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Don’t be caught napping! Nine things to do before your favorite site closes

In life, only few things equal the internet in fluidness. Players get on and off board, almost on daily basis. As one site closes, another is announcing its entrance. Like the Royal Rumble, only those with the wit, commitment, right motives and goals are found standing (and keep standing). A lack of or insufficient regulation by relevant authorities, even in the advanced regions of the world makes it even easier for players to get on and off at will.

Consequently, lots of money is lost by many, especially in High Yield Investment Programs (HYIPs); vital, personal information are collected, abandoned and exposed. These information (pictures, data, profiles etc) eventually fall into wrong hands who use them for dubious purposes that may end up implicating the actual owners. Your email and phone numbers become targets for phishing, spamming, prank and scamming.

I would like to share with you five tips for handling these challenges by Heather Kelly on CNN Articles, with four additions by me.

Pay attention to warnings

Most sites won't shutter without giving their users official notice. To avoid being caught off-guard, read any updates, e-mails, blog posts or tweets from the company warning of major changes or sharing goodbyes.

There are also less obvious signs. When a company starts neglecting a site's design or features, that could mean it is shifting resources to other projects or running low on money. A simple way to do that is by checking their newsletters, and other vital and regular information frequently shared by the website.
The decision to close a site might come suddenly after an acquisition by another company. If the purchase is labeled an "aqui-hire" that means the purchasing company is interested in the people on staff, not in the product they've built. Of course, a slow, steady drop in popularity can be a solid sign of a site nearing the end.

Save your data

A site shutting down can be especially upsetting if you've invested time in it, become part of a community, or created or uploaded content. Blog posts, photo libraries, bookmark collections, conversations, messages, friend networks and carefully curated folders of RSS feeds will typically disappear with the site.

Most services do the courteous thing and offer a way to save data. Google has a site dedicated to exporting data from all its various services called Google Takeout. When a major site announces it is closing, competing sites often step up and offer ways to transfer content directly to a new blog, RSS feeder, album or other service. If you have valuable content stored on a site, make periodic backups, even if you think that company will be around forever.

Stay in touch

If a site includes a strong community, find other ways to connect with the friends and contacts you've made once it is offline. Even when you can export your own data, connections with other people will disappear with the site.

Be sure to connect on e-mail, IM, Twitter or Facebook. You can also reunite on the site you move to next, which is what some EveryBlock members did when they migrated to NextDoor, a newer hyper-local community site.

Delete your profile

Once you've extracted all the content you need from a dying site, consider hitting the self destruct button on your profile. Any information left on the service can linger on the Internet for years, and personal information might even be sold off to other companies. Unless you remember your password, getting rid of old profile pages can be difficult.

Find an alternative

Once you've been dumped by a favorite website it can be hard to learn how to trust again. Early adopters are used to constantly signing up for new services that close months or a year later. But most people might be hesitant to jump right in and invest time and energy in a new site.

When you are ready, there are some things to consider when choosing a replacement. New startups are still finding their legs and could be bought or go under, but if you don't mind the uncertainty, they often have some of the most exciting new designs. Look for sites that offer ways to import your old data, and if you crave stability, for companies that are profitable and still growing. WordPress is established and dependable, Tumblr is easy and attractive, and newer companies like Medium are exciting, but their futures are uncertain.

Below are my own additions:

Exercise restraint

There is need to constantly exercise restraint when on the internet. Don’t always be quick to click on the “register” or “Join” button. This is especially true of HYIP sites. There are hundreds of these sites coming up on daily basis, with offers that are often too good to be true. This is also true of e-commerce sites. Many merchants (big and small, old and young) are increasingly establishing their presence online, thereby giving the customers expanded service delivery options. The downside to this is that the industry’s water is muddled up at the moment. It is difficult decipher between the genuine and the fake, those with the right goal and motive and those without. So, you will always see something new on the internet. The watchword is self-restraint!

Investigate

If you stumble upon any site in your search for a particular items brings, that you have never heard of, it would be wise to take few minutes to conduct a good search on the site, make phone calls and send emails for enquiries that will either dismiss or confirm your reservations. This is very necessary before punching in that information such as your credit card number, address, social security number, phone numbers etc.

Start small

Yes, start small. In the HYIPs, it is common mantra that you should not invest more than you can afford to loose. If it is an e-commerce site, your purchases should be in small quantities at first. Similarly, if it’s a social networking, don’t rush to upload your pictures and other personal information to the site.

Be wary of saving your information

Many e-commerce sites will request that you save your billing and shipping information on the site so that subsequent transactions would be conducted with much more ease. As laudable as this is, you may want to be sure that the site in question is reliable, before saving your billing and shipping information.

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