Web sites have shorter life spans than goldfish. I suppose that many of them have simply moved to other hosts and had their URL's changed, but most of them are probably gone forever. There is also the fact that many of the sites that have survived have not been updated in ages. This is not unfamiliar at LJ, where not only have many journals been deleted, but a majority have not been updated in ages. (Well, in Internet ages.) I was surprised to find that three of the companies which made gadgets that are in Sluggo no longer have active web sites. Two of them have been swallowed by other companies, and maintain only a page with a link to the successor company, and one has vanished altogether.
I'm beginning to see the Internet as being like one of those old business districts pocked with vacant stores because all the business has gone to the new mall on the edge of town. But those vacant brick-and-mortar stores might eventually fill with thrift shops, while much of the emptiness on the Internet is as virtual as anything else here. It just sort of collapses on itself, so that only that pale 404 page marks the passing of some dream, some ambition, some attempt to communicate something. Cyberspace is haunted by the ghosts of dead URL's.