Link Rot: only half of the links on 2005's Million Dollar Homepage are still reachable

In 2005 a young man from England created a website called The Million Dollar Homepage and sold advertising space on it. The page is a 1000 × 1000 pixel grid (1,000,000 pixels) and he sold the pixels for $1 each. The page has 2,816 links in it. A recent analysis of all the links reveal that only 1,780 are still reachable.

From Harvard's Library Innovation Lab:

Over the decade or so since the Million Dollar Homepage sold its last pixel, link rot has ravaged the site’s embedded links. Of the 2,816 links that embedded on the page (accounting for a total of 999,400 pixels), 547 are entirely unreachable at this time. A further 489 redirect to a different domain or to a domain resale portal, leaving 1,780 reachable links. Most of the domains to which these links correspond are for sale or devoid of content.

The 547 unreachable links are attached to graphical elements that collectively take up 342,000 pixels (face value: $342,000). Redirects account for a further 145,000 pixels (face value: $145,000). While it would take a good deal of manual work to assess the reachable pages for content value, the majority do not seem to reflect their original purpose. Though the Million Dollar Homepage’s pixel canvas exists as a largely intact digital artifact, the vast web of sites which it publicizes has decayed greatly over the course of time.

[via Clive Thompson]