Deathwatch

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The Deathwatch is meant to be a central indicator of websites and networks that are shutting down, or to serve as an indicator of what happened to particular sites that shut down quickly. New sites should be added in chronological order, newest death date first. Forward-looking death dates should be added to the first list only. Sites large enough to warrant additional information will receive a dedicated page, linked from here.

Pre-emptive Alarmbells

  • FriendFeed has been purchased by Facebook, leaving FriendFeed users uncertain as to its future.
  • Archive Team is declaring Yahoo no longer a trustable entity. Prove us different, Yahooligans. Or...dont.
  • Going to call this one before it even starts, friends: Legacy Locker promises lifetime control of your data and return of your data to loved ones for just $300 for "lifetime", or $30/year. [1] Archive Team says to just say No.

Pining for the Fjords

  • Google acquired Etherpad on 2009-12-04 and immediately announced a March 2010 content deletion date. After community pressure, Google has decided to open source the Etherpad codebase, keeping the service alive until then. The timeline there is anyone's guess. Tomorrow? Next year?
  • The URL-shortening service Cligs is closing: "On Sunday, 25 Oct 2009 at 12:00:00 GMT, the service will stop accepting new short URLs and will stop logging analytics. The forwarding data will be retained so that forwarding can continue for at least till the end of November; after that, there are no guarantees as to how long the service will continue to forward the short URLs to their destinations."[2] All aboard the TinyURL project.
  • The URL-shortening service tr.im is closing: tr.immed URLs will remain active until the end of 2009. All aboard the TinyURL project.
  • Microsoft's SoapBox has announced it is getting off said soapbox on August 31, 2009. [3]
  • Microsoft's Popfly [4] pops off into nowhere on August 24, 2009.
  • The Pirate Bay has sold out and there are mentions that they will no longer serve torrents by August. If a torrent is lost, it becomes impossible to connect to other computers distributing the shared files. Considering that there are links to it on THIS VERY PAGE, this is pretty dang important.
  • IGN has announced that it will shut down hosting on August 31, 2009. This includes fan sites hosted on GameSpy and ClassicGaming.
  • Yahoo! 360 announces [5] that they are closing up shop on July 13, 2009. Of course, you can still register an account but that's the first thing you're told.
  • Yahoo! continues their awesome respect for history and data by announcing the closure of Jumpcut.com, a video hosting and editing site, for June 15, 2009. A software utility has been released to allow you to download the movies from Jumpcut. Otherwise, you are not in great shape - Yahoo says you can move your videos to Flickr, but Flickr cuts off at 90 seconds. A lot of homemade video is going to disappear.
  • MSN QnA Beta is closing on May 21 [6]
  • Microblogging platform Rejaw has announced that it will be shutting down on May 31 2009 [7]
  • Shock! Repeat Offender Yahoo has announced that it will close GeoCities "later this year...We'll send you more details this summer." [8]
  • Microsoft Encarta, the online encyclopedia with a 15+ year history, is being shut down. The US version will shut down on October 31, 2009 and the Japanese version on December 31, 2009. [9]
  • Coghead, " a web-based service for building and hosting custom online database applications and a software as a platform ‘utility computing’ company", announced it had closed up on February 20, 2009, and that the site would go down permanently on April 20, 2009. [10].
  • Videosift had a combination database and backup failure, losing: "All votes, ever. All member usernames who registered later than around 12 months ago. All member rankings. Your member profile info (e.g., bio, favorite sift, etc.), if any. All activity that happened on the site yesterday, March 11." This is unlikely to kill the site, but an awful lot of data was lost.
  • Several Google services have announced that they will be shutting down. [11]
  • The Seattle Post-Intelligencer is up for sale, the print edition stopped on March 17th 2009 after 146 years. [12] Initially, reports indicated it would shut down the website as well as the paper, but a plan was apparently in place to run a "skeleton crew" on an internet-only site. An activist group is trying to motivate a buyer. [13]

Dead as a Doornail

2009

  • favrd, a website that aggregated favorite tweets from twitter, abruptly shut down on December 6, 2009 with absolutely no warning, killing off thousands of highlighted entries added by group-consensus over significant months. As a reward for their efforts, founder Dean Allen wrote this helpful message: "Alas, stars on Twitter have become mere take-out menus hung on the doors of other restaurants. There are still lots of clever and funny things to read every day, but finding these is no longer a challenge – you already follow your sources. Sites like this one now serve mainly as fuel for emotional up-fuckedness in the guise of a game. Just an idea: next time you see something you like, write the person who made it a note telling them so. Even better, explain why. Take care!" Advice to people who want to work with Dean Allen's projects in the future: don't.
  • here.is seems to permanently off-line. It ceased to re-direct email for some time ago and as per 11-23-09 it doesn't redirect even URLs any longer.
  • ArchNacho's & TortillaGodzilla's Quality ROMs, a site that hosted ROMs for NES, SNES, and Genesis games, which has announced its effective death back in January of 2006, is now finally completely inaccessible, both on its original domain (http://www.qualityroms.com), and on the site that the domain masked (http://home.no.net/qualrom/). Archive.org has mirrorsof the site up through August 30, 2007, which is after all updates to the site ceased. All ROMs hosted on QualityRoms are included in the mirror and can be downloaded from there.
  • Imeem, a site for sharing music and convincing yourself that what you're hearing is good, announced on June 25, 2009 that they were "simplifying" things and deleting all user-generated photos and videos uploaded by users. They gave everyone five days to get their photos off, and then extended it to twenty days from the ensuing hue and cry. The uploaded videos had no way to extract them back.
  • Furl was a social bookmarking service that had been around since 2004. It was acquired by Diigo (announced on March 9), allowed people to opt into transferring their bookmarks to Diigo, and shut down on April 17. Diigo blog post; Techcrunch post.
  • Spiralfrog, "a FREE service that lets you download over 3 million songs and videos, legally and safely", pulled up stakes in the night and completely shut down on March 20, 2009. [14] Things looked so promising in 2006: [15] Oh, and sadly, all your music you downloaded from them will stop working within 30 days or less. [16]
Did we say upline? We meant offline.
  • It doesn't get more ironic than this: Upline, a HP-owned online backup service, is being shut down.[17] They almost immediately turned off the backup process, and then announced all your restorable data would go offline on March 31, roughly 30 days after announcement. Surprise!
  • Yahoo Briefcase, a positively ancient site run by Yahoo that provided you with 25 free megabytes of storage space for your junk, sent a mail to what were likely years-old contact addresses to tell them they had a little more than a month to get their files out, March 30, 2009. After that, the files would be deleted. What, Yahoo doesn't have a spare memory stick to store what must be the amount of files in this service for the next year?
  • Yahoo! Farechase, an airline fare aggregation and searching site, was shut down on March 25, 2009. It had previously been it's own company, founded in 1999, and purchased by Yahoo! in 2004. [18]
  • Scoopt, a "citizen journalism" site run by Getty images to allow the uploading of images by citizen journalists and the chance to be licensed to news organizations, announced they would no longer take any new imagery after February 6, 2009, and will shut down completely on March 6, 2009. Some content uploaders "may" be contacted about being absorbed into the main Getty site.
20090227.jpg
  • The Rocky Mountain News has shut down as of February 27, 2009. [19] We're watching to see what happens with the website (and the material, and the newspaper itself). With a 150 year history, there's a lot of backstory, and how this chronicler of history will end up, so too will many others. There is an excellent documentary about the last days of the Rocky Mountain News here.
  • Electronic Gaming Monthly has recently shut its doors. [20]
  • Culture11 ran out of money.[21]
  • Lycos Europe shut down their Tripod hosting service on February 28, 2009. [22] [23] Note that Lycos Europe are distinct from Lycos.com. Lycos Europe is also shuttering the social networking site Jubii as of February 15, 2009. [24] A Danish version of the site will remain open for the time being.
  • Windows Live shut down the MSN Groups on February 23. They extended their original date from February 21st to give Group owners the weekend to prepare. [25]
  • Home of the Underdogs went under on Feb 9th[26]. There has been some passed along words by the site's owner, now working at an NGO, that an attempt to bring it back may happen. (She definitely has backups of the site.) A community-driven effort to revive the site is currently underway [27]. As of Sunday, 20 September 2009 21:38 backups have been restored but over 1,000 files are missing. They are asking the community for help.


  • ma.gnolia.com had a catastrophic disk corruption/failure on January 31, 2009. From the message on the main site: "As I evaluate recovery options, I can't provide a certain timeline or prognosis as to to when or to what degree Ma.gnolia or your bookmarks will return; only that this process will take days, not hours." Ma.gnolia had an excellent export feature... hope you used it and did the backups they didn't!
  • Domino Magazine, a style/interior design magazine, announced that they were shutting down on January 28, 2009. My Deco File, one of the site's heavily used social bookmarking features (somewhat like delicious for images) will remain up for a few weeks to allow users to save their stuff.
  • Yahoo Pets was shut down and redirected with absolutely no notice around January 27, 2009. [28]
  • totse.com closed its doors on January 17, 2009. As of Jan 20th, a mirror exists, alongside a repository of the totse text files.
  • Ficlets.com (owned by AOL) has announced they are closing on January 15, 2009. [29]
  • Circavie.com (owned by AOL) has announced they are closing on January 15, 2009. [30]
  • Co.mments.com closed down on January 11, 2009.
  • AOL Pictures said so long on January 9, 2009. To their credit, you can still yank your stuff into other photo services until June of 2009. (At least, according to their goodbye letter.)

2008

Biggest Botched Shutdowns of 2008

The full extent of warning AOL gave about shutting down Hometown.
  • Digitalrailroad.net, a photo hosting site, gave their users a 24-hour eviction notice on October 27, 2008. They shut down 10 hours after the 24-hour notice. [31]

Other deaths of 2008

  • Lively, a 3D Avatar space experiment, was killed in a really crappy way by Google on December 31, 2008.
  • Pingmag, the magazine from Tokyo about "Designing and Making things," simultaneously rang in the new year and checked out of existence on December 31, 2008.
  • Mixwit said goodbye on December 27, 2008. [32]
  • Castle Cops put away their badges on December 23, 2008. [33]
  • Google Research Datasets, shut down on December 19(?), 2008. [34]
The last person at Yahoo! Kickstart turning off the lights.
  • Yahoo! Kickstart, a social network for college students revealed in 2007 [35] got expelled on about December 18, 2008. [36]
  • Flip.com, a social network for teenage girls, shut down on December 16, 2008. Users were advised to print out their digital scrapbooks as backups. [37]
  • Pownce was closed on December 15, 2008.
  • I Want Sandy (WEBCITE) was shut down on December 8, 2008. A lot of people complained about this one, while others thanked the site for shutting down and wished the founder well!
  • Yahoo Live! died on December 3, 2008. [38]
  • OurWorld slipped into history on October 31, 2008.
  • BlogRush.com failed to provide bloggers with the traffic they so desperately desired, and the creator admitted on October 29, 2008 that his 4AM idea may not have been so brilliant. [39]
  • Wallop, Microsoft's attempt at starting a social network, died on September 18, 2008. All that remains is a few Facebook apps. [40] [41]
  • Yahoo! Mash, a social networking site, became mush on September 28, 2009, after 30 days warning. [42]
  • Virtual Magic Kingdom closed its gates on May 21, 2008. [43] The amount of broken hearts and anguish over this move was amazing, and a warning sign to any family-oriented site that encourages families to join up.
  • Think Secret was killed by Apple and shut down on February 14, 2008. [44]
  • Uber.com was a social blog site that died. [45]
  • Social.fm couldn't stand up to Last.fm, and died. [46]
  • Brijit.com, a news aggregation site, closed on May 15, 2008. It might be closed for good. [47]
  • Yahoo! Design, a showcase of designing and information aesthetics related to the Yahoo! properties, got revised into oblivion in February, 2008 as part of a 1,000 employee layoff. [48]

2007

Deaths of 2007

  • 'Yahoo! Podcasts, a Podcast searching site founded in October 2005 [49], was closed with no explanation on October 31, 2007. [50]
  • OiNK's Pink Palace Music Bittorrent tracker site with huge user community which cared greatly about digital content and music. Would have been a great resource for the industry to research. Shutdown October 23, 2007. [51]
  • BBC Jam was suspended March 20, 2007 and will not be coming back.

Other Endangered Species

  • MUDs (Multi User Dungeons) are losing their history due to the notability guidelines of Wikipedia. If you want to write wiki-style articles about MUDs, you might want to consider contributing them to one of the existing MUD wikis (Mudpedia, MUD Wiki, etc.) instead.
  • Encyclopedia Astronautica is the most comprehensive collection of the history of space travel. Period. Seriously, the official NASA history folks will refer you this website if they can't answer your questions. However, Mark Wade (the sole creator/maintainer) abandoned his blog at the end of 2007, and the Encyclopedia has not been updated since May of 2008, despite much happening in the space exploration world since then.
  • All of the 1UP Network and related properties were bought by UGO recently, and should be watched carefully. [52]

Just When You Least Expect It

  • Archive Team keeps a list of Healthy Sites that could be fine today and not so hot tomorrow. We focus on ways to back your personal data off these sites so you don't put yourself at unnecessary risk.

Other Sites Remember the Dead

Tragic

Humorous

Eleventh Hour Reprieves

  • JPG Magazine announced it would shut down on January 5, 2009 [53], but the site lives lives on under new ownership. Feel free to download the torrent
  • Filefront.com is closing up shop [54]. The site will be suspended on March 30, 2009. 1.5 Million files and 48+ TB of space gone just like that. UPDATE As of April 2, 2009, it looks like there may have been an 11th hour reprieve for Filefront. According to a message reportedly from the original founders of the service [55], the site has been re-acquired by them in order to prevent its proposed shuttering.