It was “announced on AOL’s People Connection blog today”:http://www.peopleconnectionblog.com/2008/12/02/ficlets-will-be-shut-down-permanently/1, that “ficlets”:http://ficlets.com will shut down for good on 1/15. I’ve known for a couple weeks that this was coming, thanks to some advance warning from friends still there. Here’s the comment I posted on that entry:
I knew this was coming, I just didn’t know the day. I tried, with the help of some great people, to get AOL to donate ficlets to a non-profit, with no luck. I asked them just to give it to me outright since I invented it and built it with the help of some spectacular developers and designers. All of this has gone nowhere.
I’ve already written an exporter and have all the stories (the ones not marked “mature” anyway). I have pretty much all of the author bios too. Since I was smart enough to insist that AOL license all the content under Creative Commons, I’ll be launching a “ficlets graveyard” on 1/16 so at least the stories that people worked so hard one will live on.
I have mixed feelings about ficlets’ demise. On the one hand, I’m proud of the work we did on it. I’m thankful that AOL allowed me to build it with a truly amazing group of talented folks. I’m humbled by the community that ficlets attracted and the awards that ficlets won.
On the other hand, I’m sad that I wasn’t allowed to keep working on ficlets. I’m disappointed that AOL’s turned its back on the community, although I guess I shouldn’t be surprised.
So, to all the ficleteers out there – your stories will live on, and there may be a couple more surprises in the works before 1/16 if I have my way. Be on the lookout… I’ll post any news to my blog.
I’ll do my best to keep up with the stories as they’re posted so none get lost. If your story is marked “mature”, I haven’t figured out how to crawl it yet. I also haven’t gotten stories’ tags yet, but I have gotten all the author bios and have preserved the prequels and sequels as best I can. I have a little Rails app already done to display everything, and will be providing a downloadable feed of _all_ the stories I’ve scraped so anyone’s free to re-purpose the stories for their own mashups.
I still have a lot to say about AOL that I’ve been ignoring since I left back in June. I’m not sure I’ll ever write publicly how I feel about the company – because I’m not sure how I feel. On one hand, AOL gave me a career. I started there in tech support as a 20 year-old kid who had no idea what he wanted to do. I left as a 33 year-old System Architect, leaving to go run a team of developers and build really cool web apps all about music (that we’ll be launching soon). On the other… well, let’s just say there’s a lot of “other”.
If I have my way, there will be more news in the short fiction department in the next month or so… let’s just see how things work out.
Also, I should have known the ficlets community would do something so kickass it makes me cry… check these out:
* “Save Ficlets!”:http://ficlets.com/stories/47560
* “What We Should Do About Ficlets Leaving”:http://ficlets.com/stories/47561
* “Sticking Together”:http://ficlets.com/stories/47566
* “Goodbye to Ficlets”:http://ficlets.com/stories/47570
* “Ficlets! I’m So Upset Right Now!”:http://ficlets.com/stories/47558
* “Ficlets Memoir Challenge”:http://ficlets.com/stories/47557
* “Keeping Ficlets in Our Memories”:http://ficlets.com/stories/47546
The thing that surprised me the most about ficlets was the community that formed there. It’s the most tight-knit, supportive and fun groups of folks on the internet I’ve ever seen, and I’m humbled that they chose to hang out with ficlets, and love the site so much.