closure botched

America OnLine (AOL) killed their blogging service – actually, all their Hometown sites – last September and I only just noticed.

AOL didn’t kill it cleanly. They could have offered 301 Moved Permanently redirects to users’ new hosting (good – maybe no interruption to users), returning a 404 Not Found with an explanation (OK – software like RSS readers would detect the serious problem) or even simply taking the hostname offline (bad, but better than what they did). Instead, AOL 301-redirected everyone to a page on their own journal (which hasn’t closed down) to “sincerely apologize for any inconvenience”. It wouldn’t have been so much inconvenience if it had been closed down cleanly.

I was only reading one journal there (Pripensulo) which I can’t find anywhere else, but I’m surprised by the incompetent webmastering. AOL’s webmasters run managing massive (if bland) websites, after all, and if they’re smart enough to do a 301 redirect to their apology, then they’re smart enough to do a useful redirect or a 404 Not Found. Why didn’t they? Don’t they care about their users? Are they trying to take SEO points from all their users and give them to People Connection?

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