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About.com is no more, with Dotdash launching in its stead. While About.com was a network of hundreds of microsites about niche topics 10 Controversial Topics On Wikipedia Guaranteed To Spark A Debate 10 Controversial Topics On Wikipedia Guaranteed To Spark A Debate One way to measure the level of controversy attached to different subjects on Wikipedia is to track the number of reverts that take place. The authors of a study at Cornell University in New York... Read More , Dotdash is made up of a smaller number of standalone sites on bigger topics. These include Health, Home, Finance, Education, and Technology.

About.com was a pioneer of the internet, originally launching as The Mining Company in 1997. It was also one of the biggest sites on the web for many years, and it still ranks in the Top 500 in terms of the number of visitors. So why has it been killed? And what is Dotdash?

You Need More Than One Website

About.com has essentially done what other general interest sites have done in recent years; breaking itself down into its constituent parts. So, rather than heading for About.com and having to dig around in sections, you’ll now head to specific websites with clear mandates.

The logic is that while no one knew what About.com really stood for, people associate particular websites with particular topics. So, people will visit Verywell for articles about health, The Balance for articles on personal finance, and ThoughtCo. for articles about education.

As for the name, Neil Vogel, CEO of Dotdash, explained the thinking behind rebranding the site, saying, “The Dot in Dotdash is a nod to our 20-year history, as a red dot has always been a part of the About.com visual identity, and the dash suggests forward motion and action.”

An Internet Pioneer Eyes the Future

There has been a lot of snark written about the death of About.com. Some of it justified, but a lot of it just unkind. Especially when you remember that, despite its obvious flaws, About.com WAS an internet pioneer Relive the Web of the 1990s by Visiting These 9 Old Websites Relive the Web of the 1990s by Visiting These 9 Old Websites These nine websites were cutting edge back in the day. They came before the advent of super-slick graphics and Web 2.0, but today serve as nostalgic reminders of how far web development has come. Read More . So, while we’re not shedding any tears, we’re also not celebrating its demise.

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Did you ever visit the old About.com? Or did you ever write for one of its many microsites? If so, are you sad to see About.com disappear? Do you understand the logic of switching to a smaller number of standalone sites? Please let us know in the comments below!

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  1. Keith
    May 3, 2017 at 6:02 pm

    Thanks for the heads-up. I've been using About.com since the beginning and still have several microsites bookmarked. In fact, the following still work today:

    http://german.about.com
    http://gojapan.about.com
    http://gotexas.about.com
    http://travelwithkids.about.com

    I'm sure their days are numbered.