FutureWire - futurism and emerging technology

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

End of the Usenet Era?

One of the saddest spectacles in the history of the Internet has been the slow, steady decline of Usenet newsgroups. Once the go-to place for vibrant online discussions, Usenet was the forum of choice for old-school netizens long before the Web became commonplace. Back in my freelance writing days, Usenet was an essential tool for article research, generating leads and snagging interviews with knowlegeable people. Then, when I began programming, newsgroups became indispensable for helping to answer those tough coding questions.

But like a once-thriving city that has been reduced to a slum, Usenet is now a shadow of its old self, the victim of spam and other forms of abuse. It may well be for this reason that AOL will drop its newsgroup service in February. This, combined with legal challenges to ISPs for carrying newsgroups containing child pornography, competition from proprietary group systems such as Yahoo! Groups, and loss of Usenet support from other providers, may spell the end of Usenet as a viable Internet service.

AOL users, however, will still be able to access newsgroups through independent services such as Google Groups.

Sources: Spam King Blog, Techdirt