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.

February 04, 2008, Pioneering Podcasting Site, Falls Silent, Pioneering Podcasting Site, Falls Silent, "a free mp3zine / podcast for the hip-clectic crowd" has gone silent. Launched in early 2005, DailySonic uploaded device-agnostic MP3 files whose content was an NPR-like mix of news, narration, and licensed underground music content.

DailySonic's four New York-based founders, Aaron Taylor Waldman, Adam Varga, Anni Katz, and Isaac Dolom, didn't seem to care too much about whether ever made money; they just wanted to do something cool on the Web, and it was precisely this quality that gave DailySonic purchase with its listeners. Unfortunately, the Web's very voraciousness augers against the pure of heart; the fun and cool can turn into a hellish grind in just a few months, unless of course, one can motivate people through fear or greed, which usually destroys friendships. Perhaps the four friends decided that they wouldn't let a Web site get between them.

Sadly, nothing remains of DailySonic's quirky podcasts, so it will be impossible for the world to know just how cool this site really was.

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January 27, 2008, Influential Cyber-Culture Blog, Has Not Been Updated Since November, 2006, a venerable New York-based cyber-culture ezine that went live in 1999, has been lying in a state of suspended animation for fourteen months, leading observers to believe that it has posted its last story. Founded by Donald Melanson, a self-described "media junkie and technological inquisitor," faithfully chronicled the rise of cyber-culture with the aid of a stable of high-profile contributing writers, including Justin Hall and Cory Doctorow.

As recently as November, 2007, the site contained a notice that the site was "retooling and should be ready to go in a few weeks" but no signs of life have emerged from the servers of since that time. The site might still rise from its current coma; but because this seems unlikely, we award it our "Dead But Well Preserved" award.

Ghostie Award: Site is Dead But Well PreservedThree Ghosties (Site is Dead, But Well-Preserved)

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July 11, 2007

Attack of the Zombies: The Industry Standard Refuses to Die

The Industry Standard Refuses to DieThe Industry Standard was once the technology's biggest trade magazine, and by the late 1990's was a fat, profitable venture some termed "The Bible of the Tech Industry." If you wanted to be a New Economy player, you advertised in it, got your company covered in it, and schmoozed with its staff. At its peak in 2000, 400 employees worked for the magazine, churning out content supporting a yearly total of 7,500 ad pages, a U.S. publishing industry record.

In 2000, the dotcom meltdown began, advertising tanked, and the magazine folded with a loud bang in August of 2001, going into bankruptcy like many of New Economy startups it covered. Its assets were sold at auction and even its Web site became a ghost.

In 2004, an effort was made to revive the franchise, and a Blog section with 21 contributors was launched in August 2004. By January, 2005, these Bloggers had run out of steam, and the site has lain fallow for more than three years; only one article has been posted since that time, in January of 2007.

It's curious that the Standard even remains online. Perhaps whoever owns it hopes that the dotcom market becomes exuberantly irrational again. This may well happen in a few months, if decides to follow through with its crazy plan to do an IPO.

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