[We're presuming] Box Office Mojo Absorbed Into IMDb.com [because we're trolling for clicks] - TheWrap
The site has been quietly redirected to its parent company
Late last night, as I was about to go to sleep, I had a sudden need to check the box office results of some film or another. When I surfed over to Box Office Mojo on my phone, I found only an error message informing me the site was down, and that they were working on getting it back as soon as possible.
I check Box Office Mojo often—so often, in fact, that I saw the same message when I surfed over to the site absent-mindedly earlier this afternoon. Website downtime isn’t uncommon, although it was admittedly weird that there was no word on the reason for the downtime on the site’s official Twitter account. And when the site started redirecting to the box office results page on IMDB—which owns Box Office Mojo, and which is owned by Amazon—there was reason to question just what was going on at one of the Internet’s greatest resources.
The Wrap story above didn’t bother to ask questions before filing the above report. Not acknowledging the downtime prior to the redirect, the site argues that the site has been “absorbed” into IMDB, and that the site “has been shut down.” The story spread on social media, with many lamenting the “death” of something that has not been confirmed dead: subsequent reports from Variety, The Hollywood Reporter, and the New York Times were more careful to acknowledge the lack of clarity as to what exactly is happening, but they’re all reporting on something that Box Office Mojo’s editors, IMDB, and Amazon are not commenting on.
There is no doubt that something is going on with the site—the fact that there was no advance warning, or subsequent communication, suggests some level of conflict between the various parties as to the site’s future. We can talk about how it’s all happening on a Friday afternoon, where everyone breaks bad news (albeit often forgetting that in an age of social media, journalists don’t stop working at 4pm on a Friday). We can talk about how the “Error” message was not a generic one, but one that spoke about the people working to get the site back as soon as possible, as though there was a power struggle going on behind the scenes (rather than a technical error). But The Wrap’s article doesn’t mention any of this: its only source is pure speculation.
Here’s what’s not speculation, though: There is no environment where the information housed within Box Office Mojo will disappear from the Internet. That information has value, both because no one else has it, and because there’s a struggle around it to begin with. It’s likely that this data will be accessed in a different way. It’s even more likely that IMDB will either house or have a stronger branding presence in whatever venture this might be (which is why The Wrap’s presumption is not absurd in and of itself). And I can speak for those who spend considerable time each day on Box Office Mojo that seeing any level of change to the site’s structure is going to take some considerable adjustment that I may not be mentally prepared for.
But this is not a doomsday scenario, and we don’t know what we’ll be adjusting to with any certainty. It’s possible that the public outcry—the paper of record weighed in, people—will convince Amazon of the value of the Box Office Mojo brand as a distinct entity. It’s also possible, I suppose, that the site and its data just disappears entirely into the online void. But despite reporting that only bothers to include one “seems to have been” where four or five similar qualifiers were necessary, the fate of Box Office Mojo remains an uncertainty.
Which is to say that it’s something to be monitored closely, but not something that should lead us to crack each others’ heads open and feast on the goo inside.