In a moment of I told you so, AOL decided to shut down two additional long-tail community products: Ficlets and CircaVie. It looks like AOL is letting their community of loyal users down again by not offering an export feature for these services.
Ficlets was a network of collaborative short stories that users would author and connect together. CircaVie, offers people a way to build a multimedia time-line and share it with people. The announcement was made on the now-embarrassing AOL People Connection Blog, regarding these two services at approximately 11:30 AM on December 3rd.
Kevin Lawver, the developer and creator of Ficlets, shared a glimpse of hope and satisfaction for Ficlets users in this comment he posted on the blog:
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 1/15 if I have my way. Be on the lookout… I’ll post any news to my blog: http://lawver.net.
Posted at 9:41PM on Dec 3rd 2008 by Kevin Lawver
Ron Grant must be proud he is sunsetting Kevin Conroy’s entire community offering in a desperate attempt to attract users to Bill Wilson’s programming lineup. With exception to Chat and Message Boards, online community at AOL is barren and non-existent. But, that’s okay, they spent $850M of your advertising dollars on the Bebo social network.
Again, I’m not surprised … check out my bets on which four services AOL will keep in their portfolio.
[Found via Anti-AOL]