Yahoo! will delete Route 66 group on Dec. 15

Yahoo! announced it would shut down all its Yahoo Groups, including the once-influential Route 66 Group, on Dec. 15.

In an email Monday, Yahoo! stated “with heavy hearts” it would shut down those groups on that date:

Yahoo Groups has seen a steady decline in usage over the last several years. Over that same period we’ve witnessed unprecedented levels of engagement across our properties as customers seek out premium, trustworthy content. To that end, we must sometimes make difficult decisions regarding products that no longer fit our long-term strategy as we hone our focus on other areas of the business. […]
Thank you for helping us build one of the earliest digital communities — we’re proud and honored to have forged countless connections over the last 20 years and played a small part in helping build your communities.

The announcement wasn’t a surprise. Yahoo! said about a year ago it would remove all uploaded content from all its groups, which signaled it soon would shut them down entirely.

Seeing the writing on the wall, the Route 66 Group moderators in January announced a migration to the MeWe platform. In fact, the Route 66 group on Yahoo changed its banner to list the address of the MeWe site.

As of this week, the MeWe Route 66 group had about 350 members — pretty good, but a far cry from the nearly 2,000 members the Route 66 group had on Yahoo.

Mike Ward, one of the moderators, said in an email he was surprised Yahoo Groups stayed around as long as they did.

Ward said he received a download of the Route 66 Yahoo Group database, but converting it into something search- and user-friendly appears problematic:

The downloads basically came to me in three categories – files, messages, and photos and attachments. The files and photos and attachments were mostly JPEGs and PDFs and are easily to open and view. The old message posts, all 20K of them, came across in 30 separate files with undetermined file types.  They look like this – 91726.mbox.00001 and a type of 00001 File. I haven’t really had much luck converting these files to something that’s readable. Each file runs a little more than 10K in size but for simple text files that’s a lot of data. There are some items I found in Google about programs to run an .mbox file but I haven’t taken the time to go into them. I suppose there are a few old postings that might be of interest but it may not be worth the time to find something that will open the .mbox files and then search through everything.

The original Route 66 e-group, which later migrated to Yahoo, claimed to be “the place on the Internet to ‘talk 66.’” More than 8,000 posts were recorded in 2003, including 1,191 in July alone.

The group also played a crucial role in lobbying for the formation of the impactful but now-defunct Route 66 Corridor Preservation ProgramNational Historic Route 66 Federation founder David Knudson shepherded a letter-writing campaign to lobby Congress to pass legislation for the program.

In addition, the group was where the Route 66 e-group breakfast and similar gatherings were organized.

The big culprit in the original e-group’s downfall was the rise of Facebook and other social media during the late 2000s. The number of posts on the Route 66 group had been roughly halved by 2009. By 2014, it was a shadow of its former self. The last time the group saw more than 100 posts in a month was mid-2017.

(Screen capture of the Route 66 Yahoo Group home page in October 2019)

4 thoughts on “Yahoo! will delete Route 66 group on Dec. 15

  1. But It’s platforms like FB and Twitter that’s protecting us. Yesterday the Republicans came out with their October surprise and those two censored it even shutting down the White House information office. We need FB and T to tell us what’s important… time on the networks too. We’re so lucky to be told what we need to know.

  2. When the word came out almost a year ago that Yahoo was doing away with the e-group I requested that they send me the group files. I haven’t really had the time, or inclination, to go digging through all of what was sent to me until recently I did find a few programs that will convert the .mbox files (the message postings) into something readable but the programs run between 40 and 90 dollars to be able to convert AND export the converted files onto a separate computer hard drive. For those members who remember the e-group postings a relatively small percentage were really of much substance. Delving through 20,000+ postings to find the possibly 10 percent that are worth preserving. The photo files/attachments that were sent to me by Yahoo seem to be easy enough to open as they are mostly either .jpeg or.pdf files. The same goes for the group described just as “files” that are mostly ,jpeg, .doc and .pdf files. As time allows I will go through all of these and see if I can’t put them into some sort of accessible group for old e-group members to see. I can’t remember how many photos and documents were n the old e-group files but I seems like what I received from Yahoo was less than I remember. I am going to continue to try and find a solution, at low or no cost, that will allow me to retrieve and export the old group postings. I spent a couple of hours trying to do just that and I was able to get 20 posts done. That was done with a “free” program that only allowed 20 posts to be done at one time, I will try to do more as time allows but with 20,000+ posts to convert at 20 posts at a time is not something that is going to happen anytime soon. If anyone remembers any specific photographs that were in the e-group files they would like to see contact me at [email protected] and I will search for them and, if found, send them to you.

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