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.

August 30, 2007

WebJunk.TV Dies an Annoying Death

WebJunk.TV is one with the ages.
WebJunk.TV was a site supporting the VH1 series of the same name. In a message date-stamped June 15, 2007, WebJunk.TV announced that it is "going away for awhile," and that a new show/site called "WebStars" will take its place. The site has now disappeared completely, yielding a "site not found message." This is actually pretty lousy practice on the part of Viacom: why not keep the old site up and simply redirect it to the new one? I guess Viacom's Web team needs a refresher in SEO 101.

I actually saw the WebJunk show once or twice back in the days when I watched broadcast/cable television (today, I either watch YouTube or don't watch anything). I found the program incredibly annoying to watch, and it appears I'm not alone. Watching a television show about the Web is damned boring, whereas reading a Web site about television shows isn't so bad. Hmm - I wonder why that is?

In defense of WebJunk.TV, it did actually break some news this year by finding the elusive Forgotten Web Celebrity Jennifer Ringley, about whom I've written about on this site. Ringley is evidently employed and living somewhere in California as a Netslave... I mean, as a Web Developer. This is the first bona fide sighting of Ms. Ringley since she abandoned her famed Jennicam in early 2004.

You can watch a clip on IFilm devoted to Jennifer Ringley but again, the WebJunk TV show is so damned irritating that you have a good chance of breaking out in a rash. Only do this if you're still obsessed with Jenni or are a hard-core Internet Historian.

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August 16, 2007 Goes Belly-Up

Bolt Goes Belly-Up
It's no secret that most of the hundreds of video sharing sites out there will eventually fail, and we're likely to see quite a few go under in the next few months, especially as the "liquidity crisis" dries up the stupid money funding their operations. appears to be one of the first high-priority Web 2.0 video failures; it was driven under by a lawsuit from Universal (which alleged it carried copyrighted material) and the failure to exit through a planned acquisition by a company called

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July 09, 2007 Yesterday's YouTube?

On the World Wide Web, timing is everything. You can have the greatest idea under the sun, but unless the infrastructure supports it, or the ephemeral, irrational memes of the electrosphere conspire to proclaim it "cool," or some other exogenous factor (perhaps Microsoft) decides to kill it, it will fail, and wind up in the Museum of Interactive Failure.

You can hire all the futurist consultants in the world and still fail, because these consultants and brand gurus really aren't futurists at all, but guys who are simply great salesmen. You can plan, plan, plan, and execute, execute, execute, and still fail because your project is either too far ahead or too far behind the zeitgeist of the time.

Case in point:, a site which accurately tailored its content to the lowest demoninator, identified its demographic with drop-dead accuracy (young males of below average intelligence, of which there are many), got great press, was well-financed, and failed in 2001. YouTube took many of these same elements and made itself a success years later by wisely refusing to inject its own editorial sensibilities into the dopey content stream. (Note: not all content on is crap, but most of it is).

Reality is non-linear and fate is cruel. If some butterfly hadn't flapped its wings in Indonesia, we'd all be living in a world where ruled the Web's content, was acquired by Google, and Tim Nye would be closing a purchase on a $250 million house in Palo Alto. But history isn't like that, and is just another failed effort in a long line of failed efforts that reach back to and beyond.

VC money isn't enough. Brains isn't enough. The best business plan in the world isn't enough. Unless you've got timing, you can do everything right and still wind up as another broken, angry guy in Palookaville, which is another way of saying that you should never rule out the role of dumb luck in creating today's interactive millionaires.

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