I first read an unconfirmed report of this yesterday at the Free Radio Network, but I didn’t want to post anything here without getting some kind of confirmation from John Anderson, the guy who ran the site. I sent an e-mail to address at about.com, but heard nothing. Then I checked out the pirateradio forums for the site and found this message from John himself:
Folks, I wish this was a joke, and I don’t know how long this Forum will still stay active, but it’s the only part of my site that I can get into.
I received an email today telling me that 300 Guides have been let go as About continues its downward spiral.
I am one of them, apparently.
I am going to try and resurrect this resource somewhere else, believe it. It may take some time, but I don’t plan on going completely away.
In the meantime, please feel free to email me at my own personal address, which is email@example.com – I don’t think my pirateradio.guide address is accepting mail anymore.
Right now, I am in shock and disbelief. I knew things were bad, but I had no idea this was coming.
This is a major loss to the free radio community. John’s site provided a consistent weekly update on all types of news important to those of us concerned with civil liberties and the right to communicate. From legal issues to happenings in Washington, and the important tracking of FCC activities, we could depend on PirateRadio at About to give us a head’s up.
The shutdown of this site is part of wholesale shutdown of 300 sites at About.com, which apparently is suffering as part of the dot-com bust. Most of the site editors were paid something for their effort, so that means these 300 editors, including John, are also losing a source of income, which is also sad. So much of the web is built on the volunteer labor of people’s passions and intelligence that it is nice to see someone make a little money at it. Too bad about.com couldn’t really come up with a good revenue model to support it.
I hope John can bounce back and continue to offer even a portion of this valuable contribution to the free radio community. I also hope about.com keeps up the archives of his work or gives John the right to post it elsewhere–there’s some valuable stuff there. In the meantime I’ll try to keep posting the news I hear about.