Act now to save the hinternet

POSTED IN future web, good practice | TAGS : , , , , , 24 April 2009

This week’s news that Yahoo are to close and shut GeoCities (one of the first free hosting sites on the web) could be a big disaster for the amount of knowledge available online. Yahoo aren’t offering any options to transfer the sites to new servers, nor any redirection service — this has the potential to break huge numbers of hyperlinks and have a lot of content lost to the web.

While there are few GeoCities that would come top in a search, they can still contain valuable information. They’re often not maintained, which will lead to that information being lost when the plug is pulled.

I’ve been worried for a while about the hinternet (the outlands of the web that are increasingly link-poor due to not being “social”), and thought about tech that could link this stuff up (see my failed 4:iP bid based on geo-search) — but this is the first time a swathe of the web is about to disappear.

We need something akin to a Digital Switch-Off campaign, and help to transfer this content elsewhere (WordPress, Google Pages, blogger?) — look through your linkage for GeoCities, try to contact and help any GeoCitiers you’ve linked to, maybe even as the switch gets close copy the stuff over yourself?

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