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.

July 31, 2007

Fate of Reveals Limits of Internet Archiving

Fate of Reveals Limits of Internet Archiving
Legendary NBC broadcaster Tom Snyder died last Sunday, saddening those of us who had grown up with Tomorrow, his late night TV show. Snyder used the phrase "fire up a colortini, sit back, relax, and watch the pictures, now, as they fly through the air" when intro-ing his show, and for a while, he ran a site called

Snyder abandoned a few years ago, and the domain is now occupied by a squatter. OK - that's normal. But here's the tragic thing: While the Internet Archive did archive in its prime, it's impossible to see what's there. The problem seems to be that the Flash application run by Colortini doesn't point to the archive's pages, but its embedded code blindly calls the current site, so all we get to see is the squatter site, not the real Tom Snyder site lying behind the splash screen.

I call the phenomena AFOHO (Archived Flash Obfuscation of a Historical Object) and it's a rampant problem at the Internet Archive. Archived sites with Flash intros prevent the content beyond the splash screen from being seen. This is a big loss for Web historians, and I don't know if there's any cost-effective way to solve it.

What's the good of archiving Web pages if nobody can see them?

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