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service at the expense of our members, sitting back on comfy chairs while
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About This Site (why
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
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:
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 uses heavy-handed
techniques to subvert criticism of its company
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,
and Internet Relay Chat (IRC). Additional information was gathered from
forwarded emails and posted Webpages.
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
"pop-up" called a GeoPop that can cause your browser to crash (hazardous!)
At least one former member i interviewed has written a
GeoCities employs several annoying, intrusive, and potentially hazardous
methods of advertising on members' pages, using member content to draw
viewers and advertisers
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.
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 routinely experiences server problems and disk crashes, much
more frequently than most other providers.
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.)
GeoCities has a lax policy on spam; they at one time considered (and possibly
went through with)
members' email addresses to marketers, and they do not tolerate members
noting that their advertisers are spamming.
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 doesn't value its members, or the time and effort they put into
creating content for Geo.
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 has gotten too greedy; their greed has killed the 'community'
aspect of GeoCities that was so key to its former greatness.
The most notable exhibition of dishonesty i've seen concerns the privacy
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
a minimum of five years:
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.
"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:
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'
& Figures page:
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.
Demonstrate respect for the
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
Foster open and honest communication
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.
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?!?
Consciously motivate ethical
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.
Value and respect diversity
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
GeoCities isn't 'fair' to minorities, gays, etc.; they may consciously
or unconsciously discriminate against certain groups.
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:
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.
"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,
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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