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Xplana.com: The Fetid Stink of Linrot

Xplana.com is rotting in my aggregator- they used to have a series of education technology blog articles; I cannot say I was a frequent reader, but I monitored them on my regular rounds.

But there is a foul, dead skunk smell coming from the aggregator coming from http://www.xplana.com/, and that is the odor of Linkrot, a scourge of the internet that is not as annoying as spam, but has more of an impact: it is the stench of lost knowledge and the ignorance of web designers.

Countless times web sites do a re-design, housecleaning, move things around, change their system so that all URLS that had ended in *.html end in *.asp, or just delete content. They commit the cardinal sin of thinking that they are the only audience, forgetting that they have left a trail of now dead, 404 URLs in web user bookmarks, and reams of bad links in web search indexes, which still list the old URLs.

Who knows what happend to Xplana? Articles stil lingering in my feed box
“Fair Use” in Online Courses: Where Are We Now? and Games, Team-Building, and ClickProverbes are rotten, as is their RSS URL.

One can only guess by their current web site that there was not much dough in articles to help educators, as it is all commercial “learnware” products. The contact page lists phone numbers and a street address.

What really would it cost them to have left the old article archives hanging? Or to post a message at the old URLs? Or to do some Apache redirects? There are lots of technical solutions that are easy to implement that allow web site developers to forward visitors from old links to new ones, or to display a message page describing what happened to the old content, or for that matter, just a better 404 Document Not Found page?

But it hardly ever happens. We are left to fetter around with a cached Google version of the page or hoping there are decent enough shreds of content left in the Internet Archive’s WayBack Machine.

If you change your web site’s structure, re-organize the directories, or just move or delete content, please do not forget the effects of leaving dead links.

Until then, there is still plenty of supply for Stev Baldwin’s wildly fun Ghostsites which has been memorialzing dead sites since the mid 1990s- check out the Museum of Net Failures:

1,250 glorious screenshots of defunct Web sites and the sordid secrets of their star-crossed creation.

You do not want to be listed do you? C’mon, fight Linkrot!

Profile Picture for Alan Levine aka CogDog
An early 90s builder of the web and blogging Alan Levine barks at CogDogBlog.com on web storytelling (#ds106 #4life), photography, bending WordPress, and serendipity in the infinite internet river. He thinks it's weird to write about himself in the third person.

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