Retiring #OpenWeb

I initially launched #OpenWeb over six years ago as a way to aggregate headlines from independent publishers that focus on Apple products and software. It was a fun little project to build, but the underlying system was a bit fragile.

The mechanism I used for publishing headlines was built entirely using IFTTT. The service was and continues to be great, but I found that RSS feeds would often break and I’d have to go in to the IFTTT dashboard to remove feeds, update feeds, or manually re-enable applets that repeatedly failed.

This eventually lead to me relaunching the site a couple of years ago. Rather than publishing headlines from a list of sources, the site would just publish links to independent weblogs.

This was a much cleaner setup as it no longer relied on IFTTT for publishing. But over time, my interest in managing the site waned. The process for publishing new links was a bit tedious and the site hasn’t garnered enough of a following to justify the effort required to run it.

So rather than continuing to half-heartedly update the site, I’ve decided to simply retire it.

Since making that decision, I have published the Initial Charge Rolodex, which is a list of writers that publish some of my favorite work. It’s like MySpace’s top 8, but for the open web.

The Rolodex will be a cinch to manage. I can revisit it once or twice a year, remove some folks that haven’t been publishing and add some new writers that I’ve found interesting. Easy peasy.

As for the #OpenWeb site, it will remain up for the foreseeable future. I don’t have any reason to remove it at the moment. I imagine it will be taken down at some point, though, if I decide to re-use the domain for a new project.

I’ve had a few ideas, but nothing I’m ready to get off the ground just yet. As a little bit of a peak behind the curtain of the frontrunner, though, I’ve thought about repurposing the domain as a landing page with information about how to get started publishing on the web.

It would likely focus on self-hosted options — WordPress, Mastodon, Pixelfed, etc. — and include recommendations for hosting services to try.

But that’s just an idea that exists in my head. I don’t know when I’d even start on something like that or what form it would exactly take. Who knows, maybe I’ll end up publishing something along those lines here on Initial Charge and the #OpenWeb domain will end up redirecting to it for easy sharing.