A service that monitors your external links for changes

We all know the value of Evergreen content. This long-term content is key for passive-income: produce once and reap the benefits for months and years to come.

However, the Internet isn't always benevolent towards long-term content. The Internet is inherently fragile. It moves fast, links break, pages are updated, etc.

Let's say you make a long-form blog post with 60ish external links. How you do know that in 3 months, 6 months, 2 years, all the links will still work?

What's more, how do you know those links still lead to the same content as when you first published? Maybe the "Top Regional Universities" paged you linked hasn't transformed into "Top Regional Colleges" 6 months later - same URL but different content, thus compromising your own content.

I am imagining a service that periodically crawls a site for external links and makes sure that (1) the links aren't broken, and (2) the links' content has not significantly changed since you linked to it.

Is this a pain-point that bloggers, newsletter-ers, academic journals (anyone that has long-term content online) encounter? Or am I just thinking of a problem that they don't really care about?

Is there a market for a product like this?
  1. Yes
  2. No
  1. 3

    Some food for thought...

    I ran a blog for a few years ago that made a decent amount of money from Amazon Affiliates.

    One thing that was always an annoyance for me was actually not checking if the link technically worked, as in a 404 etc, because Amazon don't really break/remove links - However it was checking if the product I linked towards actually was in stock at Amazon.

    For example at the time we had a lot of traffic which resulted in people buying WiFi USB dongles, I'd link to one of these pages and a few months later it would go out of stock, some people would click around the site and buy another one, however not all did and the revenue would drop, more than you would expect.

    It was a noticeable decline in conversions/sales on the weeks where the link was to an out of stock product, and at the time I would have paid for something that checked this for me.

    I've not looked to see if there's anything around now for this because I've been out of that world for a while now.

    1. 1

      Interesting idea for a very niche product :) Thank you for your thoughts!

  2. 3

    I'm not sure but looks like https://ohdear.app checks broken external links as a part of its uptime check: https://ohdear.app/feature/broken-page-check

    I think it makes sense for the broken link checker to be a feature of a website uptime monitoring service, not a standalone tool.

    PS. And I also think this is an useful feature!

    1. 1

      Hey Pēteris, thanks for showing me ohdear.app - hadn't see that before. Definitely would need a large product with many site monitoring features in order to compete with them.

      In addition to checking for broken links, I wonder if monitoring links' for "significant" content changes would merit a standalone product?

      Not sure if bloggers/researchers care that much about their external links changing content or not ¯\(ツ)

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