If you have an online business Web site, don't bother reading this. But if you have spent a lot of time building a news Web site, an online dictionary, a site with a lot of historical material or other informational Web site, please read on.
Not long ago a friend died at a relaively young age. He had spent 12 years pioneering use of the Internet, and built a Web site of about 20,000 pages. His widow had no way to maintain the site, and didn't even know how to renew the domain name. When the domain name expired, the man's work was simply vanished off the Internet.
As a last resort for such Web sites, the www.archive.org Web site maintains a digital archive of Web sites. It is slow and awkward, but at least it saves the information in the sites. For some reason, a directive in the robots.txt file of this particular Web site intentionally or unintentionally excluded the archive.org spider, so even that is lost.
Even if one day the site and domain are restored, all the search engine visibility that was built up over 12 years by all the backlinks to this Web site will probably have vanished - it will be "Gone with the Wind."
If you work and your Web site are precious to you, and you want others to see them even if you lose interest in the Web, go out of business or become unable to take care of the site for any reason, read about lapsed domains and vanishing Web sites - and how to protect your site : http://seo.yu-hu.com/Lapsed_Domains.html.