HitlerCities - Changing your way of thinking 
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 About This Site (why it's here...) 
Welcome to the HitlerCities parody site! This whole shebang couldn't have been created without a lot of outside help and research (of actual Geo policy stuff to parodize, e.g. disk crashes and critic censorship), and I'd like to thank everyone who could provide info and opinions on GeoCities (tm). Especially GeoCensored and the April PlanetQuake Mailbag, listing people's reactions when PlanetQuake (as an April Fool's joke) moved its site to GeoCities for a day. Needless to say, the reaction was, well... see for yourself. 
HitlerCities was written by this guy, A PO'd Netizen Inc. (What a stud!) as a result of numerous complaints he'd seen about GeoCities harassing critics and generally being little Nazis. (That and lack of something better to do.) Intel(tm) Corp. has also been known to engage in this sort of activity, so Intel's website may be next in line for the Mighty HTML-Writing Middle Fingers(tm) of A PO'd Netizen, Inc. 
HitlerCities was written to expose the darker side of GeoCities in a humorous and satirical manner. (huh?)  Basically, i interviewed a bunch of people who had had previous experiences with GeoCities and found out why so many people are pissed off at Geo. From these i have been able to compile a list of fact, beliefs and rumors about every aspect of Geo, and created this site to address them: 
The Facts 
  •  GeoCities uses heavy-handed techniques to subvert criticism of its company
It is by now well known in the Internet community to most anyone who criticizes GeoCities on their sites, that if the criticism hits too close to home, may dissuade potential advertisers from picking GeoCities, or is written intelligently enough that it may induce current Geo members to leave and/or potential members to look for a homepage elsewhere, GeoCities will be quite unhappy with the author. The fact that GeoCities Corp. actively searches out and pursues criticism has been evidenced by even my own server logs, which report visits from the geocities.com domain from Yahoo's GeoCities Website Parodies page within days of the site's inclusion on said page. Another webmaster i talked to has also received visits from GeoCities' administration (on his non-GC site), and reports that other Geo critics he talked to had also received these visits. The censorship issues addressed on HitlerCities are based on accounts from Web authors who have been pursued by GeoCities (e.g. their webmasters/ISPs were contacted with an order that the site be removed, bogus legal threats, deletion of pages both on and off Geo servers, or threats of lawsuits or other legal pursuit) for writing editorials that criticized GeoCities, its policies, or its advertising. For example, pages like this one. This subversive censorship is so pervasive that not one, but at least two (and maybe more!) have created Webrings for victims of this censorship (The ones I know of are the GeoCensored ring and the more recent GeoDelete ring. If there are more, let me know...) 
'Victims' were interviewed via email, ICQ and Internet Relay Chat (IRC). Additional information was gathered from forwarded emails and posted Webpages. 
  • GeoCities employs several annoying, intrusive, and potentially hazardous methods of advertising on members' pages, using member content to draw viewers and advertisers
Many 'veteran' GeoCities members feel they have been betrayed by a 'bait-and-switch' where Web space, like an illicit drug, was given away for use absolutely free (requiring only a linkback to Geo) until they were 'hooked', then Geo commercialized members' sites after they had settled in and made GeoCities their home. Said one current member (who wishes to remain anonymous), "If I knew things would end up like this, I never would have joined." Advertisements include a 468x60 animated ad banner (annoying), a GeoCities "watermark" (or waterstain, as some members call it) that floats in the corner of the screen and jerks around when the page is scrolled, and a Javascript "pop-up" called a GeoPop that can cause your browser to crash (hazardous!) At least one former member i interviewed has written a page that explains how the pop-up ads can eat away system resources and cause system crashes, and another page that simulates GeoCities' popups to actually cause crashes. (Side note: This member had his site removed from another provider by GeoCities, for posting the "Geopop Page"--see fact #1) 
 At least one ex-member i talked to has experienced hard-drive data loss as a result of a Geo popup ad. 
  • GeoCities routinely experiences server problems and disk crashes, much more frequently than most other providers.
Well, what do you expect for free? Every server has an occasional problem, no matter who runs it. ...But the frequency and duration? And what about paying members? GeoShops? Yeah, ok, i guess i'd be pissed, too. 
  • GeoCities has a lax policy on spam; they at one time considered (and possibly went through with) selling members' email addresses to marketers, and they do not tolerate members noting that their advertisers are spamming.
A notable incident i've heard of involved a GeoCities member whose site was deleted because they proposed to boycott a Geo advertiser for spamming. Although numerous copies of the advertiser's spam, as well as a link to more copies at The Spam Archive and several emails to the company in and effort to resolve things peacefully, were posted on the page, GeoCities nonetheless called the member's accusation 'defamatory' and nuked their site rather than investigate the member's claim that their advertiser was spamming. In addition, due to failure to act on spam complaints they have been added to a blacklist, and their mail blocked by a number of ISPs. (At the time of this writing, Geo has at least made an effort to make it harder to spam from its mailservers.) 

The Thinks 

  • GeoCities doesn't value its members, or the time and effort they put into creating content for Geo.
The Geo frame of mind would appear to be, "Hey, they're getting free space, what business do they have thinking we owe them something. We don't owe them Jack Shit." However, many members see things differently. "This is not a free service," said one. "We are paying for our pages. GeoCities creates no content of their own. What they're selling is the content we create. We are paying for our server space and our bandwidth with the content we create for them." Members come in and create innovative, interesting content, releasing exploitation rights for the material to GeoCities at no cost. In return, their hard work is bastardized with watermarks, ads of all sorts, etc. without the foreknowledge or consent of members. GeoCities' standard M.O. has been to spring new 'programs' on members out of the blue; members often don't even know what's happened until they get some emails to the effect of, "Why did you f--- up your site like that?" from visitors to their sites. In addition, Geo doesn't seem to value the opinions of members. The "Watermark", the newest abomination to curse Geo member pages, has brought on a flood of criticism from angry members who just hate it and want to see it removed. However, all complaints have been largely ignored and, in some cases, member sites have been suspended or revoked for complaining about the Watermark. Site deletions like these are another common complaint; Geo admins are regarded as much too cavalier with their Delete keys by many ex-members, who complain they were given no warnings or chances to remedy or contest alleged TOS violations. 
  • GeoCities has gotten too greedy; their greed has killed the 'community' aspect of GeoCities that was so key to its former greatness.
Many members joined in the days before all the advertising and gluttony of recent days, when GeoCities was touted as a 'community' place to meet people with similar interests, make new friends, and have fun in the process of learning how to work the Web. Today, the community feel has been lost in a wash of commercialism. Some feel that the commercialism of GeoCities is rubbing off on its younger members, especially in light of a new Geo program that turns all willing members into paid, commissioned salesmen working for GeoCities and its participating advertisers. Said one former member i interviewed, "Do parents know that their babies have become salesmen? Do they know Junior is working for GeoCities as paid sales personnel? I'm not sure I'd like my kids doing that behind my back..." Another likened the program to prostitution, stating on his page [in relation to said program], "...all this time I thought the pimps were on the south side instead of a California corporate cubicle."  Still another said he decided having a homepage wasn't for him when he began to give so much thought to banners, click-throughs and word placement for search engines that the site's content itself was no longer the priority. 
  • GeoCities is dishonest to its members, selling their personal information without consent, changing stories, outright lying, glaring omissions and inaccuracies on their site, and claiming to respect them and their opinions while silently squelching anyone whose ideas are at variance with theirs or those of their advertisers.
The most notable exhibition of dishonesty i've seen concerns the privacy of members' personal information. GeoCities recently reached a settlement with the FTC after a lengthy investigation, on charges that it illegally collected and sold users' personal information to third parties for marketing purposes. This is even after asserting many times that this information would not be shared with anyone unless permission had been explicitly given. The settlement stipulated, among other things, that GeoCities must rework its privacy policy and display a link to the FTC on their homepage for a minimum of five years: 
"Regulators indicated that a lawsuit could be brought against the company over allegations of unfair and deceptive practices in the way GeoCities collected and used the personal information, according to the SEC filing . . .GeoCities is accused of disclosing to third parties personal information collected from member applications, "contrary to what had been represented to consumers," and of failing to disclose how it would use this information collected from its members, including children." -Source: C|Net's News.com 
Another example (there are so many) is a claim they make in their TOS agreement, that "GeoCities does not actively monitor the content of Personal Home Pages". However, according to a GeoCities representative's statement in their Help forum, "there is a non-public set of search definitions that look for content violations." Sounds like keyword-searching and spider work if you ask me. I would indeed consider searching for specific words on member pages "actively monitoring". 
Even their mission statement is dishonest. Here is GeoCities' mission statement, taken from GeoCities' Facts & Figures page: 
GeoCities Principles
  • Demonstrate respect for the individual 
Does "respect" involve destroying their members' hard work, generously donated free-of-charge by members, with banners, popups, and especially the Waterstain, with no regard whatsoever for their thoughts on the matter? Does it involve spamming, or allowing their advertisers to spam their members incessantly, with no chance of complaint or recourse? Does it involve deleting member sites with reckless abandon, letting all their hard work fly down the digital toilet bowl without warning or reason? Does it involve selling members' personal information to marketers, even though these members have requested not to have this information shared, while denying it the entire time? If that's respect, i don't want any. 
  • Foster open and honest communication 
Does "open and honest communication" involve lying to their members? Censoring opinions that they do not want others to know of? When GeoCities censors Waterstain criticism on its own member discussion forum, are we really to believe this stands for open and honest communication? When they remove a member's site for criticism of their spam, advertising, watermark or other things that folks are likely to complain about? What about removing a site (like the Black Background Campaign homepage) for the Webmasters' activities outside the scope of GeoCities and their GeoCities homepage? In this case, the webmaster made a modest complaint to GeoCities advertisers via private email and had their account terminated for it. As one ex-member i talked to said, "That's like banning someone from McDonalds for their involvement in a food fight at Taco Bell." Sometimes, they won't even tell a member why their site was deleted, no matter how many times they ask. Now, is this open and honest communication? Or is it closer to fascism? You decide. 
  • Consciously motivate ethical behavior 
When they advocate dishonesty ... is that their conscious effort to make members more ethical? Encouraging them to lie on their application forms, to use phony names and e-mail addresses on their pages... to lie to their readers about how wonderful, thrilling, captivating a sponsor's book/CD/other product is so that the viewer will purchase it, resulting in commissions being paid to the webmaster, in effect paying the site owner to lie? When GeoCities tells lies to its own members, will the members look up to GeoCities as a role model and become more ethical for it? When GeoCities expresses a blatant disrespect for its members, making it very clear that the money they rake in is more important than any of the members themselves, does this serve to make the world a more ethical place? When GeoCities goes out on a little rampage, stalking the Web to find criticism pages, and strong-arming the Webmasters into revoking the creators' accounts... harassing and stalking critics to make themselves look better for advertisers, to bring in even more money to their greedy pockets... is this ethics?!? 
  • Value and respect diversity 
As the saying goes, "You can do it your own way, If it's done just how I say!"... if having differing opinions qualifies as diversity, you can write this out of the Mission Statement right now. As has been made abundantly clear, GeoCities does not respect differences of opinion! If you worship a deity that they do not approve of, your account will be deleted! If you have a 'minority' religion (which they would be apt to all a 'cult') your account will be deleted! If you tell racially-oriented jokes, even if only to show how stupid racists are, guess what: your account will be deleted! So much for diversity. 


  • GeoCities isn't 'fair' to minorities, gays, etc.; they may consciously or unconsciously discriminate against certain groups.
Not likely, although it may at times appear that way. If they were caught discriminating, the consequences (both legal and otherwise) would be so great as to quite possibly put them out of business. This rumor exists, however, due to the fact that there are so many more deletions (TOS violations) in GeoCities' /Westhollywood(sm) "gay" directory than any others; it has caused some to think that gay pages are more closely scrutinized than others or that the rules are more strict for those members. But of course there will be more deletions in a directory whose topic is specifically related to sexuality than , say, /Siliconvalley(sm) (computers and internet) or /Capitolhill(sm) (politics). 
  • GeoCities uses phony allegations of copyright/trademark ownership, or falsely claims ownership of member content, sometimes forcing the creator to discontinue the use of their own content.
A case like this was seen on the PlanetQuake mailbag. I cannot verify that this definitely, actually happeded (nor can i contact the person who says it did) but the author of the letter definitely insists that GeoCities did this to him/her: 
"I know its free, but sooner or later there (sic) gonna fuck you over. They *sold* my homepage and its graphics to another person or something, but they told me they owned it, and I had to remove it. And I make my own graphics, HTML code, and Java script so theres NO WAY that it was copyrighted material, and I wasn't dealing warez or MP3's. I was running a tracking site (I track as a hobby). " 
So basically, this parody of the GeoCities website is meant to address these concerns in a satirical fashion, essentially curling GeoCities' own pointing fingers back upon itself. 
Finally, the legal garbage. 

GeoCities is a trade|service mark of GeoCities Corp. All other trademarks are hereby acknowledged as the property of their respective owners. This site is intended to express an opinion, in a humorous and satirical manner. It is not intended to slander, defame, or libel GeoCities Corp. in any way (though it may at times appear that way); it's all just for laughs. If you're not laughing, get the heck outta here! The expression of this opinion, or any other, is well within legal limits as defined by US law. GeoCities is cordially invited to address any disagreements it has with this site on its own server space, offering any rebuttals, denials or clarifications it deems necessary/appropriate on a page of its own creation. GeoCities is also invited to contact me by email to address any concerns it may have.  
A Po'd Netizen?, HitlerCities? the Smiley [:)]?, and Mighty HTML-Writing Middle Fingers? are registered questionmarks of A PO'd Netizen, Inc. 
This site and all materials contained herein, unless otherwise noted, are copyright 1998 by A PO'd Netizen, Inc. No part of this site, unless otherwise noted, can be reproduced, mirrored or reposted without the permission of the Author (unless for purposes of review or criticism as protected by the Fair Use doctrine.) So stay friendly: Ask first! Thanks.  

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