Ma.gnolia Ate My Bookmarks

The service went down on Jan. 30th, losing all user data. I had been saving bookmarks there since May 2007, and kept only partial backups locally. Their latest update:

So far, my efforts to recover Ma.gnolia’s data store have been unsuccessful. While I’m continuing to work at it, both from the data store and other sources on the web, I don’t want to raise expectations about our prospects. While certainly unanticipated, I do take responsibility and apologize for this widespread loss of data.

I am angry. I am not particularly comforted by their apology. I think web services have a responsibility to look after their customers’ data, and I’m very disappointed that a 3-year-old service did not plan better.

But really, all I can do about this is recover what I can from other online caches, and move to another service (while keeping my personal backups more current). So here’s one way to recover bookmarks using Firefox plugins:

Get this Google cache Greasemonkey script. Also install the Operator plugin. Then query Google for your bookmarks page using a string like “cache:ma.gnolia.com/people/spinnerin/bookmarks” (replace spinnerin with your own user name).

The Operator plugin will detect the bookmark microformat on the page, and extract a list of bookmarks that you can import to another service (click the bookmarks menu to select them). The Greasemonkey script adds yellow “cache” links that will let you browse through the cached versions of each page. Browse/select/export until done, you hit the end of Google’s cache, or decide you no longer care.

This whole process should be scriptable, too. I may give that a shot later.

7 responses to “Ma.gnolia Ate My Bookmarks

  1. Hi, Audrey.

    I certainly understand your anger here, I know I disappointed you and many other Ma.gnolia members.

    I really appreciate you writing up and sharing this for other folks to try. I’ve posted a link to this post on our Get Satisfaction thread, in hopes that it could help some of our other members.

    Thanks.

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  3. I too am in despair over this. I made a decision to avoid delicious a while back and was really drawn to ma.gnolia. I put my trust in their service which was foolish. Not foolish because of some deficiency in Magnolia team. More because I should have taken greater care in trusting a single service to watch over bookmarks that were that important to me. unfortunately 99.9% of all my bookmarks were classed as private and therefore as far as i can tell, there is no hope for me to recover the years of bookmarks I came to depend upon.

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  6. ::cries:: I’ve got 187 pages of bookmarks. The cache can’t get past page 1. (And the WayBackMachine can’t find any pages at all.) It’s shocking & disappointing that Ma.gnolia didn’t have automated backups in place. I’ve lost literally years of data.

  7. I am shocked and extremely disappointed about this.. I’ve read somewhere else that some people posit we shouldn’t be upset about this.. (it’s “just” bookmarks etc..) I’m not making it personal.. but I’m consistently shocked at the fact that the smart people behind this (and they *are* smart and other grand fark ups (it happens too often) either forget, ignore, or don’t know about proper backup practices. Maybe I relied/rely too much on web services, and perhaps I should have kept better personal backups. I truly believe that it was stupid on my part not to export and back them up myself.. as its that same laziness on someone elses part that leaves me in this position. I also think its not a matter of *if* a hard drive is going to fail or data gets corrupted, but *when* yet I failed to plan accordingly. When I get emails/questions about where to find fonts/colors schemes code snippets etc I usually point to my online bookmarks that I’ve been saving for years.. Oh well, live and learn (and make copious backups!!)

    –Joey