Not an over-reaction
It may be an over-reaction to say that "WebRing is dead," it will doubtless continue in some form, but I think its dead in its historic context.
Earlier on there were two basic kinds of Netizens (3 if you count the porn folks:-). There were those looking to get rich, and there were people trying to utilize the new technology for more human-based goals, making friends, publishing personal web sites, sharing ideas, etc.
Over the years the get-rich crowd has become more prominent. Webring was a critical component in the personal-use free speach movement. As the number of ads increased it was no problem. It takes money to run a site, especially a big one like the WebRing, but the feeling remained that webring was "ours." That changed when Yahoo moved in. At about the same time Yahoo destroyed Geocities as a free web community, they also destroyed WebRing. Even after Yahoo gave up on it, WebRing never recovered. Webring is now a money-driven enterprise that cares nothing for its users beyond making a buck. That's how it seems to me at least. That's OK of course, its their right to run their company as they wish. Its just different. What is clear however, the WebRing is no longer a leader in the freedom of speech web movement. Its just another commercial enterprise.
~John of AllFaith