Felix Salmon, the finance blogger at Reuters, has written a thoughtful piece in the wake of Google’s impending mass deletion of adult Blogger blogs:

But with today’s news that Google seems to be about to vaporize a significant number of the blogs on its Blogger platform, it’s becoming increasingly clear that the problem of link rot isn’t going away — if anything, it’s getting worse.

I’m a great believer that once something is placed on the internet for free, it should continue to stay there, for free, unless there’s an extremely good reason to delete it. Back when hosting websites was difficult and expensive, that was easier said than done. But now web hosting is effectively free, there’s really no excuse — and one might hope that, as a result, we’d see less link rot.

But that’s not what’s happening.

These mass deletions are huge; they make me feel almost sheepish about the anger with which I greeted, say, Greg Mankiw’s decision, back in 2007, not only to close his blog to comments, but at the same time to delete all the previous comments which had been made, with no warning. All the conversations which had taken place in his comments section, all the smart rebuttals which had been made — all of them just disappeared, overnight. Today, I’d barely blink at such a thing…

I share Mr. Salmon’s sheepishness. I haven’t forgotten the passion I brought to my 2006 rant about people who contribute to link rot by deleting blogs for no good reason; I’ve hated it since Susannah Breslin deleted her “The Reverse Cowgirl’s Blog” sometime between August 2 and October 5 of 2003. But in 2006, I never foresaw mass deletions of social media by corporate policy. I’d have scoffed if you had told me that in 2013 this would be a normal business practice for profitable corporations, rather than outrageous behavior condemned by all.

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