Themestream Sinks
April 11, 2001 4:51 PM   Subscribe

Themestream Sinks Just got an email TODAY saying Themestream will "close its doors on April 13, 2001." They also say that they "believe it is very unlikely that we will be able to pay any other creditors- including contributors." Oh, also, you have until April 12 to download your articles if you don't have local copies.
posted by thunder (9 comments total)
I stopped contributing to Themestream over a year ago, just after they changed their format from focusing on good articles to focusing on "consumers" - who needed another clone of epinions? (Besides, my articles just didn't fit into any of their newly focused categories either.) I guess I'm not surprised by this latest dotcom sinkage, but I am a TAD startled by the abrupt notification. Guess they didn't feel the need for a long drawn out goodbye? Oh, and everytime I tried to go to their "PressRoom" page to see if they had the notice up there (there was nothing on the front page when I checked) I kept getting server time out errors - something themestream's had all along - except maybe when it started out as Project Oscar and was small and unknown. But anyway.
posted by thunder at 4:57 PM on April 11, 2001

This place is starting to look like Fuckedcompany.
posted by waxpancake at 5:05 PM on April 11, 2001

Yeah, waxpancake, I debated about whether to post about it or not, but my good sense lost out. *grin* Actually, Themestream was one of the only online services that've gone belly up that I ever really used. A long time ago, I actually got about $30 from them from viewer hits. Then they decreased the amount you got per hit. Then they only gave you credit for hits from people who were 'logged in'... there were a lot of 'signs' before this announcement, needless to say. I also thought it might be a nice thing to tell people about needing to download their articles BY TOMORROW - egad. Ah, well. :-)
posted by thunder at 5:21 PM on April 11, 2001

I'm glad you posted it, Thunder. My sister's first contributions to any online community have been at Themestream -- I've been encouraging family members to express themselves online for the last couple years, and she's the first to try it, thanks to Themestream's pay-for-hits gimmick. Now I know to save her essays before they disappear.
posted by rcade at 5:43 PM on April 11, 2001

I've been thinking about content communities where members are paid inverse to ad revenue based on popularity, vs. these other companies who are just spending vc cash. Whaddya guys think?
posted by owillis at 8:27 PM on April 11, 2001

Themestream's notion was a disaster from day one, and I'll tell you why: No one cared. It stroked writer's egos, but writers don't pay for web sites. It simply didn't offer a compelling *reader* experience, because it was too all over the map. Why would I go to themestream, if I could just go to Google?

Working at Epinions, I saw the numbers of writers to readers, and that is a place where writers are "incented" to contribute. Suffice to say, if you're planning on having a user-generated content site, make sure it's not about the writers, but about the AUDIENCE.

Anyway, good riddance to a bad idea.
posted by peterme at 8:41 PM on April 11, 2001

I stopped contributing a long time ago, too Thunder, 'cause I felt cheated, when they changed all the topic categories on me. Did anyone notice back then, how they threatened to delete your content if you didn't move all your articles to their new categories (which all sucked, I couldn't possibly re-categorize my pieces any better than they already had been)! bastards.

Here's the e-mail I got when I wrote them today, in hopes that I would get a teeny weeny bit of service. Ha. I get more of a f**@ing pleasant sensation from my grumpy ass bus driver every morning at rush hour.

Due to the adverse business climate, the Themestream web service closed its doors effective April 13, 2001. The entire Themestream staff has been let go.

Additional information may be posted on the Themestream website at from time to time as new information becomes available. Please check the website to see if it provides an answer to your inquiry. If not, you may reply to
However, please do not expect an immediate reply since we no longer have a customer support staff.

Thank you for your interest and continued support.

Themestream Inc

Received: (qmail 96841 invoked from network); 12 Apr 2001
Date: Wed, 11 Apr 2001 20:00:01 -0500
From: "Bobbi Jo Woods"
Subject: re: closing down

I want my money. If there is any.
Please send the check to:

B. Woods
1235 XX Ave. South., Apt. 6
South St. Paul MN 55075

Also, even though authors SHOULD have the common sense to protect themselves by backing up their articles prior to all of this, I think it's crappy that you only allow
them until TOMORROW to do so.

Have a nice day.

B. Woods
posted by beejaywhy2k at 9:15 PM on April 11, 2001

peter: yes, I was thinking of targeted audience based communities...
posted by owillis at 9:30 PM on April 11, 2001

Yes, beejaywhy2k, I did the same thing - I couldn't find a new category for any of my stuff, so I just didn't bother. So they let the entire staff go, eh? Guess that's not TOO surprising! Peterme - one of the reasons I liked Themestream at first was because it SEEMED to focus on the writing - being a writer, that stroked my ego, er.. I mean, really appealled to me - finally there was a place to write what you WANTED to without having to bend it to the will of ye olde marketers. Perhaps not a focus for MAKING MONEY, but it was nice for a while. Owillis - I'm not really qualified to answer your excellent question... but targeting specific audiences seems a MUCH better idea. Trying to be everything to everyone gets you being nothing to nobody, but on paper it SEEMS like it will make more money. What it says to me is that a site/company has no real vision for itself. THAT, to me, is what really determines success - diligence with persuing a vision.
posted by thunder at 8:40 AM on April 12, 2001

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