Bookmarked The 100 Year Plan (by Automattic/WordPress)

WordPress is offering a century of managed hosting for 38.000USD, I presume upfront.

In reply to I’d love to understand what prompted Automattic to offer a hosting plan for $38K. by Ben Werdmuller

I don’t think this is a serious proposition by Automattic / WordPress.

  1. Who is in a position to put 38.000USD on the table right now, that they can’t use more usefully elsewhere? (even if in terms of monthly rates it’s not a large sum)
  2. Who believes Automattic, or any company, is likely to be around anno 2123 (unless they pivot to brewing or banking)? Or that they or their successor will honor such century old commitments (State guaranteed Russian railway shares are now just over 100 years old)?

I think it’s a way of getting attention for the last part of Matt’s quote at the end:

I hope this plan gets people and other companies thinking about building for the long term.

Matt Mullenweg

That is a relevant thing to talk about. People’s digital estates after they pass are becoming more important. I know how much time it took me to deal with it after my parents died, even with their tiny digital footprint, and even when it wasn’t about digital preservation mostly. Building code, hardware and systems to last is a valuable topic.

However if I want to ensure my blog can still be read in 100 years there is an easy fix: I would submit it to the national library. I don’t think my blog is in the subset of sites the Dutch Royal Library already automatically tracks and archives, even though at 20+ years it’s one of the oldest still existing blogs (at the same url too). However I can register an ISBN number for my collected postings. Anything published in the Netherlands that has an ISBN number will be added to the national library’s collection and one can submit it digitally (preferably even).

I think I just saved myself 38.000 USD in exchange for betting the Royal Library will still exist in 2123! Its founding was in 1798, 225 years ago, so the Lindy effect suggests it’s likely a good bet to give it another century or two.

6 reactions on “Digital Longevity And Buying A Century Of WordPress Hosting

  1. Ha! No way would I put $38000 down for my blog. Not when I haven’t travelled for a long time since before Covid and of course, have bills to pay. I’d much rather use the money for that. However it’s an interesting point. I was thinking about transferring all my posts into a book that I can print out – or volumes of books – or even in any other format to give to my family. Or maybe not. When I’m gone. I’m gone.

    I know someone close to me who is in the process of digitally erasing themselves. In the sense that they are removing everything of themselves off Google. They have no record of their name or photo on any site. All their work is on their own personal cloud. Of course they (and their family) aren’t on any social media. It’s an ongoing battle for them to do this too.

    • You can buy an ISBN at isbn.nl (109EUR for 1, 283 for 10). You could put your entire archive together and give it an ISBN, and add subsequent years with a new ISBN as annual update. Or you register an ISSN, which is for periodicals, for free at https://webloket.kb.nl/issn which applies to your entire publication regardless of updates. And then e.g. use the monthly archive links as ‘issues’ for your periodical.

  2. …. Ton Zijlstra suggested publishing and submitting a book to your national library. It sounds like the best idea, but I wouldn’t want to publish my family pictures 🙂

    If it weren’t for videos, I think I’d bet on books and photo albums as a way to build myself a legacy. ….

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