Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Link rot, a problem with no end in sight

Every year I run a scan of Tech-media-tainment to check for broken weblinks and each year I’m saddened by how many I find.
I like to include weblinks to news articles, blog posts and websites to provide additional resources for readers. But as the years pass, a lot of those links stop working. People clicking on those hyperlinks will get 404 and other error messages.
That’s frustrating for readers. And it’s frustrating for blog editors like me. I spend a few hours every year deleting dead links, a problem known as link rot.
Link rot makes it difficult to preserve information and research online. What’s here today might not be here tomorrow. It is the biggest failed promise of digital content.
Once again I used the free online tool at BrokenLinkCheck.com to scan for web pages with broken or dead links. The tool processed 1,513 web pages at Tech-media-tainment and found 161 broken links.
Quite a few websites simply went kaput, including specialty sites and viral media aggregators on Tumblr and elsewhere.
Among the websites that shut down were those for older movies and canceled TV shows, including “Katy Perry: Part of Me,” “Terminator: Salvation” and NBC’s “Do No Harm.”
Defunct businesses that let their websites expire included the Bikini Hockey League and Lingerie Basketball League.
Another website that closed was for the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. That website, Recovery.gov, was President Barack Obama’s plan to get the U.S. out of the Great Recession. I guess his administration said “Mission accomplished” and shut it down.
At least 16 of the bad links belonged to the Huffington Post. In many cases, HuffPo had run an Associated Press story, but the licensing rights likely expired.
News websites especially need to be better stewards of online content and keep weblinks from expiring. There needs to be more permanence to online content.

Photo: Huffington Post 404 error page.

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