CenturyLink has created a nifty infographic demonstrating just how young many of the biggest names on the web are – and how quickly they have fallen from greatness. This is all with a nod to the question of whether Facebook will still be the dominant social media site in five or ten years. The graphic estimates the average number of years before an online company “hits bottom” to be 11 years. Facebook is eight years old.
Though the infographic states the altavista search engine was shut down last year, it is still going even though Yahoo! had indicated it would be shut down. It now only gives Yahoo! results, which are, in turn, really Bing results. A couple of the others, AOL and Yahoo!, have begun morphing themselves into content companies. Both digg and Myspace have become smaller players in online spaces they helped create.
So are these trends only the false starts characteristic of a new, growing industry or are these short company lifespans the new reality in a quickly-shifting online world? Only time will tell, but Facebook would do well not to look back for inspiration.