link rot
n. The gradual obsolescence of the links on a Web page as the sites they point to become unavailable.

Example Citations:
The Web has also presented us with a whole new concept of what “out of print” means. Web pages are notorious for suffering from “link rot.” A reference that was cited yesterday may be moved or disappear entirely tomorrow without notice, making maintenance of these resources another headache.
Carolyn Kotlas, “Observations of a “Webliographer,” Information Outlook, February 1, 1997

Stopping “link rot,” the process by which links to other Web sites slowly go bad, is one of the chief jobs of each Webmaster.
—“Globe Online 2.0,” The Boston Globe, June 5, 1997

Earliest Citation:
Link Rot
The process by which links on a Web page become obsolete as the sites they‘re connected to change location or die.
—Gareth Branwyn, “Jargon Watch,” Wired, July 1, 1996

Related Words: