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Our vanishing internets

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That last post about Ric Flair illustrated something we’ve been noticing for a long time: how the disappearance of the “fan page” is resulting in increasing constriction of some kinds of information easily available on the internet.

Google Ric Flair, or Evil Dead, or anything nerdy really…Morty Gunty.

The first result will be Wikipedia or IMDb followed by a bunch of wanna-be IMDb sites that present meaningless, warmed over information. Official, corporate sites with a plethora of informatin but not necessarily knowledge follow.

Gone are all the lovingly manitained “fan pages” “fan sites” “web rings” and so on that we used to happily crib from.

Take Flair as an example. The greatest wrestler of all time, we found a handful of non-professional sites devoted to Flair, but most of the link pages are nothing but a Sargasso Sea of Geocities-era cobwebs.

In theory, the corporate web era should offer more and better information, but is one Wikipedia page a substitute for a living community of fans, all dedicated to making THEIR site the best? Look at the “Ric Flair” Google image search result. Mostly recent pictures from his run in the WWE, official links, some mug shots, some fan shots…disappointing! Where are all those great photos of him in his PRIME, stylin’ and profilin? We did find one very extensive Ric Flair site, but right clicking was disabled to the point where we couldn’t even copy the site name. Understandable in the era of IP-theft, but still saddening. The Wrestling Museum was once, long ago, our favorite site for downloads, and now look what you get.

Or here’s another topic that much interested us in the olden days of the Internet Wild West: The Evil Dead Trilogy and Bruce Campbell!

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Using Alta Vista (!) we could easily find great fan-run sites like Justin’s Army of Darkness Page that included tons of screen caps, sound clips and other info.

Now? You must dig through endless professional link farms and “Evil Dead Ringtones” ads to get to anything you haven’t seen 90 times before.

Ditto for wrestling sounds! Oh what fun we had when the internet was new downloading Roddy PIper quotes, Godzilla roars and all that other brand-new nerddom. Of course now you can watch complete Godzilla movies on YouTube, but it seems almost besides the point.

What happened? Well, studios and so on closed down a lot of fansites, it seems, free bandwidth wasn’t as plentiful except for blogging, and people who had good websites decided to go professional and work for all those corporate sites we’re bemoaning. Plus every celebrity has their own page and those become the #1 resource, even if they don’t have the widest selection of pictures or other collateral.

Of course the Internet IS better than ever. You can find almost anything you want on current affairs, reality show contestants or comic book sales figures within seconds. We just miss some of the older pictures and ephemera. 90s nostalgia again, boy.

Fortunately, we saved most of the stuff we liked back in the day, You should see the size of our iPhoto file.

Anyhoo, we’ll leave you with this tribute to the Salad Days of the Internet:

  1. Heidi, there are a bunch of “old school” fan sites out there, like Mid-Atlantic Gateway and Kayfabe Memories that may have had what you were looking for yesterday.

  2. I’m still plugging away at Flash: Those Who Ride the Lightning after 12(!) years, but it does get demoralizing from time to time. Admittedly, the state of the title over the last 2.5 years hasn’t helped.

    It’s funny seeing how far the images I’ve scanned and cleaned up have traveled, though. I think half the Flash-related images on Wikipedia were copied from my site at some point, but the weirdest is seeing them in other people’s forum avatars or signatures.

  3. Forgot to mention that this is something I’ve seen with my links page. There was a time when there must have been about half a dozen active sites dedicated to the Flash or Impulse, and at one point I was contributing material to two sites in addition to my own. But one by one they disappeared or stopped updating.

    For a while, at least once a month some comic site that I’d linked to was disappearing.

  4. At a guess, I’d say all those old fansites on geocities and other platforms have been replaced by the ease of free blogger and LJ and whatnot. And old .wav sites and the not have been pushed aside by YouTube and YTMND and Revver and so on…

    I’d be welling to bet on their being blog rings dedicated to talking and bitching about wrestling that are just as active and home to online drama as comics blogging…

  5. Being a novice at internet searches, I had thought this was just some phenomenon confined to google searches, so it was nice finally have some clarity on the matter. …AND THAT’S WHY I READ THE BEAT!

    Thanks, Heidi!

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