July 9, 2012

Server company for famous literary website 3:AM vanishes — with 12 years’ worth of archives


3:AM editor in chief Andrew Gallix looks out at a big hole

Sad news for fans (like us) of the great British literary website 3:AM — according to a report from the Independent by Nick Clark, the company responsible for its servers — and backup servers — has disappeared, taking with it 12 years’ worth of archives.

According to the report:

Andrew Gallix, who runs 3:AM, said the events of the past week have been “traumatic” and added that it shows “the fragility of online content. I never expected those who were meant to host and back up our content to just switch us off without even telling us.”

… The 3:AM team are still attempting to contact those working for the hosting company and still hope to recover some of the site’s archives from the Internet Archive “but it’s going to take ages to repost and money to find people who can do it. And we have no money”. The site is not run commercially and Mr Gallix bears the costs of running it.

Founded in 2000, the site was one of the earliest such litmags, and has grown in popularity thanks to a wide range of edgy reviews and interviews, not to mention fiction publications. As its Wikipedia page defines it, “Its outlook is post-punk. It features transgressive fiction, interviews, critical writing and opinion columnists. Its slogan is ‘Whatever it is, we’re against it.'” As the Independent article notes, “its following grew to as many as 10,000 unique hits a day attracted writers including Lee Rourke, Tony O’Neill and Booker Prize nominee Tom McCarthy.”

While the site is still up and functioning, the Independent reports,

… Mr Gallix is trying to track down the person responsible for the servers. After a few false leads, as well as a disconnected phone and emails bouncing back, he believes he has tracked him down.

“At this stage, we do not know if we’ll ever be able to speak to him and if he can switch his server back on long enough to allow us to move 12 years’ worth of content to another, more reliable and reputable host,” Mr Gallix said.

Even if he gets a response “we have no idea if he’ll be able to plug the server back in,” Mr Gallix said. “I should have backed it up somewhere else, but it never occurred to me. He was supposed to back up the site for us. I assumed if the company went bust we’d just hand over the running of the server to another company.”

The report never names the company that has, sadly, apparently flown by night. Good luck to our friends at 3:AM.


Dennis Johnson is the founder of MobyLives, and the co-founder and co-publisher of Melville House. Follow him on Twitter at @mobylives