Internet Newsgroups: GeoCities RIP


Remember the web in the 90’s? If you do, then chances are you’re no stranger to GeoCities. Internet Newgroups report that Yahoo’s acquired web hosting service, GeoCities, has closed after 15 years of offering people the ability to set up their own website. GeoCities once boasted millions of users but has fallen out of fashion in recent years. Free blogging services such as Blogger, WordPress and Typepad as well as social networking sites have left GeoCities with fewer users and more importantly, no other way to make any money.

Internet historians on USENET newsgroups have been recounting  how it all began in 1994, as the site was originally called “Beverly Hills Internet,” but was renamed “GeoCities” in 1995 for the way the sites under its domain were organized into “neighborhood” directories – reminiscent of the newsgroup hierarchy. Yahoo! had taken over the site, including all of the “Under Construction” accounts that GeoCities had been famous for as well, almost a decade ago, for a whopping $3.57billion, in stocks.

In April, the company announced plans to raze the service and stopped accepting new users. “We have decided to discontinue the process of allowing new customers to sign up for GeoCities accounts as we focus on helping our customers explore and build new relationships online in other ways,” the company said.

The rival to AngelFire, GeoCities was a hotspot for new web designers, entrepreneurs and general technology enthusiasts for years. Yahoo’s page on why they are closing Geocities says: ‘we have decided to focus on helping our customers explore and build relationships online in other ways. Beginning on October 26, 2009, you will no longer be able to use GeoCities to maintain a free presence online — but we’re excited about the other services we have designed to help you connect with friends and family and share your activities and interests.’

All the data and information of GeoCities which had been stored on Yahoo! servers has been deleted. Yahoo! says that they will now “focus on helping our customers explore and build new relationships online in other ways”.

All is not lost though, as an ambitious group going by the name of Archive Team heard the news months in advance and has spent much of their time since then downloading pages for the purposes of preservation. Reocities, the new project name, has archived over 600,000 Geocities accounts and over 11 million files. Reocities pages can be accessed by simply replacing the “G” in “Geocities” with the “R” in “Reocities.”

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