MacFixIt is gone

MacFixIt is gone.

Sometime last week, apparently without any formal announcement (aside from a tweet), CNET dropped the MacFixIt name from its site. As of now, if you go to www.macfixit.com, it takes you instead to CNET>Computers.

In response, Topher Kessler, who had been the primary contributor to MacFixIt under CNET, has started a new troubleshooting-focused site called MacIssues. I wish him luck.

I began MacFixIt in 1996. After managing the site for four years, and watching it grow to a level I had never imagined possible, I sold MacFixIt to TechTracker in 2000. I remained as editor until 2002. I continued to write a monthly column (mac.column.ted) for MacFixIt until 2009. Beyond that, after resigning as editor, I no longer had anything to do with the site.

TechTracker did a fine job of maintaining MacFixIt in the years after my departure. I felt a bit like the parent who nurtures their child until adulthood and then watches as the child continues successfully out on their own. [To read my look back at MacFixIt’s first decade (1996-2006), as originally posted on the site, click here.]

In 2007, CNET purchased TechTracker, including MacFixIt. This resulted in a dramatic transformation of MacFixIt. In my opinion, it was not a good change. While the MacFixIt name was retained, the site soon lost its distinct character. It was even hard to find the “site,” if you didn’t already know the URL; it was awkwardly located under the “Reviews” section of CNET. After a while, it seemed to me that there was little point in CNET keeping the MacFixIt name alive. I guess CNET finally came to the same conclusion.

[Note: Most of the site's content remains on CNET, at least for now (for example, click here). However, you'll likely have to do a Google search to find any of it.]

MacFixIt had a great run. It survived 18 years, almost to the day. That’s a very long time in Internet years. I remain quite proud of the site and all that it accomplished.

I’ve said goodbye to MacFixIt in various ways over the years. The time has now come for me to give it my last goodbye.

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26 Responses to MacFixIt is gone

  1. Alan Greene says:

    Ted,

    You made MacFixIt the superb website it was: readable, helpful, reliable and, IMO, unbiased. (That was also in the day when comments were to the point, respectful, and offered additional advice and interesting questions, perspectives.)

    Topher did a good job at the helm of a destined-to-be losing proposition. I also wish him well.

    Alan

  2. Chuck Wilcher says:

    Thanks for all the tips, tricks, and troubleshooting advice over the years.

    -chuck

  3. Ted, yours was one of the first websites I visited regularly, and you and MacFixIt were an inspiration to me as well as being a hugely valuable resource at the time. More than that, you showed that there was a community of “folks like us” out there. And that truly was the beginning of everything since then. Thanks for doing what you did, my friend. And it’s an honor to be able to call you that. Hope to see you this week!

  4. Mark Morris says:

    Guess I am partly to blame. I regularly visited the site until CNET took it over and ruined it. Surprised it took them this long to pull the plug.

  5. Never fear, the Internet Archive still has numerous (and relatively unscathed) copies of the MacFixIt site.

    https://web.archive.org/web/20090318115124/http://www.macfixit.com/

  6. gary Rose says:

    It definitely was a great site to sort problems, but there are now numberous forums and help sites including Macintouch and Twit

  7. Bob Kline says:

    I’m sorry to see MacFixit ‘go away’, perhaps MacIssues can partially replace it. I recommend the great podcast MacGeekGab.

    Check it out!

  8. David griffin says:

    I visited macfixit several times a day throughout the 90’s – it was one if my favorite sites. Thank you for all those great articles.

  9. Thomas_U says:

    Since the late 90s I regularly read and contributed to MacFixIt.
    It was a site that shared the knowledge of power-users with everyone and on many occasions was the first responder to troubles that even Apple had no quick solution for.
    It is sad to watch it go this way.
    Thanks and hat-tip to Ted and Topher and best wishes for the new MacIssues.

  10. Randy Garbin says:

    Ted, I used to read your site every day. In fact, during an interview for a
    job designing websites back in 1997, I presented my own website and the response just fell flat. I realized that even I didn’t like it. On the drive home, I thought about what I’d do to my site to make it better. I asked myself, what site do I go to all the time and why, and the answer was Macfixit, because it has USEFUL information to me and it was updated almost every day. I immediately rebuilt my site with that in mind. I continued to visit it until the CNET purchase, but it was obvious it was going off the rails and I took it off my daily to-read list.

    Ironically, about three months ago, I thought I’d check in on it, saw it still there and put it on my RSS feed. This is sad news, but I’ll always be grateful for helping me manage my various Macs.

  11. Carl Hammel says:

    CNET…where good things go to die. RIP.

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  13. Ron Hunsinger says:

    When CNET took over MacFixIt, they made changes that repelled many of the regular participants. The core members fled to a new forum that they created and still maintain: FineTunedMac (www.finetunedmac.com/forums/). If you liked the pre-CNET MacFixIt, check them out.

  14. ScottB says:

    The best part of CNET dumping MacFixit is that the anti- internet trolls will hopefully disappear from the comments on every article. You comparison (Ted) so seeing you kids grow up and move on is a good one. Sadly, MacFixit failed upon graduation and it’s trip into adulthood has been mixed. TK is a good guy, and smart. But the character it once had is certainly lacking…

  15. Glennac says:

    Ted, we can’t talk about MacFixIt.com without acknowledging the sites true fore-bearer – “Sad Macs, Bombs, and Other Disasters”. Those books were my real Mac education in the early and mid`90’s. Along with the site, I owe you a debt of gratitude Ted for enhancing my Mac knowledge over the years, more than you can know.

  16. Chris Way says:

    MFI was my first experience with bulletin boards. I was on an iMac DV400 and made a number of wonderful friends, some of whom I am still in touch with. Thankyou Ted.

  17. Karyn Voldstad says:

    MacFixit was one of the 5 websites I had auto-open every day. (Long before I started subscribing to RSS feeds.) I was so disappointed when CNET took it over, and I still think it was one of the classiest sites I ever read. Good help, smart people, little crapola.

    Thank you Ted.

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  19. Ed Sikorski says:

    Ted,
    Alas, all mac sites must evolve or be absorbed. I’ve followed yours, Mike’s xlr8yourmac, Ric’s MacInTouch for years. I’ve contributed and contrasted comments. They were and still are, a go to for tips and leads for mac users and techs. When Cnet took over from Techtracker, I saw the end. I like Topher’s smart tips, but Cnet as a whole, lost me. From the bloated pop-up ads and decreasing page spaces (squeezed by marketing), to the breach of trust (email accounts compromised), Cnet to me is just a conglom of PC-centric forum fanboys, and gizmos that don’t get much coverage like Ars Technica does. And with the hundreds (if not thousands) of you-tube specialists providing reviews and videos of cool mac and computer tips… some functions of the web have to change. Good luck to Topher.
    One more thing, the macs are far more reliable than they were when beige… ;)

  20. Gaston says:

    Thank you very much for all you’ve done for us. I sure hope you’ll find something as fulfilling as Maxfixit. Thanks again!

  21. Rich says:

    I loved the MacFixit web site when Ted was running it in the early days.
    CNet ruined it just as they have ruined download.com.

  22. ~A.I.M... says:

    A secondary good part of the original MacFixit was the user forums; a different place, for sure. At least until it too became something scarey and the elitist top posters no longer would help any newer users with answers. And they started to make it hard for any newcomers with tech ideas and offers to help those newbies resolve issues.

    A form of cyber-bullying developed, and then the old guard started banning people.

    So while the original MacFixit & forums sadly went away, like about half a dozen other good Mac user online resources (outside Apple’s direct heavy gravity orbit) there are few left. Fine-tuned-mac spin-off tried to save part of the spirit, yet by then it was already dead; and names some of guilty zombies still roam their pages. Those who bullied managed to reduce over 2000 visitors a week, and wipe out over a hundred members who did not agree with their attitude.

    Thanks Ted for your efforts, contributions to sharing information, and opportunity for others to continue along those lines to help others in troubleshooting Mac issues.

    Sincerely,
    ~A.I.M…

  23. Mark says:

    Just a big thanks for the Macfixit site Ted. Cheers

  24. Lloyd says:

    You won’t remember, but you did reply to an email after the database change long ago. I was the only “civilian” allowed beta access to the test forum and report site. There was the dreadful period when I won’t post-her-name decided that certain words such as “Nazi” and “Hitler” could not be used in posts after someone started a lounge thread about scientists escaping Germany in the 1930s.

    That unfortunate period was followed by one directed by Cyn, who decided that the use of quotations from publications could not be used in the Lounge in spite of full attribution, links to the original article, and limits on the size of the quote. A few of us argued the doctrine of fair use, but Cyn banned me and about 20 of the best and brightest tech advisers who also posted in the lounge left for other sites.

    It was not a glorious finish. Pettiness ruled in the end.

    One of my strongest arguments, having posted around 9,500 posts, of which more than 50% were on specialties such as Adobe’s PS rip software for printers, salvaging directories, file recovery, etc., was challenging those who made fun of “newbies” and those who had knowledge but refused to assist those who turned to the best site for Macs, frequently making fun of the questions that were asked. But one who challenged others had to be very careful. Banning became a common affair.

    Better that it ended for those who remembered the site at its best, when you participated.

  25. Steven says:

    I too echo other posters’ comments about the relevance and importance of MacFixit until CNET. Thank you for all your shared expertise, Ted!

    Thankfully Topher has started a new Mac fix-it blog, macissues.com

  26. Dave k says:

    I actually thought it was attractive and enjoyable when hosted by cnet. So I’m particularly sad to see it go. Ted and Topher thanks for your hard work!

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