Journalspace: Going, Going, Gone!

It took all of a few seconds for an entire company and it’s 16,000 bloggers to disappear.  Now they’re gone forever.  Click Read More to see more, including an interesting note about one of the affected journalspace bloggers, who is actually quite famous among bloggers.
According to posts on what’s left of journalspace.com’s website, the owner of the company relied on a single individual for his IT and backup system.  This person, whose hobbies included ” telling everybody how smart he was,” felt that mirroring was a good enough backup system.  Then one day (perhaps due to a malicious attack, but they’re not sure), the SQL database behind 16,000 bloggers sites was overwritten.  Since it was overwritten, the mirroring software copied that as well.  Journalspace’s owner sent the drive to drivesavers, and they informed him that the data was unrecoverable.  The drives were fine.  The data was just gone.

After six years in business, the company ceased to exist in a matter of seconds.  By the way, the same thing happened to another blogging site two years ago.

One of the bloggers impacted was none other than Ellen Simonetti, someone who became famous for being fired by Delta Airlines because they didn’t like what the saw on her personal blog. According to the Wikipedia article, nSimonetti has discussed personal blogging rights on The Montel Williams Show [11]and the Larry Elder show.[12] She set up a Bloggers Rights petition[13] and was a founding member of the Committee to Protect Bloggers.[13]

Hopefully, one of the rights she will now cover is the right to a good backup. 😉

What lessons can we learn from this?

  1. Get third-party verification of your backup system.  Your IT person may be dumb enough to think that RAID = backup.  If you’re interested in an assessment of what your company is doing in the backup arena, I happen to be available.
  2. If you’re going to use hosted blogging sites (or any other site like that), keep your own copy — at least once in a while.  There are ways to back up such sites.  You just have to DO IT.
  3. If you do lose a site like this, you might be able to restore some of your stuff using web.archive.org or google cached copies of your site.  (Search on site:sitename on Google and select “Cached copy.”)  If you want to use this method, do it quickly, as Google deletes their cache quickly.

I feel really bad for all those who lost their blogs that day.  Don’t let it happen to you, too.

----- Signature and Disclaimer -----

Written by W. Curtis Preston (@wcpreston). For those of you unfamiliar with my work, I've specialized in backup & recovery since 1993. I've written the O'Reilly books on backup and have worked with a number of native and commercial tools. I am now Chief Technical Architect at Druva, the leading provider of cloud-based data protection and data management tools for endpoints, infrastructure, and cloud applications. These posts reflect my own opinion and are not necessarily the opinion of my employer.

3 thoughts on “Journalspace: Going, Going, Gone!

  1. JL1 says:

    This story is an important reminder of the importance of backups. Working for a data protection company and being a self-hosted blogger, I am acutely aware of the importance of this. One suggestion for backing up personal blogs is to use a blog engines ability to email a blog backup. You can then send the backups to your Yahoo or gmail account. This will allow you to keep numerous copies in a protected location. I do this an am happy with results.

  2. jimd says:

    This is not only an example a major IT blunder but another reminder of how ephemeral the digital world can be. Entire histories can disappear instantly. Kind of scary, really.

  3. stu52 says:

    Oh how quickly things can go from bad to worse. I’m sure that the owner thought he was in good hands based upon the assurances of his lone IT guy. So, the owner loses the business and the IT guy is now out of work.

    I wonder if they both have the backup “religion” now?

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