How to Recover and Reuse Your Bubblews Articles
When Bubblews finally ceased operations in November of 2015, it did so in a manner that was entirely characteristic of the way the site had operated throughout its history. The shutdown occurred suddenly and without warning. Users, some with hundreds of articles on the site, suddenly found their content no longer accessible. If they hadn’t kept copies of what they had written, there seemed to be no way to retrieve that material once Bubblews was offline.
BUT… if you are among the hundreds of Bubblews members who lost valuable content when the site shut down, there is hope! If you move quickly, you may be able to recover at least some of your articles.
Some of your deleted articles may still be stored on the web
On the internet, "gone" doesn’t necessarily mean totally gone. Even though your articles may have been taken offline or deleted by the site that hosted them, copies may still be available on the web. There are two major methods of finding and retrieving such copies: Google’s cache and the Internet Archive site.
Have you ever lost articles because a site shut down without notice?
Retrieving articles from Google’s cache
When Google indexes a page, it retains a copy of it in its cache for some unspecified period of time. (This is true of other search engines as well). As long as your article remains in Google’s cache, you can recover and download a copy of it.
Here’s how to retrieve a webpage from Google's cache:
Note: This method should work with any article that has been indexed for search, no matter which website hosted it. For this illustration, we’ll assume the hosting site was Bubblews. The examples will use my Bubblews ID, which was RonFCCC.
First, do a Google search for your articles
Only web pages that are still indexed by Google (or Bing) can be retrieved from the cache. So, the first step is to do a search that lists your articles in the results. Here are some search terms you can use:
1. To find a specific article enter the following into Google as a search term:
"TITLE OF YOUR ARTICLE" site:bubblews.com
2. To get a list of all your articles that are still indexed, enter:
[your user name or ID] site:bubblews.com
(Note: do not include the brackets around your ID)
Note that if your article does not appear in the search results, it’s really gone and cannot be retrieved from the cache. But don’t give up yet! Be sure to check the Internet Archive as explained below before concluding that the article is totally lost.
Once you’ve found an article you want to recover, retrieve it from the cache
Check to see if there is a down arrow (a downward triangle) to the right on the line just below the article’s title (see the illustration below). If so, click on that down arrow and a box with the word “Cached” should appear. Now you can click on “Cached” to bring up your article, if it’s still available.
If there is no down arrow, or if you click “Cached” and get a 404 error, your article is no longer cached, and cannot be recovered by this method. However, it's possible that even if the article no longer exists in Google's cache, Bing might still have it. Use the same process to check for it on Bing. And, as mentioned before, check the Internet Archive before giving up on it.
IMPORTANT: Be sure you don't click title of the article - that will just take you to the Bubblews site, which is no longer accessible. Click only the down arrow (triangle).
Copy or download your article
If you are able to retrieve your material, you can now either copy and paste it into a document on your computer, or download the entire webpage. The advantage of downloading the page rather than copying and pasting is that the downloaded page retains all its formatting – it will look exactly the way it did online.
For instructions on how to download your article so that it retains its formatting, see How Writers Can Safely Archive Their Online Articles.
Retrieving articles from the Internet Archive – The Wayback Machine
Web pages that are no longer available through the cache may have been stored by the Internet Archive. This is may not be true of Bubblews articles – none of my posts to that site have been archived. However, I had more than a hundred articles posted on the Yahoo Contributor Network at the time it shut down in 2014. All of my Yahoo articles that I checked were available via the Internet Archive. If you have the URL of the webpage you want to recover, you may find that it's retrievable through the archive. Here’s how to check:
Go to https://archive.org and enter the URL of your article into the Wayback Machine text box.
The Yahoo URL of the article I wanted to retrieve for this example was http://voices.yahoo.com/pennsylvanias-benevolent-gesture-bill-makes-sense-12218332.html. That is what I entered into the Wayback Machine's text box.
Once the article's URL has been entered, just press the Enter key.
If the article you are looking for is in the archive, you should now see a page showing the dates on which that article was saved to the archive. You can choose any of these dates, though normally you would probably want the latest one.
Now, click on the date you have selected, either where the date is listed just under the article URL, or on the calendar.
Note: do NOT click the article URL or the Browse History button.
That's it! Your archived article should now appear, and you can copy or download it.
How to de-index your article to avoid having "duplicate content"
Most writing sites require that any articles posted to them not be available elsewhere on the internet. So, in order to reuse your articles anywhere but on your own blog or website, you must ensure that no other copies of that material are visible on the web. I say “visible” because the issue is not whether or not your content exists anywhere in cyberspace, but whether it can be found by search engines such as Google or Bing. In other words, you need to make sure your material has been de-indexed so that it no longer shows up in search results.
Once a page is no longer online it will eventually be de-indexed automatically. But that might not occur for up to six months or even longer. If you want that de-indexing to take place quickly so that you can reuse an article without being flagged for having duplicate content, you can request that search engines remove it from their search results immediately. With Google and Bing (the two I am familiar with) this is done through their Webmaster Tools. Note that to use Google Webmaster Tools you must have a Google account, while Bing Webmaster Tools requires that you have a Microsoft account.
Here’s an example of how to request that an article be removed from Google search.
Go to http://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/removals. If necessary, sign into your Google account. Now you should see the Search Console.
Type the URL of the page you want de-indexed into the box, then click the Request Removal button. The Analyzing URL screen should appear, with the notation “This content is gone,” confirming that the page you want to remove from search is no longer online.
Click on the Request Removal button.
The URL of the article you want removed from search should now show in the URL list with a status of Pending. That means the page is in the queue to be de-indexed. In my experience, that usually happens within 24 hours.
Bing has a similar process. You can initiate it at https://www.bing.com/webmaster/tools/content-removal.
Now is the time to retrieve your articles!
If you are trying to recover articles from the Google (or Bing) cache, now is the time to get it done. As far as I've been able to determine, there are no guidelines as to how long a webpage may stay in the cache. My experience with my Yahoo articles after that site shut down was that it might be anywhere from three or four weeks to that many months. But eventually all deleted articles will be cleared from the cache.
This is especially important for Bubblews articles, since they do not appear to have been comprehensively saved in the Internet Archive. So, if you want to recover any of your Bubblews posts, now is the time.
© 2015 Ronald E. Franklin