Who is the original coiner of the word 'linkrot'? Does anyone know?
"link-rot" is mentioned in the book Reality Check by David Wieners and David Pescovitz (copyright 1996):
You can web-surf them right away, during the delicate instant of history before the URLs all shift, the connections fail, the files shift addresses, and the hotlinks give way to the curse of link-rot.
In the same year, 1996, there is mention of "link rot" (without the hyphen) in Laura Morgan's Child support guidelines: interpretation and application:
I learned about the transient nature of the internet from maintaining my website and its numerous links; each month, a number of states would change the location of the guidelines or the state agency, resulting in what is known as "link rot".
hope this helps! :)
Google ngrams shows the first instances (that look really like the meaning of links failing) being for the spelling 'link rot' around 1996:
Notice that the much more popular spelling currently is as two words rather than one.
This doesn't really say that any particular person coined it (though of course some one could have).
The earliest instance of "link rot" that the Google version of UseNet archives shows is from 30 Oct 1996, in a humorous post by Susie Archer about "Generation X Baby BizSpeak". The list of definitions she sent out includes this:
Link Rot -- The process by which links on a web page became as obsolete as the sites they're connected to change location or die.
The post is titled "Fw: [HUMOR] Industry-related sniglets... (fwd)" so it's clear this list, and the term, was in circulation before that time.
The earliest citation I can find is to some publication by someone named Harwood c. 2000, cited in 2002.
Online components, however, are dynamic. Hyperlinks may have a short lifespan and require continual updating. On the average, at least one out of five links on college and university web sites are inoperable, a phenomenon known as "link rot" (Harwood, 2000, p. 23).
Incidentally, COCA doesn't give any hits for "linkrot" as a single word, only "link rot".