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A look at website lifespans

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Kitkat
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A look at website lifespans

Post by Kitkat on Sun 30 Nov 2014, 10:07

So true, and sadly familiar .........  

Websites and Web services have a lifespan, just like humans.

Sites come into existence, flourish, decline and die.

Services become wildly popular and quickly fade away.

Many of us can list websites and Web services that a few years ago ruled the online world and are now just a memory: AltaVista, MySpace, WebVan, Jennicamlive, Beenz, Google Buzz, Meebo, Encarta, among others.

You need only wander over to The Internet Archive's “Wayback Machine” (http://archive.org/web/) to browse through the digital graveyard of dead sites and ancient versions of existing sites.

Recently, a study suggested Facebook's appointment with the digital Grim Reaper is just three years away (http://fxn.ws/KQwAAr). Using theories tied to the way diseases spread and decline, Princeton University researchers suggest Facebook has already hit its peak and faces a decline in users over the next few years.

How much of a decline? Up to 80 percent of its current members by 2017, the study predicts. (http://bit.ly/1fi7zYY)

That would peg Facebook's lifespan as a social networking site to about 13 years or so.

In the fastpaced online world, five digital years is roughly equal to just under 24 real years, by one estimate (http://bit.ly/1ejETNa). So, a 13-year run would be about 61 real years — not bad for a business, really.

What's the lifespan of a Web page? Some have suggested that's like asking, “How long is a piece of string?” A piece of string is as long as it is; a Web page lives for as long as it does.

There are folks who are experts in digital preservation and Web curation.

One such person, Brewster Kahle, founder of The Internet Archive (http://archive.org), pegs the average lifespan of a Web page to 44 days.

That is, the average time for being able to access a specific URL over the Internet is 44 days. After that, the page disappears or is removed from its original location.

Alexa Internet (www.alexa.com), an Internet analytics company, estimates the “rate of decay” for Web pages is about 75 days. In other words, the typical Web page remains active and accessible for 75 days before it is changed or deleted.

How about websites — how long do they live?

If we're asking how long does a website's design, structure and function last, most Web developers will tell you two to five years (http://bit.ly/LQPBUi). Then the site is redesigned and rebuilt and looks nothing like the original site. The old site is dead.

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