The Downfall of Script Directories

Websites do not last forever.

Over the years, I have seen a lot of great websites become more popular, however I have also witnessed great websites become less relevant over time. For example, many blogs that I used to read regularly have not been updated in 4 or 5 years.

This is the natural evolution of the internet.

Website owners will drop a website if it is no longer cost effective or if they need to devote their time to a new project. Personal issues can also affect whether someone will continue working on a particular website (e.g. marriage, babies, job, etc.).

It is also common for large companies to purchase good websites and then do the absolute minimum to maintain them. Over time, the website’s traffic drops as no one is looking after the website properly. This has happened to many websites I have sold.

I once sold a popular discussion forum of mine which had around 30,000 members for $40,000 on Flippa. Within a couple of years, the buyer had closed down the forum rather than spend time administrating it. It was such a sad end to a great community; though the owner was unwilling to sell it back to me at a reasonable price, despite the fact he had closed the community years earlier.

One type of website that I have seen decline over the last 10 years is script directories; despite the fact they remain useful.

The Decline of HotScripts

I visited Hot Scripts earlier today. I used this script directory all the time in the early 2000’s (it was launched in 1998). It was far and away the most popular script directory available to website owners at the time.

There was hardly a day that passed when someone did not refer someone else to the website on forums since every major script and software was listed in the HotScripts directory.

HotScripts in 2000
This is how HotScripts looked 15 years ago in the year 2000. Ooooooo. Fancy!

The first thing I noticed about HotScripts today is that they are selling ads via BuySellAds.com. I was surprised to see that their website only generates around 140,000 page impressions per month and only 25,000 page impressions on their home page.

Those of you who were actively building websites 10 to 15 years ago will be surprised at how low their traffic level is today; since it was such a high traffic website years ago.

* Yes, I acknowledge that 140,000 page impressions per month is good for many websites, but I am referring to a website that probably generated millions of page impressions per month at its peak.

HotScriptAds at BuySellAds
HotScripts currently generates around 140,000 page impressions per month.

What caused the decline of HotScripts?

My first thought was that it has not been given priority by their owners iNET Interactive, a large internet company who purchased them many years ago.

You may not know iNET Interactive by name, however you will be aware of the properties they own. They own website development forums such as Web Hosting Talk, DB Forums, and ABestWeb. They also own tech communities such as OverClockers and Mac Forums.

iNET Interactive are a company that are known for snapping up large websites. I believe they also snap up smaller websites with potential as they contacted me around 4 or 5 years ago when my old WordPress blog WP Mods was fairly new. I was not interested in selling at the time, though the estimated figure they put forward to me at the time was very low.

Building Websites Differently

Is iNET Interactive responsible for HotScripts becoming less relevant?

Yes and no.

Perhaps they can take some blame since the design and structure of the directory has not changed in many years and is perhaps looking a little dated; however, the same criticism can be directed at most directory websites.

I believe that HotScripts has become less popular because people build websites very differently today than they did 10 or 15 years ago.

In the first several years of working online, I tried hundreds of different scripts. I built websites with many different content management systems, forum scripts, and directories. Frequently, the websites I created would be built using many different scripts, such as a CMS for the home page, a chat script for the chat area, forum for threads etc.

Since 2006, I have used WordPress to build content websites. Therefore, when I am looking for a way to modify or enhance a website, I turn to a WordPress theme or plugin directory. That is why I do not actively visit HotScripts every week like I used to in the past.

How HotScripts Looks Today
How HotScripts looks today.

General script directories that provide tools and information for multiple platforms are still useful. You will find thousands of fantastic code snippets on a directory such as HotScripts. You will also find tutorials, clone scripts, and other useful software and applications.

However, they are certainly less relevant today than they were 10 years ago. It is more common for website owners to utilise a plugin directory that hosts plugins for a specific platform; whether it be for a blogging platform such as WordPress or a forum script such as XenForo. Years ago, it was much more common for internet marketers like myself to experiment with lesser known scripts.

I would love to hear from those of you who have been building websites for years. Did you used to use script directories such as HotScripts in the past? Please leave a comment below and share your experiences with script directories :)

Kevin