal

Magazines/Blogs/News

Cyberpunkreview.com · Game Developer Magazine · Gigaom · Hardware Canucks · Helium · JPG Magazine · Polygamia.pl · San Fransisco Bay Guardian · Scoop · Regretsy · Yahoo! Voices

Microblogging

Heello · Identi.ca · Jaiku · Mommo.hu · Plurk · Sina Weibo · Twitter · TwitLonger

Music/Audio

AOL Music · Audimated.com · Cinch · digCCmixter · Dogmazic.net · Earbits · exfm · Free Music Archive · Gogoyoko · Indaba Music · Instacast · Jamendo · Last.fm · Music Unlimited · MOG · PureVolume · Reverbnation · ShareTheMusic · SoundCloud · Soundpedia · This Is My Jam · TuneWiki · Twaud.io · WinAmp

People

Aaron Swartz · Michael S. Hart · Steve Jobs · Mark Pilgrim · Dennis Ritchie · Len Sassaman Project

Protocols/Infrastructure

FTP · Gopher · IRC · Usenet · World Wide Web
BitTorrent DHT

Q&A

Askville · Answerbag · Answers.com · Ask.com · Askalo · Baidu Knows · Blurtit · ChaCha · Experts Exchange · Formspring · GirlsAskGuys · Google Answers · Google Baraza · JustAnswer · MetaFilter · Quora · Retrospring · StackExchange · The AnswerBank · The Internet Oracle · Uclue · WikiAnswers · Yahoo! Answers

Recipes/Food

Allrecipes · Epicurious · Food.com · Foodily · Food Network · Punchfork · ZipList

Social bookmarking

Addinto · Backflip · Balatarin · BibSonomy · Bkmrx · Blinklist · BlogMarks · BookmarkSync · CiteULike · Connotea · Delicious · Designer News · Digg · Diigo · Dir.eccion.es · Evernote · Excite Bookmark · Faves · Favilous · folkd · Freelish · Getboo · GiveALink.org · Gnolia · Google Bookmarks · Hacker News · HeyStaks · IndianPad · Kippt · Knowledge Plaza · Licorize · Linkwad · Menéame · Microsoft Developer Network · myVIP · Mister Wong · My Web · Mylink Vault · Newsvine · Oneview · Pearltrees · Pinboard · Pocket · Propeller.com · Reddit · sabros.us · Scloog · Scuttle · Simpy · SiteBar · Slashdot · Squidoo · StumbleUpon · Twine · Vizited · Yummymarks · Xmarks · Yahoo! Buzz · Zootool · Zotero

Social networks

Bebo · BlackPlanet · Classmates.com · Cyworld · Dogster · Dopplr · douban · Ello · Facebook · Flixster · FriendFeed · Friendster · Friends Reunited · Gaia Online · Google+ · Habbo · hi5 · Hyves · iWiW · LinkedIn · Miiverse · mixi · MyHeritage · MyLife · Myspace · myVIP · Netlog · Odnoklassniki · Orkut · Plaxo · Qzone · Renren · Skyrock · Sonico.com · Storylane · Tagged · tvtag · Upcoming · Viadeo · Vine · Vkontakte · WeeWorld · Weibo · Wretch · Yahoo! Groups · Yahoo! Stars India · Yahoo! Upcoming · more sites...

Shopping/Retail

Alibaba · AliExpress · Amazon · Apple Store · Barnes & Noble · DirectCanada · eBay · Kmart · NCIX · Printfection · RadioShack · Sears · Sears Canada · Target · The Book Depository · ThinkGeek · Toys "R" Us · Walmart

Software/code hosting

Android Development · Alioth · Assembla · BerliOS · Betavine · Bitbucket · BountySource · Codecademy · CodePlex · Freepository · Free Software Foundation · GNU Savannah · GitHost  · GitHub · GitHub Downloads · Gitorious · Gna! · Google Code · ibiblio · java.net · JavaForge · KnowledgeForge · Launchpad · LuaForge · Maemo · mozdev · OSOR.eu · OW2 Consortium · Openmoko · OpenSolaris · Ourproject.org · Ovi Store · Project Kenai · RubyForge · SEUL.org · SourceForge · Stypi · TestFlight · tigris.org · Transifex · TuxFamily · Yahoo! Downloads

Television/Radio

ABC · Austin City Limits · BBC · CBC · CBS · Computer Chronicles · CTV · Fox · G4 · Global TV · Jeopardy! · NBC · NHK · PBS · Penn & Teller: Bullshit! · The Howard Stern Show · TV News Archive (Understanding 9/11)

Torrenting/Piracy

ExtraTorrent · EZTV · isoHunt · KickassTorrents · The Pirate Bay · Torrentz · Library Genesis

Video hosting

Academic Earth · Blip.tv · Epic · Google Video · Justin.tv · Niconico · Nokia Trailers · Oddshot.tv · Plays.tv · Qwiki · Skillfeed · Stickam · TED Talks · Ticker.tv · Twitch.tv · Ustream · Videoplayer.hu · Viddler · Viddy · Vidme · Vimeo · Vine · Vstreamers · Yahoo! Video · YouTube · Famous Internet videos (Me at the zoo)

Web hosting

Angelfire · Brace.io · BT Internet · CableAmerica Personal Web Space · Claranet Netherlands Personal Web Pages · Comcast Personal Web Pages · Extra.hu · FortuneCity · Free ProHosting · GeoCities (patch· Google Business Sitebuilder · Google Sites · Internet Centrum · MBinternet · MSN TV · Nifty · Nwnyet · Parodius Networking · Prodigy.net · Saunalahti Iso G · Swipnet · Telenor · Tripod · University of Michigan personal webpages · Verizon Mysite · Verizon Personal Web Space · Webzdarma · Virgin Media

Web applications

Mailman · MediaWiki · phpBB · Simple Machines Forum · vBulletin

Information

A Million Ways to Die on the Web · Backup Tips · Cheap storage · Collecting items randomly · Data compression algorithms and tools · Dev · Discovery Data · DOS Floppies · Fortress of Solitude · Keywords · Naughty List · Nightmare Projects · Rescuing floppy disks · Rescuing optical media · Site exploration · The WARC Ecosystem · Working with ARCHIVE.ORG

Projects

ArchiveCorps · Audit2014 · Emularity · Faceoff · FlickrFckr · Froogle · INTERNETARCHIVE.BAK (Internet Archive Census· IRC Quotes · JSMESS · JSVLC · Just Solve the Problem · NewsGrabber · Project Newsletter · Valhalla · Web Roasting (ISP Hosting · University Web Hosting· Woohoo

Tools

ArchiveBot · ArchiveTeam Warrior (Tracker· Google Takeout · HTTrack · Video downloaders · Wget (Lua · WARC)

Teams

Bibliotheca Anonoma · LibreTeam · URLTeam · Yahoo Video Warroom · WikiTeam

Other

800notes · AOL · Akoha · Ancestry.com · April Fools' Day · Amplicate · AutoAdmit · Bre.ad · Circavie · Cobook · Co.mments · Countdown · Distill · Dmoz · Easel · Eircode · Electronic Frontier Foundation · FanFiction.Net · Feedly · Ficlets · Forrst · FunnyExam.com · FurAffinity · Google Helpouts · Google Moderator · Google Reader · ICQmail · IFTTT · Jajah · JuniorNet · Lulu Poetry · Mobile Phone Applications · Mochi Media · Mozilla Firefox · MyBlogLog · NBII · Neopets · Quantcast · Quizilla · Salon Table Talk · Shutdownify · Slidecast · SOPA blackout pages · starwars.yahoo.com · TechNet · Toshiba Support · USA-Gov · Volán · Widgetbox · Windows Technical Preview · Wunderlist · YTMND · Zoocasa

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