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GeoCities was a free web-hosting service that opened in 1994 and was shut down the week of October 26, 2009. It was an enormously popular service for fansites in the 90s, hosting fanarchives, fanfiction, fanart, zine advertising, and all the myriad fan creations.
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.
The 2009 Shutdown: A Sample Plea Regarding the Site Closing
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.
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.
Geocities Archival and Rescue Programs
After Yahoo announced the closure in April 2009, Several groups started various types of preservation projects to copy or document sites hosted on the domain.
Fandom-related projects include:
- the Organization for Transformative Works' GeoCities Rescue Project
- ReoCities, an independent project that mirrors a substantial portion of GeoCities—exchanged URL lists with the Internet Archive during the final round of archiving
- Oocities, saved around two million pages during the final days of GeoCities (20 to 27 October 2009). Searchable and browseable by "neighborhood".
- Internet Archive: GeoCities Special Collection 2009
- Internet Archive: The Archive Team Geocities Valhalla
- Fan History Wiki's GeoCities Preservation Project; WebCite
- Farhad Manjoo, How GeoCities Invented the Internet, Slate.com, Oct. 27, 2009. (Accessed 29 October 2009)
- GeoCities, Wikipedia. (Accessed 27 February 2010)
- Geocities has shut down (accessed 5th July 2015)
- Yahoo to close GeoCities, Angela Gunn at betanews, 2009
- The impending demise of Geocities XF sites, wendeleh1, September 19, 2009
- GeoCities, Archiveteam.org. (Accessed 14 January 2010)