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Dead medium: Ghost Sites on the Web
From: (Morbus)


(((bruces remarks: Steve Baldwin has an interesting hobby. He not only hunts down dead websites (as the following indicates) but he has entertaining and highly caustic things to say about them in his own website.)))

(((Morbus remarks: "Dead Internet Media, or have you, Ghost Sites. Basically, Ghost Sites is a zine that guides you to the rotting corpses on the Internet. All those sites that haven't been updated in years, or proclaim movies long dead, forgotten to the sands of time.")))

(((The following text is by Steve Baldwin.)))

"Layoffs at Hotwired. A bloodbath rumored at CNet. Cool Site of the Day on the rocks. A cruel, winnowing ice storm is blowing through the Net, and many of yesterday's once unassailable Web sites are fighting for their lives.

"Many say that the age of experimentalism is over == that it's time for the Web to grow up and start earning a living == that the world won't shed a tear for the legions of half-baked and half-cocked sites now lying in ruins.

"At Ghost Sites, we try to avoid long-winded discussions of how we got ourselves into this awful mess. We're not here to speechify == we're here to wield a shovel and play Taps for dead web sites. Someday, perhaps when the Web becomes civilized enough to bury its own dead, we'll move on to happier pursuits.

"But not now. There's too much digging to do.


"If you're interested in this Ghost Sites thing, it is a project that I began in the summer of 1996 while I was working for Time-Warner's Pathfinder. Late in the evening of July 4th, while piloting a small craft across Long Island Sound, I had what only can be described as an epiphany.

"From out of the depths came a cruel vision of the World Wide Web. It wasn't a friendly place == an innocent place of community, commerce and chat. It was a great and utterly pitiless electronic ocean that swallowed up sites, careers, and venture capital like a ravenous killer whale. Great sites == sites like Mecklerweb and iGuide == were going down with all hands. Great fortunes were collapsing and proud content sites lay wrecked on the bottom. No one seemed to care. The future was a vast abyss == who would record these days of New Media folly, disaster and despair?

"Back on shore, but still haunted by this vision, I launched Ghost Sites as a modest attempt to document the great disappearing fleet of web sites sinking beneath the waves. This project briefly made me spectacularly famous, and then I was quickly, and completely forgotten.

"By March of 1997, Ghost Sites had succumbed to the same deadly entropy that had settled over the Internet, and became a crewless wreck itself. For six cruel months, it drifted like a despised garbage barge, broke its keel in a summer squall, and finally washed up on Geocities.

"On an icy November morning, Morbus boarded the wreck, inspected the damage, and offered the captain a safe harbor. The bilge pump was started, and the squealing, rusty hull lifted off the sands again. It soon arrived here == in the dark, unquiet waters of Disobey.Com.

"If you want to see the article that made me briefly famous, check out 'Ghosts in the Machine.' I became so famous because of this article that there were women lining up to see me == I felt like Elvis! But then. the fall from grace...

"If you have a favorite rotting site that you'd like to mention, email me at

"Simply email us with the subject line 'Subscribe Ghost Sites' and you'll receive Ghost Sites every three weeks in your mail box."

Morbus (