I just saw this announcement today which, if true, will mean that thousands of mailing lists will be cut off with very little notice.There are lists that deal with various academic subjects and have been used for research. Some universities run listservers of their own and may be able to take some over, but that is almost impossible at such short notice.
There are others, like genealogy groups, which have a lot of family history information that was searchable on the Web, but that too will be gone.
Yahoo (owned by Engadget’s parent company Verizon) is phasing out one its longest-standing features. The internet pioneer is closing the Yahoo Groups website in a two-phase process that will effectively see it disappear. You’ll lose the ability to post new content on October 21st, and Yahoo will delete all “previously posted” material on December 14th. Users can still connect to their groups through email, but the site will effectively be vacant. All groups will be made private and require an administrator’s approval.
If you’re at all interested in preserving your history on the site, you’ll want to download your data either directly from posts or through Yahoo’s Privacy Dashboard.
It should be borne in mind that Yahoo! got into the mailing list business when it took over something called E-Groups, which ran public mail servers.
If they were concerned about their customers they would give them enough notice and time to possibly arrange for alternative mail servers. As Yahoo! took over E-groups, so other servers could possibly take over some of the lists hosted by Yahoo!. But if they leave an impossibly short time, that will not work.
If they close it down with such short notice I will certainly be removing my Yahoo! Id, and will have nothing more to do with any of their services in future.Actually Yahoo! has hardly any services left. The mailing lists were one of the last.
Yahoo! developed a reputation for taking over flourishing web services, and wrecking and killing them off. The list is a long one — Geocities, Webring, MyBlogLog, and E-groups.. And now it seems that Yahoo! itself has been taken over by another company, which is shutting them down.
A few years ago there was a group that tried to set up an alternative when some bright spark arrived and tried to change the way YahooGroups worked and almost wrecked it. I think it was called groups.io — you can find more about it here. If you know of any others, please tell about them in the comments.
I suggest that while you still have the opportunity you will not the e-mail addresses and other contact information of people on mailing lists that you would like to stay in touch with while you still have the chance.
I’ve been involved with about 50 mailing lists that deal with a great variety of topics, including:
- New Religious Movements
- Books and Literature
- Genealogy and family history groups (including several dealing with Single family name)
I suppose we can put it down to entropy on the Internet — if there is anything useful there, it will die.