Over a week ago, the giant parenting site, Babble.com, was quietly shut off. Yep, Babble just went offline as if it never happened. No goodbye. No real explanation. No tweets about the ongoing outage. No Facebook updates. What’s even crazier is that no one is talking about it? When Baby Gizmo goes down for 5 minutes (not that it happens!), I immediately take it to social media and apologize. Not Babble. Not a word.
Actually to be fair, there is a landing page that says that the site is not available, but before we get to that, let’s go back a little in Babble history.
Babble was launched in December 2006 by co-founders Rufus Griscom and Alisa Volkman. After one year, the site grew to half a million readers per month. Babble Media became an independent company in 2009, and was acquired by Disney Interactive Media Group in 2011. (Wikipedia)
Yes, it is a fully-funded beast of a parenting site that is owned by Disney. Or is it still owned by Disney? We really don’t know.
Rumors started swirling in December 2013 that there had been problems with some writers being paid. Yet, very little grumbling from the Babble staff online. We aren’t even sure if this rumor is true but it was out there.
Then in March 2014, rumors of a “conscious uncoupling” between Disney and Babble started to drift in the interwebs. Again, no words from all the slew of Babble writers. Why have they all suddenly fallen silent about their beloved Babble? Weird, right?!
Even Amazon employees are coming out of the woodwork to complain about their work environment and Babble is definitely no Amazon. Yet, many of these writers made their name and depend on Babble for their steady income. Yet, no word from any of them?
When the site went down over a week ago, there was a message on a landing page that said they were were having a server outage. A few days after that, the message read that they were “busy adding some exciting new features to the site” and to “please check back later”. Now, more than a week later, there is no mention of a “server outage” or “exciting new features” – just that that website “isn’t available.”
What the heck is going on over there?
Let’s go back to the “server outage”, shall we? A server outage for over a week is unheard of especially with a well-funded, giant site of this size. Sure, servers fail. Servers get hacked. Sites change servers. All of that happens but it doesn’t happen for over a week. If your server fails, companies can have it back up in less than 24 hours. If the site is hacked, that still doesn’t explain a week+ outage. GoDaddy was reportedly hacked in 2012 by Anonymous hackers that the giant site had trouble tracking down but was only down for 6 hours. Not a week!
Now, let’s look at their next claim that they are “busy adding some exciting new features to the site”. Sites add new features all the time. We add features to Baby Gizmo but we never, ever take the site down to do that. Unless it is for an hour at 3 in the morning on a random Tuesday. Last time Facebook added a “new and exciting feature”, did you see their site go offline? Of course not! It’s madness to take a site offline for a day, let alone over a week, for new features.
I don’t know about you, but I think the writing is on the wall that Babble may just be done.
Full Disclosure: I don’t work for Babble. I have never written for Babble. These are just my observations. If you are a Babble writer, we’d love to hear from you. Do you know what’s going on? Or are all the Babble writers in the dark like we are assuming they are? But why are you all so quiet about it?
RIP Babble. Or not? We don’t know.