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Who Would Shut Down Hipster Runoff? A Gchat with Carles

When I heard that Hipster Runoff had been hacked and shut down this morning, I was bummed, but I assumed that it would be back soon. I guessed that something straightforward, like a flood of traffic from a DDoS attack, had shut it down, and that the...
March 13, 2012, 5:00pm

When I heard that Hipster Runoff had been hacked and shut down this morning, I was bummed, but I assumed that it would be back soon. I guessed that something straightforward, like a flood of traffic from a DDoS attack, had shut it down, and that the site would be back to poking fun at the indie industry and coining excellent Internet shorthand terms in no time. So when Carles, the man behind Hipster Runoff, agreed to have a Gchat with me about the crash, I thought we could talk about all kinds of wild conspiracy theories about Wavves or Best Coast (or Jake Gyllenhaal) destroying his mainframe.

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Then I found out all of the Hipster Runoff site backups were destroyed, and I felt like an ass. That’s a really serious piece of sabotage, especially considering Hipster Runoff is a one-man blog making fun of alternative culture. Carles’ ongoing problems raise a bunch of questions that really don’t get addressed too much in the blogosphere. What does it take to provoke someone to try to destroy a blog? More importantly, how susceptible is a one-man show, even one as successful as Hipster Runoff, to getting shut down and silenced?

#pray4carles Not looking good.

— HIPSTER RUNOFF (@hipsterrunoff) March 13, 2012

At this point it’s tough to tell when Hipster Runoff will be back, especially considering that the site’s entire archives are possibly lost right now. Have the sensitivities of the anti-anti-hipster hipsters, the music blogosphere, and the culture industry really led us here? Who would do such a thing to Carles?

me: So Hipster Runoff is down. Did it get hacked?

CRLS: My hosting company and support team say that there are signs of foul play on the server, and some of the last actions before it crashed are very suspicious.

me: That’s a bummer. Do you have any suspects?
Like maybe someone who got panned by HR?

CRLS: I can’t really name names, but I know that my site is frowned down upon in the indie community. All of the other sites hate me, and many artists and labels do not support my site. I am paying a price for not being part of the Corrupt Indie Machine.

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me: Hmm. I can see how you’ve made enemies. Do you think it was Skrillex?
He brings his computer everywhere…
Will this go down as the time HR got ‘dropped?’

CRLS: My server disk has crashed and remote backups were sabotaged.

me: Holy shit.
That’s seriously foul play. This wasn’t just the site being flooded with hits or anything. CRLS: Sorry, I thought this was going to be a serious interview about more technical issues.

me: I apologize, I didn’t realize it was so serious. CRLS: Oh OK. me: I thought it was like a DDoS, like Anonymous would do.
But you’re saying things were physically sabotaged, right?
That’s a different matter altogether.

CRLS: I think so. I am a 1 man operation.
My tech/security probably wasn’t where it should have been, so I was a vulnerable target.

A screenshot from Hipster Runoff after it returned online, in a kind of old timey Netscape Navigator-style that hipsters still appreciate.

me: But, still this sounds pretty severe. Would someone really be angry enough about the site to go that far, to try to destroy everything?
Do you get a lot of hate mail?
I’m just curious if you think it was a scorned fan/band or if was something larger.

CRLS: I am not sure, it seems like it at this point. I have my suspicions, but I can’t confirm anything at this point.

me: OK. You’ve been tweeting about the site being down. How has the response been? My girlfriend texted to say “:(” and “this really sucks”

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CRLS: Every one says that I was irrelevant and past my prime anyways. I have mixed feelings about it. Hopefully if the site comes back, I can recapture the magic.

me: People have been saying that? Dicks. But if you were past your prime, why would someone try to destroy you now?
Isn’t it proof of your relevantness?

CRLS: I am not sure. I wish people would just realize that I am a content farm, just like any other website.
I have to be on a conference call with my hosting company and data recovery team in 2 minutes

me: OK, no problem. One last question: Will Hipster Runoff be back?

CRLS: Most likely site will be back, but at this point unsure if old posts will still exist. Trying to import old data from RSS feeds and a saved database from a migration we did from Wordpress to Drupal in 2009. Still trying to figure out best case scenario.

Image via The Cobrasnake.

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