The form letter I am using is noted below: Feel free to modify and use.
Subject: Open Directory Project - http://example.terrashare.com/
Hi, I'm contacting you on behalf of http://dmoz.org/ . I noticed you have a website hosted on Terrashare.com that is currently listed in the Open Directory. The site I am writing to you about is http://example.terrashare.com/ and it is listed in the following category: http://dmoz.org/Test/Example/Example
Terrashare.com has recently announced that it will be discontinuing web hosting. See http://www.terrashare.com/about/pr/may_31.html for more information.
If you have a new location for this site, I suggest you visit the page it is listed on and use the Update URL link at the top of the page. You will be asked to enter the (current) URL of your site, and then note the new URL on the next page. Please include the reason of the change (That terrashare.com is closing down) to help us process the change as quickly as possible. If you will not be moving your site to a new URL, you can also use this feature to let us know.
If you have any problems, feel free to email me and I will do my best to help.
Sam Volunteer Editor, Open Directory Project http://dmoz.org/profiles/samiam.html
-- HUMANS do it better.
The response to this 'preemptive redhunting' has been fantastic. Not only are people coming to dmoz and updating their URLs with the update URL form, but they are becoming impressed with the project and interested in learning more. In addition, it seems that the mass email from Terrashare never really made it to most of the users, this email has helped people download a copy of their website before it became too late, helping preserve some useful content on the web. Here are excerpts from some the emails I have received in response to the message from webmasters:
- Thank you Sam... I was not aware that Terrashare was closing it's cyber doors. You just saved me a lot of heartache and trouble. Kudos to you and DMOZ...
- [I] was amazed how quickly you picked up on the 'terrashare.com' problem.
- Just wanted to thank you for the lookout on that one. I truly appreciate it and you are living proof that humans do do it better.
- Hi Sam, Just a line to thank you for explaining how to change our URL on Open Directory. In fact I had not known that Terrashare was closing. The message was there on their site of course, but they did nothing to call our attention to it. We have had lots of hits through the Open Directory - so thanks a lot for that too!! Carry on with the good work!!
- Thanks Sam .Humans surely do it better.I am 16 yrs old and was busy with my exams .I would never have had known the above if you had not mailed to me thanks again man !I also have a few more sites but I was sweating it out at terrashare
- Thank you for your concern. I have moved the site to a temporary host and updated the dmoz link.
- Thanks for informing me. I visited Dmoz.org and updated my site's url.
- I can't thank you enough for your interest. I have moved my site.
- Thanks Sam ! I did not know that yet. I will try to find a new host this week and update the URL's as you suggested !
When we learn of a host going down, going through in advance and emailing the page maintainers appears to be a very good idea. Something to remember for the future.