By: Rowena Lim Lei
Geocities is the first server I've ever worked with. I built a humongous Sailormoon site on it back in 1997, and it got pretty popular... averaging around 500 unique hits a day during its peak. I kept working on it until about 1999, until I got sick of Sailormoon. Recently I decided to turn that site into something smaller and more organized, but to my surprise I could not edit anything... even with all the correct passwords and log-in sessions. In short, I was locked out.
Since it wasn't really a project I was dying to undertake, I continued to ignore the site. What else could I do? Geocities wouldn't let me touch the blasted thing, so to hell with it. The answer came to me some time last September in the form of a letter from Geocities. It read:
Dear GeoCities Member,
Congratulations, http://www.geocities.com/yuffie123 seems to be very popular and has been receiving a large amount of traffic. Our records indicate that you're using more than the allotted amount of data transfer we provide for a free web site, which is 3 gigabytes per month (measured on an hourly basis). That means that during the past few days we had to temporarily turn your site off to keep the bandwidth within this limit.
What can I do?
Keep in mind that large files such as images and multimedia files can effect your data transfer greatly. A single web page that contains 200,000 bytes of images will only be able to be viewed about 20-25 times an hour. By keeping your file sizes and page sizes as small as possible, you can maximize the amount of page views your site can produce.
You can also upgrade your site to one of our new premium services, GeoCities Pro or GeoCities Webmaster. These packages allow for 10 and 20 gigabytes of data transfer per month, and also give you the option of purchasing unlimited data transfer so your site will always be accessible...
AHA! I knew something was amiss. This has got to be a joke... my Sailormoon site doesn't even get half the attention (or the hits) that it used to get during its heydays, and one of the reasons it got so popular before was because Geocities kept featuring it as a "Site of the Day" or a "Featured Page". What's more, they send me the above mail several times a week.
Don't get me wrong, I've worked with Geocities for years and I honestly think that they are the most reliable free host ever. My Sailormoon site has been hosted there for like 4 years and I've never lost a single file nor suffered unreasonable downtimes. I can't blame them for putting a bandwidth cap on their free accounts either -- millions of sites are hosted there, and we all know that ads (banners, pop-ups, etc.) are just ignored by users and surfers for most part. Like any other company, Geocities needs income to continue to exist.
Of course, this is not to say that I'm not pissed off with the situation. I don't want to pay for Geocities services because I've looked at their packages and they are not very attractive. Frankly, I can get a better deal from other paid servers. But what really irks me is the fact that I can't even post a note on my site to explain the situation to the visitors. I've been getting tons of mails from people asking why I'm not updating, etc. Newsflash: I couldn't update even if I wanted to. I am locked out of my freaking account. I can access the file managers and all BUT I can't touch anything… Geocities won't let me until I pay up, and that's something I'm NOT doing in this lifetime.
With that, I'd like to apologize to all of Sailormoon CyberCity's visitors. It was fun while it lasted, but given this situation I think the site has officially reached its end. Much as I would have liked to make it a better place, things are just beyond my control, and I don't have enough of an interest in Sailormoon to bother putting it on another server.
To anyone who's planning to make a serious website (anime or otherwise), you have to consider that free hosts (and free stuff in general) are fast disappearing off the net. What's free now may not be free later. My present site Animetric.com started out as "Anime Addiction" back in 1999, and it used to be hosted on a then-free host known as animedomain.com. After about a year, animedomain announced that it could no longer offer free services, and told us to back-up our sites because they were going to be deleting everything as they made the conversion to a paid service. Like Geocities, their "deal" was not very attractive and I opted to find a real hosting company for my website needs. I packed up and moved, and I have been paying for the domain and hosting ever since.
Epilogue: Just last week, I got an e-mail from animedomain.com which stated that they are shutting down for good.
Comments on this article can be sent to: Rowena Lim Lei.