thats it. the last year of my life living tastespotting. i read it from the time i send my kids off to school until i tuck them in at night. what am i supposed to do? this has ruined my life. i dont know what to do with myself now. someone needs to pick up the ashes. maybe i should. would anyone want to help? this HAS TO HAPPEN so many people relied on this for inspiration. this is... i dont even have words to describe how i feel right now.
I noticed that the Tastespotting food porn image aggregator had stopped updating in the last couple of days and had presumed that their server was struggling. Someone even joked to me that it was a Friday the thirteenth prank.
Then this evening when I checked my StatCounter results, I found that I had been inundated - with views by the hundreds via Google and forum posts. They were all reading my post on the Tastespotting Stalker.
On closer inspection it seems that the Tastespotting site was dead and thousands of fans appear to be pouring out their sorrow online. Two had even linked back to my Stalker post - about online harassment by a sick individual with multiple personality disorder who ritually posted inflammatory remarks on blogs appearing on Tastespotting - as a possible cause of the meltdown.
The most obvious conclusion people have been drawing is that NotCot have been threatened by litigation and shut down the Tastespotting site as a consequence.
By soliciting content, Tastespotting encouraged people browsing the web to steal appealing images to post on the Tastespotting site. Thereby attracting a huge audience and hence cashing in on sponsorship and advertising, leaving the door wide open for litigation.
What impact then does that have on NotCot's other sites, that do the same on topics of Design and Fashion? Are they to be spared? Or could it be that someone has become embroiled in the case of the Tastespotting Stalker - Charles Treuter - and has involved NotCot in their litigation? Perhaps none of these?
Could it be that resources were stretched or that like Scrabulous they have been threatened by a large corporation? Speculation I expect will be rife over the next fews days.
What is amazing however is the legions of fans who integrated the site into their daily routine. Google search 'Tastespotting Gone' to see how it is reverberating around the Blogasphere. Like a strangulated gasp the lament is global from Estonia to Guam and Helsinki to Nicaragua. With the number of posts being made, I feel like hosting a Pot Luck wake on my blog for Tastespotting.
A quick Google search turns up discussions on forums including MetaFilter, The Nest and ChowHound, which then lead back to me. Perhaps they should now peruse Flickr where there are plenty of sumptuous spots.
I expect on a smaller scale this sense of loss also occurred when Food Porn Watch wound down. I know the number of hits on my blog dropped significantly when they packed up recently. No doubt sites that relied on Tastespotting to supply traffic will suffer in the same way.
As Bloggers become more the focus of Marketers and Advertisers via approaches with lashings of flattery to promote products for free, they are becoming more savvy to the economic opportunities opening up to them online. Sure, the scraping of your intellectual property will bring traffic to your blog, but why would you line the pockets of another person's website with advertising revenue, when you should be getting a cut? Is this where the seeds of litigation lie?
What will spring up in it's place? There is quite clearly a demand for this kind of thing. Google was successful in winning the legal right to display thumbnails from other sites on Google Image Search, so what is the correct way to go about delivering a food image aggregator?
they'll be working on building their own version...here
(I'll update the comments section with any others that spring up)