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Photo site Digital Railroad derailed completely

Digital Railroad shuts down, leaving customer wondering why.

If my eyes serve me right, you are gone.

If the news about bank collapses hasn't devastated you enough, I have another depressing one. This time it comes from the Internet, but is no less devastating for a good number of people, hopefully not including you.

As of Wednesday, if you go to the Web site of Digital Railroad you will be greeted with this:

To our valued Members and Partners:

We deeply regret to inform you that Digital Railroad (DRR) has shut down.

On October 15th we reported that the company had reduced its staff and was aggressively pursuing additional financing and/or a strategic partner. Unfortunately, those efforts were unsuccessful. Therefore Digital Railroad has been forced to close all operations.

Digital Railroad has attracted a loyal set of customers and partners, and we regret this unfortunate outcome. Without sufficient long-term financial support, the business had become unsustainable.

Thank you for allowing us to serve the photographic community these past few years.

The once popular Web site, where professional photographers archived and sold their photos, is now gone, completely. As it turned out, at about 5 p.m. EDT on Monday, the Web site alerted existing customers about the shutdown and gave them a 24-hour window to download their photo archive. However, just about 10 hours after the alert, the site was shut down completely.

It's unclear now if customers can still somehow retrieve their photo archive or will get money back for the undelivered services.

In the meantime, PhotoShelter is offering Digital Railroad customers a special offer--three month's credit for their Digital Railroad account. The offer is set to expire November 4.

Take the offer or not, but definitely take this as lesson that you can't rely 100 percent on online archiving services. It's best to keep a copy of your data offline as well.