Linkrot at the AP

By Felix Salmon
July 21, 2010
Tom Laskawy found something rather ominous today: whenever he looked for an AP article more than 30 days old, it had disappeared!

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Tom Laskawy found something rather ominous today: whenever he looked for an AP article more than 30 days old, it had disappeared!

I did a quick search on old blog entries of my own which cited the AP. There was the famous tally of Tim Geithner’s phone calls — follow that link, and you get this:

yahoo.tiff

Or there was the FOIA request on cash-for-clunkers:

contra.tiff

But the articles do still exist online: the former is here, for instance, and the latter is here. And my link to an AP report in this post still works. Interestingly, all three of those links are at television stations (KIDK, MSNBC, and ABC, respectively.)

I’m not sure what’s going on here, but I can assure you that if you link to an article at Reuters.com which is freely available today, it will always be freely available in the future. We don’t believe in linkrot, or suddenly putting up paywalls on content which used to be free. I’m thinking that it’s worth drawing up a list of other news organizations willing to make a similar pledge. For most news stories, bloggers have a choice of whom to link to. And it would be nice, in such circumstances, to know which sites are reliable, and which ones aren’t.

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