The absence of Fotopic and the reaction of the blogosphere

The online photo gallery service Fotopic has been offline since the 2nd January which immediately gave rise to speculation about Fotopic’s demise. Although nothing official has been forthcoming, e-mails forwarded to forums purported from Fotopic’s former owner and others indicate a technical issue with the site’s host Kingston Communications. Contradicting this line are a number of blog and forum posts from other sources claiming all is not well and that the plug has been pulled on the Fotopic website by KC.

What the outage of one website has gone to show is that the blogosphere and online fora more widely are insatiable for news. We’re talking about a 24-hour, worldwide network of users and publishing outlets operating at an astonishing pace. Three days without news and furthermore access to thousands of users’ photo galleries has led to some considerable concern and consternation already. When official word is absent and everyone can hypothethise, the rumour-mill steps in and it becomes extremely fogged as to what is actually taking place.

It’s at these times that I turn to the greater authorities on news in their area. The absence of coverage by any sources on Newsnow or on that authority of tech The Register make me hesistent to draw conclusions about Fotopic’s fate just yet. Although even established news sources are occasionally led astray by speculation (normally to plenty of coverage and criticism itself), on the whole they’ll only report news that’s fairly solidly established.

Of course the average blogger on the -sphere isn’t a trained, discerning journalist. On the contrary, there’s much interest and entertainment to be found on rumour and speculation websites, and the net would indeed be a poorer place without that. However danger exists for the reader, especially in such a case as this where many interested parties exist who may have to shortly decide on their next course of action. Are there hard worked-over photo galleries about to reappear as quickly as they vanished, or are they going to have to contemplate recovering or reconstructing their galleries?

It’s easy to jump to a decision, however when cost and time are involved, the sensible course of action as present would be to hold off until at least tomorrow when the new working year should present some official news as to what’s happening. With luck Fotopic shall return, however either way many net users with hosted content can take this opportunity to consider the backing up of their content. Although web content can often be recovered in part, it’s also sufficiently detached from users’ PCs that a great amount of data can be lost spectacularly easily. Be prepared and don’t automatically rely on that website hosting your data always being around.

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