And if you're not a hardcore web citizen, you might not know the reason why so many folks have become so upset about it. In short: a beloved, free service that thousands of people used to automate all kinds of workflows is being placed in a "sunset" phase by Yahoo!
You've probably encountered a few errors when trying to reach the popular social network/blog service, especially if you host your own content on their platform. It's a beloved, free service run by some folks with venture capital and a lot of heart. But recent outages make me wonder if the service can continue to grow without requiring restrictions or service fees.
I've written about this a lot. MySpace built its network on the backs of bands that lured their fans to the service. Yet, visiting their front page today, you're unlikely to learn much about bands you haven't already heard of. In fact, unless you're a celebrity, you probably can't count on any support from
If your merchandise contains links to a website whose URL you don't own, you have a problem.
I'm not immune to the problem. In getting prepared for the new Tenth Anniversary Edition of Grow Your Band's Audience, I realized that I included an order form on the back page for folks to request additional copies. The address on the form is that of an office I haven't used or had access to in almost seven years. Anything sent to that address in the past five years either landed in a trash bin or got returned to sender. At the time, I never thought I'd have a reason to move, but I didn't know what the future held.
When Delicious launched, nobody foresaw a day that it would get bought by Yahoo! And definitely nobody ever thought Yahoo! would find itself so on the ropes that it would have to close the service down. (I'd bet money that the owners think the domain name itself is way more valuable than the social bookmarking service it houses. Someone would probably love to hook that name up to a recipe site.)
The web changes. Control your corner of it.
Your band's web presence is even more important. It's your hub, and it's the one official place where your audience can find out what's going on with your work -- especially when other social networks fail or go out of business. We're now in a place where companies aren't permanent, and the trend of giving away services for free leads to plenty of compromises and risks.
Bands hate spending money, but a $10 domain name from GoDaddy can ensure that fans can find you, especially if the free service you're using to host your pages breaks or disappears. Even if you're just using a domain redirect to point your URL at your Facebook fan page, do this to make sure that you'll always have an easy way for your fans to connect with you.
If your web host goes belly-up, that's annoying. But then you just hire a new one. But if the site you've relied on disappears, the traffic you're sending to it will probably never find you.
[ image by Flickr user Simon Doggett, used under Creative Commons license. ]