Social Distortion: Goodbye, Geocities
Although technocrats have been well-prepared for the impending kick in the teeth that Yahoo! is giving GeoCities, the coroner's report finally went out this week to users, putting a concrete date and time on the death of self-publishing and personal website building's OG. Mark your calendars, mourners: "On October 26, 2009, your GeoCities site will no longer appear on the Web, and you will no longer be able to access your GeoCities account and files." Die hards, sharpen those wrist-slitting tools as necessary.
Aside from wondering where you'll house those animated graphics simulating glitter rain and your funereal, voiceless MIDI autoplays of "Heaven Is a Place on Earth" and "We Go Together," what happens now? According to Yahoo!, moving to their web hosting service is the next best alternative, where, "for a limited time, you can move your files automatically, take advantage of terrific features like a personalized domain name and email, and even redirect your GeoCities web address to your new site, all for only $4.99 a month for a full year." Hmmm. Does anyone smell what WordPress, Blogger, Typepad, Ning, and HubPages have been cookin' while GeoCities was suckin'? It certainly begs the question whether Yahoo! actually believes its web hosting hack has any servers to stand on, seeing that, oh, um, there are free, superior platforms out there that will seamlessly fill the void between GeoCities and 2009.
Yeah, yeah, it's the end of an era, right? 'Cause seriously, yo, who didn't have a page up on GeoCities? Hey, it's not a shame to admit it; raise your damn hand already. It's where you got your panties wet in web development and design and you know it. But in the end, there's not a whole lotta love lost when it comes to GeoCities. We gots "social media" now, remember? And let's face it -- GeoCities websites were eye-gougingly heinous. Any dummy with an internet connection -- dial-up or otherwise -- could throw together an unconscionable splattering of pirouetting GIFs without seizure warnings, ill-placed graphics with bevel borders (if there were borders at all), and tiled backgrounds of teeny, inscrutable images. The onslaught of bagpipe welcome music was inescapable, underscores reigned supreme, and Comic Sans was everywhere. EVERYWHERE. Wait a second, does this sound familiar to anyone?
Why can't Yahoo! squeeze blood any longer from the semi-lifeless body of GeoCities? It's hard to say (read: everything Yahoo! touches dies a slow, painful death). But tears for spilled milk won't bring GeoCities back from the dead, that's for certain. So who should fear the post-GeoCities world most? Those late '90s relics of web hosting sites. When it's finally dead in the water, Tripod, Angelfire, Homestead, Bravenet, and Fortune City had better watch their backs. 'Cause the cyber reaper's a-comin' for you next.
In the meantime, feast your eyes (with caution) upon a few garish GeoCities creations, and cozy up to the Ghost of Internets Past. Only while supplies last: