And so it begins…

Closed signOne Monday morning, I went to run a workshop at Wellington College for a group of teachers on a range of web 2.0 tools. I opened up my http://learningweb2.wikispaces.com site and during the course of the morning went to go to where I have all my blog collections so that I could pull up secondary school examples. On my ‘Finding blogs’ page I was in for a nasty shock – all of the feeds that I had aggregated using a tool called RSS Mixer were no longer there. When I visited the site, there was a message that it had closed down 15 days earlier taking all my feed collections with it! I had spent quite a long time putting these together so this was obviously not the best news!! I have messaged them on Twitter but so far have heard nothing back.

One of the tools I talked about when at the workshop was a favourite I had picked up from Lenva called CircaVie from AOL. I received an email today from Mark Callagher who organised the workshop to say that there was a message on the site saying it is closing on the 15th January. I head there tonight and sure enough this is the case. There is a similar tool out there called ‘Our Story‘ which I hope I can use instead but I am starting to feel as if the ground is not that solid anymore beneath the web 2.0 movement.

Basically, a lot of these sites are starting to look rather less than stable – even with larger companies like AOL behind them. I wonder how many more will topple with the credit crisis in full swing. Or would these have pinged out of existence without the current financial climate. This is one of the definite drawbacks to using web 2.0 tools – you can’t be sure that they will still be running next month!

Just to top off all of this bad news, the announcement has been made that VoiceThread is no longer allowing multiple logins at the same time on the same account. Say goodbye to the ability to have kids logged into a single account using the sub identiies to switch to a different picture at the same time as other kids. Now you will need to have multiple accounts for them to log in with to have them working on a VoiceThread at the same time.

Hmmm….lucky that Christmas is coming up to cheer everyone up 🙂  To make up for this bah humbug post I will do something extremely upbeat before Christmas (now I just have to figure out what!)

Do you know of any other online tools that are closing up shop? Do you think this is directly related to the financial crisis?

Flickr image by Gaetan Lee

9 thoughts on “And so it begins…

  1. That’s such a bummer Suzie and bad form that you didn’t get an opportunity to do something with your feed collection prior to them pulling the plug – a bit of a warning would be nice, as would a response to your request for help. Let’s hope this actually isn’t a sign of the times.

  2. Hi Suzie,
    Sadly, I don’t think this will be the last of these types of situations.
    I was also very sad to read the story of the school using Google Lively, which is due to cease operation on 31st December. http://digiteendreamteam.blogspot.com/2008/12/in-google-we-trusted-and-now-our.html
    There seems to be a little uncertainty now about “the cloud” and I know it’s making me a little nervous! Even the simple situation I was faced with the other day, where I lost my “to-do’s” from my iGoogle page, was enough to make me nervous! I can only imagine how others must feel who have lost a great deal more of their work.

  3. This week I was looking through my electronic wallet – yes a program on my PC to keep track of passwords, accounts, etc.

    While looking thtough it I decided to “clean up”. More than a 1,000 password for sites is not right. And sure enough, most of those “services” are no longer available.

    Beta seems to be changed from “please test our pre-production code” to “please test our business plan and perhaps even tell us how to make money out of this thing because we don’t know how and our investors want their money back soon”.

    Many of those site just redirected to spam pages full of ads.

    That’s one of the reasons why I rather have my password file on my PC than “on the cloud”.

    Seriously, free services don’t work. People (consumers) don’t want to pay for services, and “free” can’t survive for long while “free”…

  4. Hi Suzie

    This is indeed the risk of web 2 apps. I read recently that the average web 2 application has a life span of 90 days. You have to pick them I guess and do regular back ups of your posts and other data.
    I look for the stable ones like:
    -delicious
    -wikispaces or wetpaint
    -any google product (mind you they eat other web 2 start ups like Jotspot)
    -ning
    For a while it looked like twitter was going to go the same way.

    Free services are great, but they do have overheads to meet and with the downturn, the advertising dollar is harder to get and marginal services will struggle.

    When did you last back up your wiki? blog? bookmarks?

  5. That’s a shock for you. I guess one of the good reasons for playing around with new stuff is also having things on ‘old’ stuff – for example if I start playing around with a different RSS reader I don’t get rid of my old reliable one.

    I also take snapshots of pages and information so that if the actual thing disappears on me (I’ve had whole websites go belly up) I at least have a snapshot of what it looks like or what was there.

    I am, however, shocking at backing up my blogs & wiki. (Shudder – my livejournal was started in 2003!)

  6. Thanks for all the comments. Yes – I did think that a warning email would have been a nice gesture by RSS Mixer. I have had that kind of email from other providers so I guess I assumed it would be standard practice. I guess with many of my embeds, I don’t often visit the actual site anymore so would miss seeing warning messages there.

    I have the bulk of my stuff in places that I consider safe eg Google (but then look at what did happen to Lively), Flickr, Wikispaces (which I consider very robust and they would send out an email if they were to pop off I am sure), Slideshare and Scribd. Most of my RSS feeds are in Google Reader – I just happened to create feed mixes directly into RSS Mixer this one time. I will know from now on not to count on email notifications!

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  9. Mmmm! I was thinking of moving my blog from Edublogs because of the advertising on it but I have no idea how to go about it and even if I could I wouldn’t know where else to put it. I may just have to pay out some of my own money to stop the ads. There’s no such thing as a free lunch I suppose.

    Merry Christmas