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 11, 2008 Goes Dark Goes Dark was a startup that attempted to meld social networking with file sharing. Unfortunately, as recounted in an article on Techcrunch, several severe technical glitches in the past month resulted in the deletion of half of the files users uploaded there. was the last iteration in a series of projects going by other names, including MediaMax and Streamload: it is not known how much VC money was spent attempting to get TheLinkUp off the ground, but there will be plenty of hardware to dig through if and when we see a liquidation sale in San Diego.

The site is still live but expected to go dark by August 8, 2008. In the meantime, you can see in its heyday courtesy of the following YouTube video providing instructions for its use.

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July 03, 2008

Hello Says Goodbye Says Goodbye

Hello, located at the domain, was an application associated with Picasa, a photo production/sharing service acquired by Google back in 2004. It shut down in June of 2008, leaving this farewell screen behind. According to this screen, Google decided to deep-six Hello in order to focus efforts on integrating photos into Google Talk, Picasa Web Albums, and its nascent OpenSocial initiative.

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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 12, 2008

Conde Nast's Flops, Will Be Downgraded to Widget Status was an elaborate social network for girls created by CondeNet, the digital arm of Old Media powerhouse Conde Nast. Its beta launch in late 2006 was for girls only, but it allowed those of the male persuasion in when it officially opened in early 2007. used an attractive scrapbook-like interface for its members to express their thoughts. Reviewers judged its feature set well-executed, and naturally, CondeNast brought out all the big PR guns to promote it, resulting in ample coverage in Old Media outlets such as the Wall Street Journal.

Unfortunately, flopped when it came to attracting enough traffic to justify CondeNet's investment in it. In fact, according to Alexa,'s current rank of 75,513 made it less popular than, the site you're reading now. So it was inevitable that the plug would be pulled, and it was last week, when it was announced that would be downgraded from a Website to a mere application that would parasitically attach itself to and

Flip joins recent social networking casualty (bankrolled by Yahoo) as the latest high-stakes social networking catastrophe. Others will surely follow suit as consolidation in the social networking space continues throughout 2008.

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December 06, 2007's Failure Signals Social Networking Shakeout Ahead

The social networking shakeout officially began this week with the announcement that, a property developed by BlueLithium and acquired by Yahoo, will be shutting down on January 7, 2008. surfaced in late 2005 as a "next generation social network" whose purpose was to "extend one's nightlife online." Its founders were social butterflies and sought to make the glue that would link the people they met in clubs with online people who might be likely to frequent the same places. It is not clear whether the project ever had a clear business model or was just a neat toy for the founders to play with. may be a casualty of Yahoo CEO Jerry Yang's 100-day effort to reel in Yahoo's sprawling mix of properties, which do not function cohesively and badly need rationalization.

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November 01, 2007 Gets Canned Gets Canned
MediaWeek reports that NBC Universal will soon close, a site which attempted to gather all of NBC's humor-oriented video content under one roof.

This closure is no big surprise. Dotbombery, I mean Dotcomedy was always an overcrowded, ugly site whose search feature barely worked (try typing in "Saturday Night Live into its search box and you'll see what I mean. Most of the crowding on its pages came from ads, promotions, and other branded ephemera, its Terms & Conditions page was long and scary, and its traffic apparently was so low as to make it unmeasurable. This, plus a decision by NBCU to relocate a lot of its unfunniness back to doomed this expensive project, and few will mourn its passing. It joins a long list of Abandoned Humor Sites that litter the Web.

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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 06, 2007

Red Herring 2007 = 2001?

In an eerie throwback to 2001, ValleyWag reports that technology magazine Red Herring may have stopped paying its staff, including former Ziff-Davis heavyweight Joel Dreyfuss, its current editor. Red Herring, it should be remembered, was a magazine formed in the late 1990's to channel dotcom ad dollars to its pages. It survived the Web 1.0 shakeout, cut costs by reverting to a 'zine, but this latest news suggests that it may not be faring well, even with a skeleton crew. The whole affair is an eerie reminder of the time that, a celebrated Web 1.0 startup, did the same thing back in 2001, and's Steve Gilliard called them to account for it.

I guess everything that's old is new again in the tech industry boom/bust cycle.

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July 05, 2007 Appears to Be Doomed

It's beginning to look a lot like 2000 again. From ValleyWag comes the news that, a site which got $3 million in funding from the Omidyar Network (formed by eBay Billionaire Pierre Omidyar), will close in a few weeks.'s mission statement was to "captures community knowledge and make it available to all—information you really can't get anywhere else." Horse nuggets: you can get all of that information from local search sites, local Blogs, and other local news searches. For example: I live in Brooklyn, and there are two or three good Blogs for every neighborhood. Do entrepreneurs really think that people don't know how to use search engines or click on Blogrolls? may or may not be removed from the Web (its operators are still trying to come up with more money). But this begs the question: why launch something like when it's so clearly unnecessary? I'm not editorializing here: I'm looking at the Alexa numbers: never got beyond 232,634 in Traffic Rank. Ghost Sites and the other properties ranks 123,695, and nobody here has any money at all!

It's always been my theory that the vast majority of sites out there funded by VC money will fail because they're all doing the same thing. We don't need 200 search engines or 50 video sites or innumerable community aggregating sites. We live in a document-centric universe and search engines are the glue that make all of this accessible. Why reinvent the wheel, even if you have $3 million to do so? Haven't we learned anything in the past six years, or are we all doomed to wind up in The Museum of Interactive Failure?


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