Friday, June 03, 2011

Faves will be Back up Soon!

Good news! Faves will be returning shortly under new management. The details are being worked out and another announcement will likely come early next week. But in the mean time we're working to bring Faves back online very shortly.
Thanks to all that emailed us asking about getting their Faves bookmark data back. We're working to get you access to your full Faves account.
Mike Koss

Tuesday, May 24, 2011 is now offline

We temporarily pulled the plug on today - we are actively looking for a buyer for the site from someone who would want to continue to offer the service to our users. If you're interested in acquiring, please contact me at
I want to thank all of our users on this journey - I'm sorry we didn't end up with a viable business after 6 years working on this.
You can read more about the journey of Faves at the excellent GeekWire post about
- Mike

Wednesday, May 18, 2011 is shutting down

We're shutting down the service within a matter of days. If you want to export your data, please visit:
Unfortunately, we were not able to sustain the costs of operating from our current revenue sources.
We will be selling the remaining assets of the company shortly. If you're interested in bidding on our domain name(s), send a query to
Mike Koss
CEO, Blue Dot Inc.

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Planned Site Outage Today

We're doing some site maintenance today. Please bear with us as we are upgrading some of our infrastructure.

Update: As of Friday, Nov 5th, we have been resolving several issues with our new servers. may be unavailable throughout the day as we work through the remaining problems. If you have difficulty signing in, or using the service, please send us mail at to let us know.

Thanks! Mike and Lee

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Spammers Be Gone!

The fight against spam on Faves is never ending. As we've scaled back on full time staff, it has been increasingly hard to keep up with users who are trying use Faves purely for SEO (despite the fact that our links are all no-follow!), spam, or distribute or adult content.

This has been particularly harsh on our Buzz system - showing the most popular bookmarks for literally thousands of tags (keywords).

This week we took the drastic step to hand-pick the users who's content will be allowed to be posted to our front page and popular Buzz pages like our Video page.

The results have been remarkable. What used to be a wasteland of spam (or worse, porn), now actually has some interesting content on it again.

We'll be continuing to refine this, but hope that the recommendations you see from Faves will be much higher quality.

If you'd like your account to be considered to be included in our recommendation service, follow our Twitter account and send us a link to your faves user page for review.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Ma.gnolia Data Loss and Future

I've been watching the data loss at with some interest. Ma.gnolia is (was) a social bookmarking web site, with a small, but engaged community of users. Amongst the social bookmarking websites, we felt it was one of the stronger competitors with (

But, on Jan 31, 2009, they had a catastrophic data loss and the site went down. At first, it looked like they would recover in a few hours. Hours dragged on into days, and days into weeks. Even now, some 3 months later, they have not returned. They did provide some data recovery tools to their users to try to reclaim their bookmarks from publicly available copies on the web.

I just finished watching this video interview of Larry Halff, the creator behind ma.golia. At first, I thought they were being a bit flippant about losing the all their users's data, but Larry proved to be very forthcoming and contrite about the episode.

The interesting facts and insights from this video are:

  1. They lost 1/2 Terabyte of data.
  2. They did not test their backup system.
  3. They had only one backup (not a rolling backup).
  4. They ignored operational issues/performance as site grew.
  5. Ma.gnolia was running on 4 mac mini's running as web servers with 1 main database server and 1 backup server
  6. Despite using software raid storage, file system corruption caused catastrophic data loss and prevented their backup from working.
  7. Mag.nolia "never made money" (completely self funded), but did build a loyal community of users.
  8. Larry feels that "destination social bookmarking" does not have a good prognosis - more people are using the large social sites (Facebook, Twitter) for sharing links.
  9. Ma.gnolia will return hosted on AWS (cloud infrastructure) with better backup systems in place. It will relaunch as a private beta and be invitation only (he doesn't say why).
  10. Larry suggests that web 2.0 sites disclose more about their infrastructure and backup procedures, so users can be more comfortable knowing how their data is being managed.

With this in mind, I think it appropriate to disclose some of the behind-the-scenes facts about

  1. Faves was built by a professional development team (7 developers) beginning in 2005.
  2. After having raised multiple rounds of funding, we realized that we were not earning enough money via advertising to sustain that team. In the Fall of 2008, had to lay off all full time employees.
  3. is still be operated by myself, and 1 part-time operations person.
  4. While somewhat downsized, we retain a fairly large scale data center with 4 front-end web servers, and 6 backend database servers.
  5. We perform nightly incremental backups of all of our data, as well as complete datbase snapshots taken on a weekly basis.
  6. We have NOT done a recent full-scale data recovery test, though we used to restore a snapshot of our site to our test server we used for internal develpment.
  7. We recently raised a small round of financing which will enable to continue to operate for the foreseeable future (2+ years, even without increasing our site revenue).
  8. We also have concerns about our site performance, and have prioritized migrating to a cloud-based backend.

As we evolve the service, we are looking to be more relevant to users who are increasingly adopting Facebook or Twitter as the primary means of communicating with their friends, family, and co-workers. We are also finding that a large proportion of users of our site are not authentic "bookmarkers", but rather are creating links to other web sites for marketing, or spam.

Our challenges, and priorities, going forward are:

  1. Improve site performance and reliability.
  2. Make more relevant and useful to users of Facebook and Twitter.
  3. Put better systems in place for dealing with spam users and adult content
  4. Reduce reliance on advertising as a revenue model (ask Faves users to directly support the site, via donations or premium features).

If you have feedback for me, you can send me mail at mike at

Monday, March 23, 2009

Faves is up and running again

We were able to get our servers started in our new location as of Saturday at 6pm. Our new ISP is WowRack. They've been really helpful during our move and we love our new location (I wish my office had a view like this one!)

Mohit and Lee (pictured) and I started powering down our servers at 9am. We moved them to the Westin Building (our new location) in two trips (taking care to move our master and slave database replicas in two different trips in case we had a car accident!).

Racking the servers went pretty smoothly, and we were able to take the opportunity to clean up some of the wiring that built up over the last 2 years. We've gained remote power management in this new location - which means we can reboot servers without taking a trip to the data center on the rare occasion where that is needed.

Now that our move is complete, we're looking forward to refreshing by making some performance improvements, and making it an even better utility for social bookmarkers.