Monday, August 17, 2009 Planning a Shut-Down, then Donates All to "The Community"

Eric Woodward has reversed his decision to shut down link shortening site, by the end of the year, and instead donate all the code and data assets to "the community" to continue to operate in the public domain.

It's a magnanimous offer, and one which, I'm sure, will gather some supporters. But these announcements are coming out pretty fast, and it does seem that some of their decisions are being made too rapidly to carefully plan the transition.

But Eric has silenced all doubters by personally guaranteeing the financial viability of the service from his own personal funds. While he does not specificially address the structure of the new, it sounds like he will be setting up an independent not-for-profit foundation to own and operate the assets of (though the source code will be open-sourced).

It's an interesting wrinkle in the story. Will the "open" mojo be enough to materially impact the position of amongst url shorteners? This is reminiscent of social bookmarking site, Ma.gnolia (which subsequently lost all of their user data), and micro-blogging site, Jaiku - (now an open-source Google Service being operated as a 20% project).

Open-sourcing is not a panacea, but it may inject enough life into a foundering project to remain a valuable piece of the internet infrastructure and community.

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