Checking the news wires, Yahoo posts this CNET offering explaining that Deja, a long-suffering Web champion, has entered into the e-Commerce fray:
Deja.com relaunched its Web site today, adding a new shopping guide to its discussion boards and product
ratings. The new shopping guide will include a comparison shopping service and detailed product information, along with expert-written reviews--which the company expects to launch in the next couple of weeks.
Deja and its ilk -- particularly Remarq (which incidentally grew in part out of an old friends Marin County BBS) changed the face of Usenet from a current, living-in-the-moment conversation, to an institution with history and depth. They redefined tech support in the Open Source era when the first attack on any problem was "what does DejaNews say?".
I'd occasionally wondered "what if" a player like Deja suddenly weren't there one day. I guess I dismissed the thought as did a lot of people under the assumption that, hey, they provide a good service, they must be making money. Though I did have some serious reservations about the site's remake in May of last year, which IMVAO made searching much less convenient, much more confusing, and clouded the original purpose of the website with irrelevant distractions: polls, banners, and an interface that was hell to navigate in Lynx -- my browser of choice when I really need to fix a downed system. Shortly aftwards a number of sites appeared with cleaner search interfaces, one of which I install as a local page on my own systems, and Linux even produced a command line utility dejasearch. The Suits tried to impose their way on the Web; the Web responded by lifting a finger. As I test these utilities now, they appear to have been broken by the recent changes.
What happens to the online world without the indexes that we take for granted? Will another player step up to the plate, or will a distributed archive shared among many different individuals and institutions become the wave of the future? Are we wrong to trust single entities -- Yahoo, Google, Excite, Lycos, to provide these resources? As Kuro5hin is being formed in part as a response to failures in other parts of the Net, we find another institution failing us. What next?