purges DIGITAL

while finally getting around to renaming aux to aux_ for my AltaVista based search engine, I noticed that the product link,, is suddenly not found.

Well isn’t that a shame.

Ironically in a twist of fate, I found this article, “AltaVista Search Engine History Lesson For Internet Nerds“, with a nice overview of the amazing rise, and tragic neglectful decline of AltaVista. Then what struck me was this line:

Digital was the original owner of the domain that you’re reading now;

Wait!? What?!

Did just purge DIGITAL’s history?

Now I feel like an idiot for not having archived the archive. Always in motion is the past, it’s a shame that DEC’s pages had to be destroyed. History in digital form, especially Digital’s is always in motion and subject to $CURRENT_YEAR.


7 thoughts on “ purges DIGITAL

  1. I think it was already “excluded” several years ago, then it was visible again when HP did something with the brand and now it’s excluded again. I don’t get why can’t show it, but I’m not a lawyer.

      • I think you mean “” – there’s a few references to “” here including in the title.

        But yeah, it’s a strange and frustrating world where storage and bandwidth capacities are increasing rapidly, and hypertext depends on links to things that actually exist, but the Internet as we know it lacks reliable permanence. It’s very inconsistent too, where some publishers keep their entire back catalog online (any clicks generate ad revenue, and the content was already paid for) but others just lose history with their latest website redesign. Some things live forever, some things are immediately forgotten.

        I don’t know about you, but I always try to keep my domain registered in advance for the longest time I’m allowed to have. But even there, 10 years is not that long for any content that aims to be a long term archive or repository.

        • Argh somehow the misspelling got into a custom dictionary and… yeah it’s all over.

          Ive been at so many companies that let old things lapse because they aren’t interesting. They just don’t care, and it’s always an embarrassment when those things get snagged by people who either ransom it, or turn it into something else that chase away customers.

          Then again these are the same places that panic over spending $100 USD a year for MS Office, as they view their people’s time as worthless, and see that $9.99 a year to maintain a domain as ‘expensive’. The same goes for trendy ‘social’ issues that are quickly discarded only a few short years later. I can’t imagine buying something for more than 100,000 and throwing it in the garbage a few short years later, especially when upkeep is so cheap.

          If it was a direct sale, perhaps there was a condition that the past be wiped out to remove ‘market confusion?

             Updated Date: 2020-03-13T22:16:49Z
             Creation Date: 1993-07-22T04:00:00Z
             Registry Expiry Date: 2022-07-21T04:00:00Z

          The fact that it didn’t expire out makes me think it was a direct sale. How silly to have purged it though.

          • I don’t care about the domain being sold for a ludicrously low sun, props on the owner for snagging it.

            Just sad the history had to be purged.

      • HP auctioned off and about five years back for a few hundred thousand dollars. and have been blocked on the wayback machine for at least 10-15 years along with the www subdomains. It would have been someone at Digital, Compaq or HP that requested it though why I couldn’t guess. As best as I could tell and were the same website by the early 2000s (with the original DEC website moving to So why block and not block Would certainly be interesting to know who asked for it, when and why.

        All the other subdomains were still accessible if you knew what they were and the wayback machine had crawled them. IIRC the block was extended to all subdomains about the same time the wayback machine got a UI upgrade. I always assumed that it was a bug the other subdomains were accessible at all – one eventually fixed.

        My understanding is that while inaccessible the archive for these domains should still exist. I’ve often wondered if could be convinced to lift the block now that so much time has passed, the domains sold, trademarks expired, products discontinued, etc. At the very least the new websites on these domains are not being archived now. Pretty unlikely anyone at HPE would notice or care (or even know HPE has anything to do with digital) at this point.

  2. The day got sold to some content publishing(?) company was a dark day in history…hey at least the new owners are goodly enough to offer gratitude to ‘the original owner of this domain’ …the Mind boggles. I looked up at the selling price of the domain and it wasn’t that much …IIRC, no more than low 6 figures…why did HP even sell it? Seems all the cred that goes with owning such a historic domain is worth a hell of a lot more. is also strange (just some dude’s personal page)

    I remember for the longest time these domains redirecting to Compaq/HP. Did altavista just stop working only recently? I haven’t pointed my browser in that direction in a LONG time.

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