Apple has bought the website iCloud.net, and the independent social network that previously lived there is shutting down.
TechCrunch’s Ingrid Lunden reports that the Asian site recently informed its users that it has decided to “close iCloud.net and stop all its services.” Why? Because Apple has recently acquired the rights to its domain, as WHOIS data shows.
iCloud is, of course, the name that Apple uses for its cloud services like mail, photo storage, notes, and its “Find My Phone” tool. The Cupertino company is apparently trying to make sure it has every possible domain linked to it — it already has iCloud.com and iCloud.org, for example — and the iCloud.net social network is a casualty in this.
It’s not immediately clear whether Apple bought the entire social network in order to shut it down, or if it just bought the domain name, at which point its operator took the decision to bring an end to the social network. Apple did not immediately respond to Business Insider’s request for comment.
Tong Lei, the owner of the Asian social network declined to provide details on the number of users iCloud.net had in a comment below the announcement, though it doesn’t appear to have been particularly big. The other websites he owns will continue to operate, he said, and he also plans to “start a new site which will provide online coupon codes for Chinese users.”
Here’s the message that was posted on iCloud.net on February 14:
Hi all users of iCloud.net:
You may find an announcement showing on the homepage of iCloud.net, yes, we decide to close iCloud.net and stop all its services.
We offer social service since 2011, but now, iCloud.net finished his mission, it is time for him to retire.
So, you have a chance to delete your account if you have registered an account on iCloud.net.
Finally we have two suggestions：
Do not send any email to **@icloud.net.
Do not use **@icloud.net as your email address.
All the data will be destroyed at March 1, 2017.
Feb 14, 2017