What’s happening to the web?

All over the place sites are suddenly going out of business. And no, I don’t mean those myriads of startups, that shut down their pages due to a poorly designed business model (or none at all). I’m talking about websites, that once held up the flag of free speech and off-mainstream information, art & ideas.

Two sites in particular, that I really liked for their unusual approach, shut down during the last months.

The first is TOTSE or the “Temple of the screaming electron” how the initiated call it. This site originated as a BBS back in the old days and hosted a huge number of text files on nearly every imaginable topic. This site brought up the concept of “user generated content” decades before it became a Web 2.0 buzzword. It’s very sad to see it go.
Read the site owner’s statement over here: TTFN

The second site that came to my attention, by shutting down recently, is T-Shirt Hell. A business selling shirts with questionable (and for some prudish folks even offensive) slogans. I found most of them really funny and it appears to me, that the people who where complaining about it, simply didn’t quite grasp the irony and criticism behind the phrases on the shirts.
You can read what T-Shirt hell has to say about the whole matter here: T-Shirt Hell says Goodbye

So is this a general trend? Did someone start a hunt on non-conformist folks and tries to get them “off the net”? I find it rather disconcerting to see sites shutting down, that where slightly off the main course of what the general public seems to consider “appropriate”.
Thanks to the guys running those sites, I’ll honour your work and it’s really sad to see you go!