Lately I've noticed that a lot of thumbnails won't load anymore, almost as if the servers they're hosted on have stopped working and never been replaced. It's really weird that a site this big and this... significant? ...would be letting something like that happen, and weirder that I haven't heard anyone else talking about it. But it's been like this for months now, and with the recent news that Twitter is struggling to stay in business and has shut down Vine as a cost-cutting measure, it's a possibility worth considering.
I've long thought that we're in for a second dot-com bubble burst one of these days, with so much of the Internet relying on ad revenue in a time when advertising online is becoming less and less profitable (caught in a vicious cycle of making ads more obnoxious and desperate in response to people using ad blockers, driving more people to use ad blockers in response, and so on). And my concern is less for content creators having nowhere else to go (a lot of serious artists have fled to Tumblr, which admittedly has a host of problems of its own, and if DA goes down for real, I'm sure some clone will spring up that isn't a complete mess) than for a decade and a half worth of artwork vanishing forever or, more likely, continuing to float around the Web with no attribution. (As an aside, if you ever find that some site has stolen your artwork, put it on a t-shirt, etc., THE ABSOLUTE LAST THING YOU WANT TO DO is take down the original, the only public record that you created it. Really, this is a good argument for never deleting anything from DA or Tumblr period, just in case.)
Anyway, I'd love if someone could get to the bottom of this. It's one thing for, say, the Internet Archive to start letting hard drives fail without backups because they're a non-profit operating on a shoestring budget, but the expectation that things will be handled in a professional manner is kind of one of the perks of using a for-profit service in the first place.