Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Old Links

The dreaded 404 error. When clicking on a link to a webpage that no longer exists you usually get an error similar to this. If you are lucky, the page has been moved to a different location and the site owner will set things up to automatically transfer you to its new location. However many websites have vanished forever.  While digging through an old backup from 1997 I ran across an old  list of links I had used on a regular basis. I tried clicking on all the links to see how many still existed. Out of the 68 sites on my list (mostly video game related) only one still existed in the same location.


One had moved but had left a forwarding address and automatically forwarded me to the new site.

http://www.mindspring.com/~keita/agh.html  (aka Atari Gaming Headquarters)

Two forwarded me to the websites of the companies that currently own the original companies IP.

http://www.funcoland.com/ redirects to the Gamestop website as they two companies merged in the year 2000.

http://www.sierra.com/support/patches/ Sierra's support site for their games now redirects to Activision's support site as they are they are the current owners of Sierra.

The rest all display 404 errors or have domain squatters with one exception.  http://www.n64hq.com/updates.htm redirects to Nintendo's main website. As N64HQ  was not affiliated with Nintendo this is very significant. Back in the early days of the World Wide Web, you could register any site you wanted and if you were the first to grab a domain name it was yours as long as you paid the registration fees on time. Nowadays, in certain circumstances, people or companies can take over certain domains if they own a trademark that is contained in a domain name. In this example, Nintendo owns the trademark on N64 so at some point they were able to gain control of n64hq.com.

This was an interesting experiment and just goes to show how much the web changes over time. I'm just glad the wayback machine (http://www.archive.org/web/web.php) is around so we can still access the content on some of these old webpages that no longer exist.

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