Urgent! Fortunecity.com free sites deleted

Fanlore is appealing for help in an urgent effort to assist fans affected by the disappearance of free sites on FortuneCity, an early Internet website provider that hosted many personal fanfic websites and small archives due to its free accounts. In conjunction with the more clearly communicated Geocities fadeout a few years ago, this action on Fortunecity’s part has meant the loss of another chunk of fannish history.

Fanlore is hosting the website addresses of the now deleted sites. Knowing the addresses to old sites gives fans searching for them a chance to recover and access the content once held there by going through the Wayback Machine.

A Google spreadsheet has been started so that volunteers can “claim a fandom, read the instructions…and pitch in.”

Although an email was sent to account holders, many of the addresses tied to those accounts are no longer valid or are no longer frequently used by the maintainers. In addition many fans did not see an announcement banner because it was placed with the site ads, which many users have blocked while visiting the site.

The effort to document the URLs of the missing pages is urgent because they are currently stored by Google, but Google deletes its cached records in a short time if a webpage disappears or changes. This is why many typing fingers are needed, to record those addresses before they disappear from search results.

If you can help, please do the following:

1) Sign up on the Google spreadsheet for particular fandoms. Follow the instructions to record the addresses.
2) Contact Fanlore if you need help with the project, or want to submit addresses but do not have a Fanlore account (use Fanlore’s contact page here: https://transformativeworks.org/contact/fanlore%20gardeners and put “FortuneCity help!” in the subject line)

If you are an author or artist whose work was deleted by FortuneCity, we would welcome it on the Archive of Our Own. If you need an invitation to upload your work there, contact AO3 Support via our support form and put “FortuneCity content” in the summary line.

Please do what you can to help rescue these lost works!

Fanlore, Volunteering
  1. Doctor Science commented:

    Was this an oversight? Highlander is not on the spreadsheet.

    • Claudia Rebaza commented:

      Hello Dr. Science. You’ll need to contact Fanlore at the contact link listed in the post about that, or comment at the Dreamwidth Fanlore post linked.

  2. MeeDee commented:

    anyone can add a fandom to the spreadsheet (along with claiming a fandom).

  3. Sophie commented:

    I’m not part of any fandom, but I *can* make a bot which could alleviate some typing stress, if needed. It would only be able to do a certain amount of work a day because of Google’s search limits for its APIs, but it might still help.

    Let me know if you’d like me to help, and what exactly you’d want the bot to do.

    • Greer Watson commented:

      We’re unsure exactly what you’re talking about. Could you explain what sort of bot you mean and what it would do? (We’re not very computer-savvy, I’m afraid.)

      • Sophie commented:

        Basically, it could do the steps you outline in the Google Spreadsheet – search Google for FortuneCity sites and add URLs to a central place.

        I see that Jason Scott of the Archive Team has replied saying they’ve archived a lot of FortuneCity sites already, though, which could make the bot’s job easier – it can check to see if the Archive Team already archived it first, if need be.

        Does that make any sense? If not, I’ll try to break it down a bit more.

        • MeeDee commented:

          What we have people doing now is searching Google for sites using fandom key words, then looking at the cached copies to pick out the ones that are fannish in nature -not just spam sites or sites with items for sale/commercial sites. If I understand what you’re describing is that bot would help pull in the fandom keyword URLs but we would not be able to “see” what is on the websites (we’d still need to go to Google and visually verify what is fannish and what is spam. We would do that until the Google caches are gone).

          The Archive Team would have the websites archived which would be preferable since they are more complete and not subject to vanishing like the Google caches. But would there be the ability to do a fandom keyword search + the ability to preview and eliminate spam sites?

          Basically, I am trying to see how these two pieces fit together with what we do on Fanlore. I think this is soemthing that the Open Doors team and the Wiki Committee migth want to consider further as the technical issues (and scope) are larger than what Greer Watson and I can handle on our own. But I think both offers are very promising. I sent a link to these comments to Open Doors/Wiki Committee this morning.


  4. Jason Scott commented:

    Hey there – Jason Scott of Archive Team, a group of rogue archivists who like saving sites before they go down, especially when the announcement is abrupt and the site being shut down has a long and storied history.

    When FortuneCity announced the shutdown, we sprung into action and after weeks of effort, downloaded 1,275,000 accounts, from all the fortunecity sites we could find.

    Here is a list of all the FortuneCity users we’ve grabbed: http://archive.org/details/archiveteam-fortunecity-list

    I’ll be happy to provide assistance in the process of downloading and utilizing this data. Keep up the great work!

    • Amy (awils1) commented:

      Hopefully MeeDee and Greer don’t mind me jumping in — one of the things we are lacking is good views of the pages as they stood pre-May 2012, as Google has not cached many of the images, so screencapping is meaningless. Could your archive help with that provided we give a list of the sites that are not archived on the Wayback machine and Google decimated?

      Thanks in advance,

      • Amy (awils1) commented:

        Correction: sites not archived on the Wayback machine, and that were Google cache decimated.

    • Greer Watson commented:

      I’ve tried downloading the list, but I’m pretty sure I’m getting an incomplete version. It seems to start with “.co.uk” sites, and then goes on to “.com.members” sites. However, it cuts off midline, partway through the Ps. (I suspect I hit my download limit.)

      I’m the archivist for the Forever Knight Website Archive; so I made a point of checking whether you have copies of sites we’re interested in. (In fact, you do have all the Forever Knight-related “members” sites.) However, notably not in the list as I downloaded it are any sites from FortuneCity’s “neighbourhoods” or “districts”—or whatever they called them, back when they were trying to emulate GeoCities.

      These sites had names in two possible forms:


      Examples would include such things as http://tatooine.fortunecity.com/darkknight/79/ or http://www.fortunecity.com/lavender/sydenham/314/. A lot of Forever Knight sites date back to the late ’90s, and thus are “neighbourhood” sites.

      Also, there were a few sites with the NAME before the rest of the URL. I know of two in particular: http://akasha77.fortunecity.com/ and http://sensor2.fortunecity.com/FK/

      Obviously, as a small-scale archivist, I’d love to get my hands on missing pages and graphics from the sites you have. I saved what I could; but I didn’t know in advance, and was limited to Google’s cached pages.

      Of more general application to Fanlore’s project of listing fansites is the problem of downloading the entire list in order to check through it. It is, of course, a very long list; and I don’t imagine I’m the only person who can’t get the whole thing to download.

      • MeeDee commented:

        To help further narrow down the examples:


        one of these two? or both?


        one of these 3? or all?


        one of these 2? or both?

        I think that
        http://akasha77.fortunecity.com/ = com-members-akasha77-20120309-141733.warc.gz

        Greer, I right clicked and downloaded the 50+MB txt file and opened it with MSWord. It is very laggy due to its size, but you’ll be able to search on the key name ‘akasha77’ or ‘sensor2’.

        • Greer Watson commented:

          In fact, they seem also to have their list broken down into sections (over 20 in all); and these can readily be downloaded and inspected.

          • Greer Watson commented:

            If you look at an example (say the page for “grab 08”), you find that there are four files listed. Two of these seem to be metadata. However, “00000008.txt” contains the listing for a large number of subdivisions of FortuneCity’s “lavender” and “millenium” neighbourhoods. At 22 KB it’s quick to download; and, although the list is not properly alphabetized, it’s pretty easy to find things.

            However, there is also “00000008.tar”. At 46.5 GB, it looks as though it could be the complete “grab”, with all the sites they got. However, I have no way to download it. (I tried. My computer has no idea what it is.)

    • MeeDee commented:

      I was told that the FortuneCity files will only be available in WARC format. I peeked at the current GeoCities files and they seem to be standard compressed files that, once uncompressed, can be easily accessed like any other website files (html, jpg etc). The test I did with the smallest GeoCities bundle available at GeoCities Valhalla took less than an hour to download, unzip and admire – and I was very pleased. But I suspect I am missing something critical (besides needing 650GB+ data storage, time to download it all and a way of searching for folders).

      Are there plans to make the FortuneCity files available in the same format as GeoCities?