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Failure Friday: Red Herring, Magnolia, and Pageflakes go dark

Several popular sites went down for various reasons and we sort out the mess.

As of Friday morning, technology news site Red Herring, widget start page service Pageflakes, and social bookmarking site Magnolia were all unavailable. But it appears all three will be back up and running.

Eventually.

As for Red Herring's outage, Silicon Valley Insider is reporting (via a Tweet from a former RH employee) that it's closing its doors. However, a source close to the company tell us that Red Herring simply has not paid its hosting bill, and that no employees have been informed otherwise.

In Pageflakes' case the site began experiencing problems early Thursday, which coincided with several other sites from parent company LiveUniverse going down. These sites, including LiveVideo, MeeVee, and Revver are all currently offline (which in Revver's case appears to happen a lot).

We contacted Live Universe founder and CEO Brad Greenspan about it, who says the downtime is simply a part of migration to a new data center in Los Angeles that has "lots of servers." Greenspan also said that the sites should be back up in the next few hours.

For Magnolia, the prognosis is a little more grim. Early Friday, the social-bookmarking site experienced data corruption and loss, which the company says will take "weeks" to sort out. In the meantime, the service has shuttered its Web front-end and closed external access to its APIs while its database is re-organized. It should be noted, however, that the outage does not affect development on the company's open-sourced project, "M2" which opens up the site for other people to add new features and fix bugs.

The one positive thing to come out of this is learning about the execution of downtime. Magnolia was the only one of these three sites (or more if you're counting Revver and LiveVideo) that put up a notice to its users to tell them what was going on. In many cases, this keeps panic at a low, and more importantly--does not make people think you're shutting down and taking their data or content with you. There is of course a third way to do it if you are actually running out of money: hibernate.