Seven years ago, my friend Jason asked me if I wanted to work on a new sci-fi/comics/movies site he was launching. With my history on IGN and general blogging, I said I would and then Furious Fanboys was launched. The early days of the site were slow, but then in late 2010 it really started to pick up and it would often be front-paged on Digg.
The site grew pretty quickly those first two years. We’d post four articles a day and then a big list every week, and traffic was pretty solid. Then Digg was ruined and traffic to the site was a challenge. But it survived and did even better than ever before in 2013, with the launch of the new consoles giving it the highest traffic day in its history in November of 2013.
Back in 2014 the site suffered a catastrophic hosting failure. Two of the four drives the site was stored on failed, and the web host wasn’t doing the backups they were being paid to do. Eventually they found a backup from November of 2011, but that meant more than two years of content was lost. The downtime from the failure coupled with the loss of two years of content really hurt it.
In 2015 Jason sold the site, and the others he started, to an investment firm. They took it over in November of 2015, although I didn’t know they did until December of that year. With the redesign that they did a lot of things broke, and again traffic suffered for the rest of 2016 into 2017. We tried our best to keep it going, and a short-lived EIC did bring some new writers on the site who did good things.
On Thursday 7/20/17 the site went offline. The first day of the 2017 San Diego Comic Con. I emailed my contact with the company that now owns the site and he said he’d get back to me ASAP. That was two weeks ago. The site going down for a few hours is bad enough, a day is terrible, but for weeks as well as over the biggest convention of the year? That’s a death kneel for it.
While attempting to get an answer as to what was going on with the site I received contradicting stories. First they said they’d get back to me, then they decided to set up a free WordPress.com blog named after the site as a “fix” for it being down, and then they claimed the company taking over the sites (that I never heard about) messed up on the hosting and would be fixing it. The funny thing is the other sites (which fit the college co-ed demographic better than Fanboys does) never went down and are still running. That made me believe they decided to shut it down without warning.
Running the site was a labor of love for seven years. It wasn’t about the money as honestly it never really made much from advertising. In fact there were times I didn’t get anything for running it. The loss of those seven years of content is the most heartbreaking part of the site going offline without warning. If there was advanced notice, an export of the WordPress posts could’ve been done and all of that work would’ve at least been preserved. With the site taken offline the way it was, seven years of content is gone.
It’s entirely possible this new company that is taking over the operation of Jason’s old sites will at some point resurrect Furious Fanboys as they still own the brand, but it won’t be the same and they’ll basically be starting over from scratch. And I won’t be involved in any way after this disaster over the last two weeks. It’s hard to trust a company who owns the site, but won’t communicate with those running it and would shut it down with absolute zero advanced notice. They ran Furious Fanboys into the ground, and I really believe the site should’ve never been sold.
That’s the thing hat makes me the most mad about this. If they had decided to shut it down, and at least told us that, it would’ve been an easier pill to swallow. But for it to mysteriously shut down (while the other sites remained online) and stay offline for two weeks without any clear word as to what was going on? That’s just a scummy thing to do and it sucks that seven years of work was erased in that way.
The site had its highs and lows, and there were really stressful moments over the years, but it was fun to run it and see it grow. Too bad it got flushed down the toilet in the end. Goodbye Furious Fanboys, it was…fun.