November 25th, 2008 by ejalbright
Merida Insider as it appeared when it launched in 2003
Merida Insider was, hands down, the best Web site if you planned to visit or move to Yucatan. And now itâ€™s gone. I click on the link a couple of times a day, but all I get is a broken link and a broken heart.
A few weeks ago I was in Merida and attended a dinner with the man who created and managed the site, Mexico Bob. He and his wife, Sunshine (these are not their real names, but the names they use online, and names with which most of us who know them are most comfortable), got together with a few other MI members: TDKuhn (who happen to be two people), CalMan and SnowyCo, and their respective wives.
Bob talked about what a burden the Merida Insider had become. It had thousands of members, who had created tens of thousands of posts on every conceivable topic dealing with visiting and living in Yucatan. The site had become a real encyclopedia. But it was built on creaky old software, and a few of the members had become pains in the ass. Mexico Bob wasnâ€™t making any money on the site. He was really just doing it for the love of doing it, but he wasnâ€™t feeling the love in return.
Still, he had plans to expand the site and maybe even update the software it ran upon. I didnâ€™t say anything, but I liked the fact that the site was antiquated. Its limited functionality meant the focus was on the written word, not on pictures or multi-media or chatrooms or other nonsense. And as a certified Web geezer, I always felt the simpler the better.
Merida Insider, as it looked in 2008. Sometimes the old ways are the best.
Word for word Merida Insider had the best information available about Yucatan. It also had a lot of personality. Members frequently got into spats, almost always a clash of personalities. It was like living in a big neighborhood. And like a neighborhood, I grew to like many of the neighbors and over time we became friends.
Iâ€™d been visiting MI since 2004 when I began work on my book about ChichÃ©n ItzÃ¡. In those days the shop was run by Mexico Bob and two volunteers. The volunteers eventually quit the board, because they werenâ€™t feeling the love. Mexico Bob continued to run it, but his participation became less frequent.
Then about two weeks ago, someone hacked the site. Actually, they hacked all of Mexico Bobâ€™s sites, including this one (Bob hosts American Egypt). For the past few days Bob has been busy getting his paying clients back up and running. The word, at least of late, was that he wasnâ€™t going to restore Merida Insider. He may change his mind once this particular crisis passes, but based on his comments from a few weeks ago, he probably will keep the site as it is–dead.
There are other forums dealing with Yucatan out there. Yolisto.com has many of the same members as Merida Insider. My pal SnowyCo is already over there, sharing his wisdom. Some of my other pals from Merida Insider are there and the indication is that the water is fine. For me, at least for now, the site is a little too earnest, a little too Web 2.0. For me the less glitz the better. But thatâ€™s me.
Still, I am a chatty Cathy, and I canâ€™t believe Iâ€™ll not land somewhere eventually. Here are some Yucatan sites I particularly like. Go ahead and click on them. Donâ€™t wait for me. Iâ€™ll be along eventually.
Category: Uncategorized | Comments Off