In a desperate, 11th hour attempt to save a bit of Internet history, a small group of folks have grabbed a huge chunk of the many sites once hosted on Yahoo!’s free Geocities service.
While most rightly agree that many of those sites were spamfests, there were more than a few sites that are certainly worth saving. I loved the sites on Geocities. They were created out of a pure passion for a subject and the desire to share with others a bit of ourselves and our talents. Many were created before anyone ever heard of an upstart company in California called Google and long before there were so many ways to make money from websites. There just was a certain honesty and dare I say purity about many of those early sites.
When I searched for sites to add to Crafty Tips Arts & Crafts Directory and Pet Site Guides I would often look around for Geocities sites. I dreaded the closure and absolutely hated having to go through both directories and remove those sites for which I could not find a forwarding address for.
Reocities Archive, Rising from the Ashes
Enter the folks at Reocities Archive. In a mammoth, nail biting, all for broke effort, they single handedly tried to grab as many Geocities pages as possible. Word spread of their efforts and several others came forward to help. Despite rumors to the contrary, Archive.org did not have some agreement with Yahoo! to archive all of the pages and in fact according to the folks at Reocities, Archive.org staffers contacted Reocities for assistance and directory information.
I had thought about trying to grab some of the great arts and crafts sites myself and somehow preserve them. My concern over copyrights and funding kept me from seriously pursuing that idea. I’m still not so sure about how Reocities is going to fare copyright wise. I wonder if even Yahoo! could somehow come after them for infringement. From a personal perspective, if Yahoo! did make such a move, it would be the last time I use any of their services. I’m not alone in my dismay that they took such a heavy handed and drastic move by simply turning out the lights. It seems like there where more options open to them than that. A petition on Reocities likens what Yahoo! did to the destruction of ancient artifacts by the Taliban.
As a writer and someone who has spent countless hours fighting my own recent copyright infringement situation, I worry for the folks at Reocities that one of the Geocities page owners goes after them based on copyright. From the pages I have seen, there appears to be no revenue generating advertisements on Reocities. Unless the people behind the site can continue to fund such a massive project, it would seem they are going to have to generate revenue somehow. Perhaps they could set something up like Wikipedia where they have fund drives to keep their servers running.
The project is far from complete and at present the site is set up as an archive only, meaning no new content will be added. There’s no search capability and you sorta have to know how things used to be set up to find things. But who cares – they actually did it – 2,367,095 accounts restored and still counting! They are also asking for folks who happened to save the code from their Geocities pages to get into contact and Reocities will be trying to post their pages as well. Best of all, the truly useless Geocities pages are being culled from the pile and will drop off the Internet and into the trash heap of history where they belong.
Today, I’ll be adding the first of these wonderful pages to Crafty Tips – MaryM’s Original Crochet Tatting Designs. I hope the Reocities Archive can continue building and maintaining these Internet treasures long-term.