Link Rot Is Alive and Well

I earlier commented on SLAW on the problem of link rot on the web.

I am updating my “Doing Legal Research in Canada” guide on since I believe I last updated it in 2004 and it is out-of-date (my similar guide on NYU’s Globalex site is more current for now than the guide on

As part of updating the guide, I was struck by the fact that easily more than 50% of the links were broken (and for some topics, it was as high as 90%). All within 3 years or so! And the existing links were not links to “fly-by-night” websites but were links to government portals, legislative sites and so on. In some cases, the dead links were likely might fault by trying to deep-link too far into a site rather than instead linking to a more stable “root” URL. Nonetheless, a hugely frustrating problem.


  1. Being the creator of CyberSpyder Link Test, a spider that checks for broken links on a site, I am constantly amazed at how few Web pages are routinely validated to ensure all links still work. Current detailed studies are hard to find but I do know that sites that link to many offsite locations tend to show a greater rate of linkrot than those that mostly link internally. The worst rates of linkrot seem to occur in professional areas such as universities, etc. where many URLs point to online references or articles.
    Tom Aman

  2. Link rot remains a huge problem. With that said, there are several useful Firefox extensions that help link users from 404 ‘page not found’ errors to cached and archived copies that exist elsewhere on the web. I recently wrote a blog that does a side-by-side comparison of the top 4 extensions. It hope it helps: