Ghost Sites of the Web

Web 1.0 history, forgotten web celebrities, old web sites, commentary, and news by Steve Baldwin. Published erratically since 1996.

June 13, 2007's Fiction Archive To Be Destroyed

What happens to user-generated content when the company that hosts it decides that it no longer wants to host it? Well, it's destroyed, wiping out thousands of hours worth of collective effort.

The most brutal, unconscionable case of such destruction occurred in 2003, when C|Net, after acquiring, unilaterally destroyed the collective work of thousands of musicians who had freely contributed material to this site. See Crimes Against History: CNET, to Destroy World's Largest MP3 Archive, 11/23/2003.

This Friday,, a property owned by NBC Universal, will destroy its user-generated Fiction Archive. Currently, the archive contains material submitted by users as early as 2000.

The stupidity of this move astounds me. Some of these articles apparently have a ton of in-bound links, which benefits in terms of PageRank. I can only imagine the scenario, six months from now, when drops off the Google SERPS and an investigation is launched to find out who authorized this clueless move. Whoever did it will probably lose their job.

The lesson here is that you should never trust media companies to treat the material you send them with any respect. Keep local copies of everything you hold dear, or you'll wind up rueing the day. Properties change hands, people change their minds, and unless you actually control your data, you'll eventually get burned.

Thanks to Joel Schlosberg for bringing this imminent destruction to my attention.

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