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Name: GeoCities
Dates: 1994 – 2009
Type: web-hosting service
Fandom: N/A
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Similar Occurrences

For other incidents in which platforms used by fan communities have cracked down on fanworks, discussion by fans, and fansites with "inappropriate" content, see:

For a more general related topic, see List of Content Banned by Archives.

GeoCities was a free web-hosting service that opened in 1994 and was shut down the week of October 26, 2009.[1][2] It was an enormously popular service for fansites in the 90s, hosting fanarchives, fanfiction, fanart, zine advertising, and all the myriad fan creations.

Attempts to access web sites formerly hosted by GeoCities using the original GeoCities URL now lead to a site advertising Yahoo! Small Business.[3]

See Fanlore's List of GeoCities Fansites. For a full listing of articles on Fanlore see Category:GeoCities

Information about GeoCities for Members and Visitors

GeoCities is a company dedicated to offering rich and dynamic content for our members and visitors alike. The centerpiece of that strategy is providing free Personal Home Pages and a free member Email account in one of our twenty-nine themed communities to anyone with access to the Web. We have more than 200,000 individuals sharing their thoughts and passions with the world, and creating the most diverse and unique content on the Web.[4]

Neighborhood Directory and Profile

Geocities was divided into neighborhoods where members could enter and form part of communities according to the content of their websites. Small explanation from Oocities:

Until 1999, GeoCities pages were sorted into categories using the following scheme: starting with number 1000 and counting up to 9999. Thus each neighborhood (=category) or subneighborhood contains up to 9000 pages. (Full list of GeoCities Subneighborhoods)[5]

Some History

Long before MySpace, GeoCities was responsible for a great number of sites put up by ordinary folk, often operating with more enthusiasm than design sense. ("Eye-searing" is a word that comes to mind.) The firm was one of the big buys of 1999, as Yahoo picked up the company, which was founded in 1994 as "Beverly Hills Internet," later "Geopages," for $2.87 billion. (Which even at the time we thought was a lot to have one's eyeballs seared.)

The "Cities" part of the name came from the early conceit of choosing a city appropriate for one's pages -- "Hollywood" for a fan site, for instance. Over the years the site hosted tens of millions of pages, though traffic has dropped in recent years as users switched to even simpler (and less eye-searing) blogging sites.[6]

[Anastasia Salter and Stuart Moulthrop]
[…] (my first virtual “home” was in Area 51—for those unfamiliar, that was once the designated space for science fiction fandom and home to many writers of another important form of electronic literaturefan fiction). My GeoCities site was populated by animated GIFs “adopted” from online artists, webrings links to other preteens and teenagers with rambling, and confessional web pages filled with fandom, and most of my early writing (such as it was) was done in the collaborative, free-form space of a role-playing chatroom in my first fandom. (Which fandom is irrelevant and omitted here for self-preservation. OK, it was Mummies Alive!) Thankfully, any and all record of this appears to have been erased by the death of the old-school web (reader: do not view this as a challenge, please). These websites gave birth to the similarly aesthetically challenged chaos of MySpace, which similarly featured the web-1.0 look of clashing backgrounds, bad animation, and lots of flashing and moving parts[7]

Some 1998 Rules

1.Why do you not allow any nudity?

As we continually say: GeoCities is an amazing place. Over one million people from all six habitable continents, over 200 countries, and many cultures have taken up residence in our neighborhoods. By popular opinion, our guidelines have been carefully crafted to promote the free flowing exchange of ideas about your interests, activities and hobbies, and at the same time maintain standards consistent with the Internet community and the societies of the world at large. That includes not allowing nudity or pornography.

2.What do you mean by nudity or pornography?

This includes images and text which do not reflect the concept of community which we cherish and offer to our homesteaders, visitors and sponsors --- including images which exhibit genitalia, erotic fondling of genitalia, buttocks in which material does not completely cover the breach between the two sides, genitalia showing through clothing, and any other images of an individual who is nude in his or her genital area and which nudity is either obvious or implied in the image.

3.Isn't this censorship?

There are many issues we face with regard to our content guidelines. GeoCities reserves the right to remove any site for any reason without notice; so it is not a matter of our obligation to keep a site on the service. Rather, it is the ongoing balance between maintaining commercial success and viability and also maintaining an editorial philosophy that encourages creativity and freedom of expression. [8]

A 1998 Shutdown

Just thought you might be interested - one of the more popular HL slash writers has had her homepage removed (and all her files deleted) from Geocities by the provider because of a complaint that her page was "Offensive and Profane". She is challenging the decision. I would simply want anyone who currently uses Geocities to house any of their adult fanfic, whether slash or not, to be aware.

Browsing over Geocities FAQ for Page Content Guidelines, their first answers indicate right off that you should only seek admittance if you have the "appropriate" interests and hobbies, and fit the right community standards...which means following the majority view.

Does anyone else consider that *perhaps* "by popular opinion" and "the free flowing exchange of ideas" can be oxymoronic in combination? [9]

The 2009 Shutdown: A Sample Plea Regarding the Site Closing

From an X-Files fan in 2009:

As many of you are already aware, very soon Yahoo will be shutting down its free accounts at Geocities. There are a huge number of fandom sites for The X-Files that are going to be lost forever if we don't get cracking. Just as the date for alien colonization has been set for 2012, the date for closing down Geocities has been announced. By October 26, 2009, if you had a free account with Geocities, your web page will no longer appear and the content, if not saved or moved elsewhere, will be lost.

There are fans, at Haven and at Fandomonium, myself included, who are actively trying to save fan fiction sites and move them to other hosting sites, or at least save the content. Most, if not all, individual site owners who could be contacted have been contacted, and asked if they are planning to move their fan fiction to another free or paid site. Now we are working on the many specialty archives and rec sites, going through them individually to see if their fic is already archived elsewhere, documenting where and so on. But there are many other wonderful, squee-full, happiness-inducing places that will be gone for good if we do nothing.

I will not lie. This is hard, time-consuming, frustrating work. If the number of invalid email addresses is any indication, the number of sites that have been abandoned by their owners is large. But there are options out there. If you are the owner of a resource site in need of a new home, the Organization for Transformative Works, through their Geocities Rescue Project would like to help you. If you are looking for a new site to house your fan fiction, you can get an account at Archive of Our Own.

If you are not the site owner, you can help by suggesting places, with their links, to the OTW archive, Fanlore, so that they can at least be screen-capped for archiving later. We are not the only fandom at risk in this situation so the all-volunteer OTW is getting a bit overwhelmed. If you have some time, or even if you have to make some time, your efforts would be greatly appreciated both by today's fans and future fans as well.

Please PM me if you have questions or want to help. This is my fandom. It used to be yours, I do believe. Maybe in a tiny piece of your heart, it still is. Thanks for your time.

Cross-posting to Everywhere.[10]

Geocities Archival and Rescue Programs

After Yahoo announced the closure in April 2009, Several groups[11] started various types of preservation projects to copy or document sites hosted on the domain.

Fandom-related projects include:


  1. ^ Farhad Manjoo, How GeoCities Invented the Internet,, Oct. 27, 2009. (Accessed 29 October 2009)
  2. ^ GeoCities, Wikipedia. (Accessed 27 February 2010)
  3. ^ Geocities has shut down (accessed 5th July 2015)
  4. ^ "Information about GeoCities". Archived from the original on 1996-12-20.
  5. ^ "Geocities Archive Geocities Mirror / The 90s Archive (1990s 2000s nin…". Archived from the original on 2024-06-10.
  6. ^ Yahoo to close GeoCities, Angela Gunn at betanews, 2009
  7. ^ Twining: Critical and Creative Approaches to Hypertext Narratives, by Anastasia Salter and Stuart Moulthrop (2021), Chapter 2-T2, pg. 79-80
  8. ^ OT and FYI - Geocities shuts down slash writer site (August 30, 1998)
  9. ^ OT and FYI - Geocities shuts down slash writer site (August 30, 1998)
  10. ^ The impending demise of Geocities XF sites, wendeleh1, September 19, 2009
  11. ^ GeoCities, (Accessed 14 January 2010)