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Web pages must live forever (Jakob Nielsen)
Mohamed_E




msg:339891
 5:48 pm on Sep 20, 2004 (gmt 0)

My site is an informational site, and I do not hesitate to send my users elsewhere when I do not have the information they seek. Hence I have a large number of outgoing links, many of them deep links. Since I know that link rot is a fact of life, I check my links often. When a link is broken with no 301 to tell me where it has gone, I try hard to find it.

Normally I do not complain. As noted above, I realize that link rot is a fact of life. But today I am feeling cranky so I will complain about a couple of broken links.

The first is from a site which runs several facilities. Until recently each one lived at site.com/[b]facilities[/b]/name.html. Yesterday these links were all broken, with no 301 to tell me where they had gone. A quick look at the site revealed that they had migrated to site.com/[b]facilities-info[/b]/name.html. Why? I am not the only one to have links to the specific facilities pages, and in addition I am sure that many users have bookmarked them. What do they gain by this meaningless renaming?

Presumably it will not cost them much in search engine rankings, since I suspect that they get the bulk of their links from other pages wthin the same site.

The second example is more understandable (in human terms) but much more serious in SEO implications. A site known for a few years as [b]name[/b].com has become [b]name-team[/b].com. I understand the human reasons for the change: the material on the site is very much a team effort. But every existing link to that site is now dead!

Let me suggest that you read (or re-read!) Jakob Nielsen's Web Pages Must Live Forever [useit.com]. It was written 6 years ago, and is still true!

[edit]Arithmetic error noted in follow-up post and in sticky mail corrected. Thanks![/edit]

[edited by: Mohamed_E at 6:18 pm (utc) on Sep. 20, 2004]

 

Romeo




msg:339892
 6:06 pm on Sep 20, 2004 (gmt 0)

.... hmm, besides the article is only 6 years old, yes it is still true.

SCNR and regards,
R.

isitreal




msg:339893
 10:40 pm on Sep 20, 2004 (gmt 0)

Is Jakob going to pay everyone's hosting costs when a site is no longer needed or desired? That's very generous of him. A site should be up as long as you feel like keeping it online, no more or less time, a section should be up for as long as you want it up, it's your site, you can do whatever you want with it, if you want to 301 the pages, great, if you want to have them 404, great, it's your site.

This Jakob guy is silly, I don't know why he gets so much respect, he doesn't deserve it. The web is one of the most ephemeral mediums to come about, like radio and tv, it runs on electricity, you have to pay to have a domain name, you have to pay for hosting, that's understood, by everyone except him apparently. Turn off the power and all the links are dead, turn off a top level domain like they did with libya's recently and that whole range is dead.

I think he's mistaking the web for print, or maybe stone etched text, or something, hard to say when somebody makes such an illogical point.

try comparablly silly statements:

all radio shows that have ever played should be available 24/7
all tv shows that ever have been on should be available 24/7
all magazines ever written should be reprinted for all time.
all newspapers published should be available for all time.

drbrain




msg:339894
 10:58 pm on Sep 20, 2004 (gmt 0)

Web pages should live until they are 301 Moved Permanantly, 410 Gone, or 402 Payment Required. Only typos should be 404 Not Found.

Of course, if the domain name disappears, you're SOL anyhow.

grandpa




msg:339895
 11:03 pm on Sep 20, 2004 (gmt 0)

Surfers can be fickle. I want all the pages on my small sites to be visible forever, or as long as practical. Obviously if the server goes down or the domain expires then I will have a problem with visibility. But until that happens I really can't afford to have visitors not find my pages. Surfers can be fickle, they will move on.

pleeker




msg:339896
 11:12 pm on Sep 20, 2004 (gmt 0)

The web is one of the most ephemeral mediums to come about

We are at the point now where it doesn't have to be that way. The web presents greater opportunities for archiving everything than all of the mediums you compared it to - TV, radio, print.

all radio shows that have ever played should be available 24/7
all tv shows that ever have been on should be available 24/7

Wouldn't that be wonderful?

all magazines ever written should be reprinted for all time.

Not reprinted for all time, but they should all be archived in digital format.

all newspapers published should be available for all time.

I'd agree with that. Why not?

John Battelle has written some interesting thoughts on this: From the Ephemeral to the Eternal [battellemedia.com]

isitreal




msg:339897
 12:18 am on Sep 21, 2004 (gmt 0)

The question was on url's living forever, if noone is paying for the domain name the url is dead when the domain name goes, it's irrelevant how much stuff is archived, the url is gone, you can't do a 301 unless you have access to the url, and its domain.

Domains come and go, site structures come and go, I prefer to let the stuff flow along and let things come and go, most of the stuff on the web is junk anyway, like on tv, radio, and the print media.

If you want to create something more permanent write a book, those have a good history of lasting a long time, when worth it, there's a couple of good ones out there that are a few thousand years old, I don't see the web lasting that long, not even close, it takes a lot of energy to run the web, both on the server/network side and the client side, it's a luxury we can currently afford, this isn't necessarily always going to be the case.

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