Top-10 Least Link-Friendly Sites I’ve Linked To in the Past

I received some emails from people asking about what other sites besides the StarTribune.com are link unfriendly.

Here is a list of the Top-10 sites I’ve linked to in the past who’ve broken the links I’ve given them:

www.startribune.com
story.news.yahoo.com
daily.misleader.org
slate.msn.com
www.animalhumanesociety.org
www.rakemag.com (update: The Rake changed platforms [and with that, story URLs] but did a great job with redirects. See comments.)
www.swjournal.com
www.latimes.com
www.minnpost.com
www.wcco.com

I’ve linked to photos of dogs on the Humane Society website. Those pages have been removed rather than updating the status of the dogs. Adopted or dead? Who knows?

The Pioneer Press didn’t make the list because I hardly ever read that site. And if I don’t read it, I probably won’t end up linking to it. It doesn’t help that I keep having to log in to read the news. I imagine they’ve broken more links than just about anyone due to their domain changes over the years from pioneerplanet.com to pioneerpress.com to twincities.com. I’d like to a TwinCities.com story about the changes but that’s not possible. Instead, here’s an Entrepreneur.com story on the issue:

ON-LINE BRANDING EVOLVES AS SITES FIND PLACE(S)

Knight Ridder’s St. Paul Pioneer Press operates twincities.com, but in Minneapolis, the Star Tribune labels its site simply startribune.com.

Same locale, same market. What happened?

In 1995 St. Paul started with pioneerplanet.com to demonstrate the site’s intended reach beyond its franchise. “We wanted it to be more than the newspaper on-line, but all our research indicated consumers still thought of it as such,” says Site Director Mike Peluso. “We even considered renaming it pioneerpress.com.”

A year ago, as part of the Real Cities strategy, the site was renamed twincities.com.

“The name could not be better,” says Peluso. “We include things you would not find in a newspaper, such as an extensive annotated directory of local web sites and more entertainment listings than the alternative weekly. You put that together with the newspaper and you have a package that is the best way to extend what the newspaper provides in local news and what the national site can offer.”

I predicted the Minnpost dead links. They’re all from MinnPost’s pre-launch site where they created a bunch of press release pages and later threw them away creating dead links. Dumb move, considering that MinnPost’s pre-launch press releases were getting quite a bit of press.

Mainstream media sites tend to be the worst offenders. Apparently, they don’t think their news has any value after a week. If they’re in the ad delivery business, they should make it easy for people like me to send traffic to their ads.

Notice that no blogs made the top-10? The highest ranking blog was MNPublius, which appears to have changed blogging platforms without updating their CMS system to redirect their old URL structure to their story’s new locations. It’s a problem that could be fixed with a little work (301 redirects).

15 thoughts on “Top-10 Least Link-Friendly Sites I’ve Linked To in the Past”

  1. I know most of our wcco.com links stay up forever… but we did change our CMS which broke all of my blog links. Much to my excitement.

    I’m not sure if our redesign broke all our old links too.

  2. Gabe, I thought they were straight shooters, but not I feel mislead.

    Jason, it would be nice if webmasters would set up redirects to the new locations of content after doing CMS changes. However, it’s often overlooked.

  3. So, let me ask for online-savvy opinions–
    1) since you can virtually guarantee these 10 sites will break links in the near future; and
    2) you could cut n’ paste (whole or substantive portions of) the article below the fold after you op-ed and give the newsource link.

    -Since you cite the origin, it would not violate copyright, right?

    I understand it is extra work structuring the blog posting, but so is cleaning up broken links and so is hunting for secondary story coverage that you hope will not also break.
    –And, since sites of origin like Startrib disappear, you would soon be the final online source for these pageviews and thus ad clicks, eh?

    This could be blogger win for you, the Startrib et al does the heavy lifting of writing the story and leaves you all the ad rev after a mere 30 days, no?

  4. I definitely receive traffic from people searching for stories I’ve written about that are no longer available from sources like the ones listed above. However, wholesale copy/pasting the articles – even with citation – wouldn’t fly. That’s not to say that a zillion spam blogs don’t automatically scrape and republish content as an advertising play, but that doesn’t make it right or legal.

  5. Ah, the old black hat seo trick, I forgot about the content scrapers. See, I’m so innocent, I forget about people who do these things for evil, I just think about the good of preserving valued content from being lost in untimely data purges by large companies who don’t bother to determine the value of their own work.

    So, we all lose.

  6. We spent a lot of money to make sure all our links were forwarded when we changed cms. Got any specifics on what link broke?

    p.s. if it was a restaurant page link, I take it all back. We still haven’t figured out why those forwards didn’t work.

  7. Tom, on closer inspection, it looks like that was money well spent. I tested the links and found that the plugin wasn’t picking up on 301 redirects. After that, I’m down to one link from The Rake on this page.

    It doesn’t 404, but it no longer goes to what I reference.

    Nice job on the move. Very well done.

  8. Seems a little harsh to include MinnPost in the Top Ten considering our deadlinks are “pre-launch” press releases. Hard to dispute the assessment that it was dumb, but any chance we can get a do-over using the “post-launch” site?

  9. Hi Karl, good call on doing another round of this. At this point, I imagine MinnPost would fare well in this test.

    However, I read very little of the site’s content (and thus get around to linking to it) because the feeds are truncated. As of this morning, I’m subscribed to 381 feeds in my Google Reader. Subscribing to feeds that force me to click out just to read the content doesn’t seem rational to me based on how I consume the news when I’ve been able to find so many great news sources that don’t require me to do so.

  10. Actually, I’ve written the RSS post before over here. Very few truncated RSS feeds make it into my reader (7 out of 381 feeds I subscribe to are truncated and that includes MinnPost feeds I subscribe to).

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