Many people balk when they hear that their favorite websites and services probably won't be around forever -- or even for very long. But the simple fact is that the very short history of the Internet is already littered with sites that are ghosts of their former selves. Here are a few:
- GeoCities: Formerly the dominant competitor in the marketplace for offering free personal websites, GeoCities was purchased by Yahoo for $3.6 billion in 1999, but it only lasted another ten years. GeoCities was shut down in 2009.
- Second Life: In 2007, the American news media couldn't shut up about "Second Life" -- especially the positively asinine "economy" of spending that grew up around it. But the concept stretched the bounds of sensibility (asking people to adjust to a steep learning curve just to play a game with no real rules or purpose, except to interact through online avatars), and though Second Life is still around, nobody talks about it anymore.
- MySpace: Like Second Life, MySpace was all the buzz in 2007. Founded in 2003, it was purchased by News Corp. in 2005, but by 2010 it was clinging to life by cooperating with one-time rival Facebook. And an unhappy News Corp. threatened the whole service with shutdown if it didn't stop losing lots of money.
- CompuServe: Once one of the three main US Internet services (along with AOL and Prodigy), CompuServe was acquired by AOL in 1998. It wasn't long before the whole idea of using a portal site to use the Internet (rather than just browsing the web) became an antiquated notion and few subscribers were left. CompuServe still offers subscription services, but it has nowhere the presence it once did.