Websites come and go, but what about your login details? – British Columbia Catholic

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Recently, I decided to take stock of the different websites for which I have an access account, consisting either of a user name and a password, or, more commonly, of an e-mail address and a password.

This was driven in part by my intention to test 1Password, a Canada-based password management service, but also by the need to address the nasty habit of reusing certain passwords across multiple sites.

For over a decade I have been using a UK product, My1Login, as my password manager. I’ll wait for a comparison of the two password services for now and instead focus on another aspect that emerged when I started testing 1Password.

While attempting to test 1Password, I discovered that I had 232 segregated accounts stored in my long-standing management program. These covered a wide range of areas, from home services (banks, utilities, etc.), education sites (mainly for physics and IT) and leisure sites (amateur radio, space, weather, etc.).

With the very first site I tested, I realized that, as is the case with brick and mortar companies, some of these web services have been shut down, possibly after going bankrupt. What I was not prepared for was the large number of sites in my password manager that no longer existed.

Fifty sites! And I’m not quite done reviewing all 232 of my sites. 50 sites disappeared, taking with them my username / email address and a password, maybe for some even a date of birth. In some cases of cloud storage services, they also took the data that I was storing with them. None of this lost data was of particular importance, as I was only testing these storage sites.

So here is a small selection of the now over 50 sites that I had accounts for at one time and which have now been forgotten, or in a small number of cases, have completely changed their names:

  • 1CheapDomains: A very old web domain registrar based in Australia.
  • Songza: A once very popular Canadian music service that was acquired by Google.
  • Boxee.tv: a very early streaming service built around a uniquely shaped “box”. Acquired by Samsung and closed.
  • Snap.vu: a first QR code generation site.
  • Wikispaces: a service once very popular with educators, closed in 2019.
  • CinemaNow: One of the first video-on-demand streaming services that closed in 2017. CinemaNow began in 1999, more than a decade before Netflix began broadcasting in Canada.
  • Grooveshark: A premier music streaming service, shut down after repeated legal action.
  • Google Music, also known as Google Play Music, has stopped and replaced with YouTube Music.
  • Klout: Social media influencer site that gave freebies to those with high Klout scores.
  • LMS Lectrio: a learning management service for schools. The domain name is for sale for $ 5,000.
  • Mozy: a cloud storage service. His domain name is now parked.
  • Raditaz: another music service, which was briefly very popular for not having song skip limits.
  • Shelfari: social cataloging site built around a virtual library.
  • ShoeboxApp aka MyShoeBox: Photo storage service: Send photos, slides and videos to a shoebox, and the company would digitize the analog content.
  • YouSendIt (now working as Hightail) for transferring large files, especially large image files.
  • Youblisher: a first online publication service.
  • Vizify: to turn social media posts, especially tweets, into visual presentations. Very popular for a while, especially with educators.
  • Treo.ca: Remember the toll agency for the Port Mann Bridge?
  • Tackk.com: One page instant website service. Good at the time but difficult to monetize.
  • Jux.com: site and service for the rapid creation of web pages.
  • Delicious.com: favorites management service.
  • PhotoPeach.com: Image sharing site, still “live” but with a notice indicating that the service has ended because Flash Player has been discontinued.
  • Hitbox.tv: Live esports streaming service. Closed in 2017.
  • Cubby.com: Cloud storage site, a Dropbox clone, closed by owner LogMeIn in 2016.
  • Instagrok.com: graphical search engine for learners.
  • Skydrive.com: Microsoft’s one-stop cloud storage service had to be renamed after a dispute with another company associated with the Sky brand. Lives as OneDrive.
  • Bitcasa.com: Another cloud storage company that has faltered.
  • Rdio.com: A music streaming service that was once available in 85 countries. Bankruptcy in 2015.
  • Symantec.com: Formerly a big name in computer security, split into an enterprise division, acquired by Broadcom, and a consumer division, renamed NortonLifeLock.

You got the idea. There is no shortage of once vibrant Internet properties that no longer exist. Who knows what happens to customer databases when these businesses go out of business or go bankrupt! Are the databases deleted? Are they resold? Do creditors seize them and resell them, maybe even on the so-called dark web?

Among the few hundred sites for which I have or had accounts, I only encountered in a few cases an option to delete an account. I’ve written a few sites on occasion asking for an account deletion option, only to be told there isn’t one.

Given the prevalence of password reuse, it’s easy to see why the databases of missing companies are of value. Do yourself a favor. Every now and then, check what Internet accounts you have. See if you can close accounts you no longer use. If there is no option to delete an account, which it almost certainly is, send a note to the company requesting the deletion. And use a unique password for each site or service!

Follow me on Facebook (facebook.com/PeterVogelCA) or on Twitter (@PeterVogel).

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