Invalid URL/Link Detection Follow-Up

“Nothing is ever as easy as it first appears.” -Murphy

Last week we introduced our new approach to broken link detection and began notifying members if we found broken links in any of your existing articles.

The response from our members was huge… and much greater than we had anticipated. Since then we have been working diligently to address this overwhelming response.

I’d like to share some of the challenges that have been created and help you better understand what will be happening in the next few days.

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly…

  • The email we sent to members stated that we would be unlinking your links in 48 hours if no action was taken. This is incorrect and we apologize for the error. We will recheck and then unlink your dead link in 35 days (but would like you to fix it within the next 48 hours).
  • In the past 48 hours we have received over 10,000 article re-submissions with your corrections. Wow! We had no idea our members were that fast!
  • We’ve received over 2,000 emails to our Member Support Team providing us with a heads up. This is great! It shows that a good user experience is important to all of us!
  • When you fix a dead link by editing your article…your article will be re-reviewed with today’s standard of article review and not the standard that was used on the original date your article was first accepted. Sorry, we don’t grandfather any article which means any article edited must pass today’s standards (that are always just a slight bit higher than previous years standards).
  • When you delete an article you will notice that your links will still show as being invalid in your Article Diagnostic Center. We are aware of this and are working on a resolution.
  • We sent out 2 emails to every member with a confirmed dead link – one went to your email address on file and the other was sent to your EzineArticles Member’s Inbox. These emails were identical. You can disregard one email if you have already addressed the broken link(s).
  • If your Article Diagnostic Center shows no links to be invalid, you can trust that this is correct!

In addition, we’ve had to create a series of new internal tools to help our team support you.

All of this has, unfortunately, put us into a backlog both in Member Support and article approvals. We will be working on this diligently and our editors are dedicated to investing the overtime necessary to get us back to normal approval times.

Our goals are to make the invalid URL/link Article Diagnostic System:

  1. More user-friendly & predictable
  2. Bullet-proof accurate (that a dead link is in fact dead/invalid)
  3. Increased speed on the review process
  4. Increased member support response speed & accuracy

We appreciate your patience, feedback and attention.

25 Comments »


1
CD Rates Blog writes:

I was very grateful for the message and the ability to fix the link.

However, because articles are not grandfathered, I had to make some additional edits which took more time than just simply fixing the link.

I would suggest you consider making a process that automatically re-approves the article if only the link is corrected. So allow them to be grandfathered. With the number of new submissions, I wouldn’t expect grandfathering to cause that much problems with perceived quality. If someone wanted to edit the article and make other additions/subtractions I could see the need for a new review.

As you pointed out this has caused you and us more problems. It has cost money in time and potentially lost money for you with ads or us sales, especially if the article had heavy traffic. And has cost you a lot with the additional programming and now getting through the log jam, when your staff could be busily approving new material.

Again, I appreciate the new tool, but you seriously need to consider whether your current approach is really best.

Comment provided July 22, 2009 at 12:33 PM

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2
Daniel writes:

I think it’s great that you’re doing this because it helps both EzineArticles and article authors who may have forgotten about where some old articles were linking.

This keeps EzineArticles as #1 article directory and the new interface is great.

Thanks for doing this,

Dan

Comment provided July 22, 2009 at 12:35 PM

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3
Pat writes:

Penny and the rest of the gang…you all are the greatest. Well, except for my Pop and Ali.

Comment provided July 22, 2009 at 12:38 PM

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4
Warren Little writes:

Thanks for the excellent job you all do to make the clients experience one that is remembered favorably.

Warren Little

Comment provided July 22, 2009 at 1:16 PM

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5
Jack Wilson writes:

I have over 60 articles on eZine which are linked to my website at geocities. You probably have heard that geocities will cease to exist in October 2009. Is there a way for me to change all these links at once or do I have to fix each one separately?

Thanks,

Jack

Comment provided July 22, 2009 at 2:47 PM

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Hi Jack from July 2009 :)

Unfortunately, you would need to change your link in every article. There are instances where we will help you with this but that is relative to unique problematic areas.

See my email to you for more details.

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6
Gerry Faehrmann writes:

That great you are taking the initiative on this.

It really is quite frustrating (and not to mention very unprofessional) when you are interested in someone’s article & and their offer, then you go to their website link and find it’s dead as a dodo.

Comment provided July 22, 2009 at 4:14 PM

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7
Michelle Jayes writes:

This is a great service. You picked up 5 dead links of my articles, which I have now fixed. Wouldn’t have known about it without your help. Thank you.

Michelle Jayes

Comment provided July 22, 2009 at 4:29 PM

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8

I am completely satisfied with the quality and service I have received from ezine and look forward to reading and writing here soon Bruce Mackay

Comment provided July 22, 2009 at 6:51 PM

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9
Roxie Boyd writes:

This was a great idea. Fortunately for me I didn’t have any dead links. Thanks!

Comment provided July 22, 2009 at 6:58 PM

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10
James Williams writes:

I received an email and was impressed by the service. Thankfully my link was not a dead one, but my server must have had issues.

Your broken link detection will certainly make me look at my hosting providers too!

Comment provided July 22, 2009 at 8:49 PM

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11
steve884 writes:

Thanks, found over 5 dead links. Fixed them ASAP. Very helpful guide.

Comment provided July 22, 2009 at 9:19 PM

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12

Fantastic – nothing worse than all your hard work going to zip with a broken link.

Comment provided July 22, 2009 at 10:27 PM

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13
HealthPlan4u writes:

Hi,

Another excellent job by EzineArticles.com team.

I agree with statement by CD Rates Blog, your team seriously need to consider whether your current approach is really the best.

Anyway thanks for the information you sharing here.

HealthPlan4u

Comment provided July 22, 2009 at 11:08 PM

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14
Manish writes:

This is a greatest job – Such types of earlier capsules (Reverse Knowledge grabing / remembering old articles) would help us a lot, just in case to remember or as a follow-up to your brain that what you have learnt so far or whether you have implemented those and following the learnings?.

We really appreciate to introduce such a new tool – Fantastic idea and seriously it’s a excellent approach and do let us know if we can help your team.

All the best and keep it up.

Comment provided July 23, 2009 at 12:08 AM

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15

This is my first stop here today found you via a visitor on my site grammology.

We’ll be reviewing your terms and conditions to make sure our articles are valid looking forward to some new traffic from your site.

Dorothy from grammology
grammology.com

Comment provided July 23, 2009 at 3:08 AM

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16
Geoff writes:

All part of the improvements we`ve come to expect from EzineArticles. Well done.

Comment provided July 23, 2009 at 3:20 AM

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17
Matthew writes:

Hi,

Thanks for informing me of the broken links. A very useful service.

I’ve amended my broken links, which were either caused because a website was redesigned and the original pages weren’t kept, or because the site was taken down.

Can I submit articles in the meantime, even if I still have 2 problem articles (which I have amended)?

Comment provided July 23, 2009 at 4:10 AM

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18
Craig Mattice writes:

This is a fantastic service for the authors and readers of EzineArticles. I sincerely appreciate having this service, pointing out broken links, and experiencing the opportunity to repair or delete the offending link.

I’m not sure re-approval of the entire article is really a necessary step as only the link in it is in question and once verification of repair or deletion is made, should be automatically reinstated.

Thank you for developing this service for us as you are providing excellent customer service.

Craig Mattice
Richmond, VA USA

Comment provided July 23, 2009 at 10:12 AM

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19
Holly writes:

It really helps to make sure all links to my site are function properly ..thank you!

Comment provided July 23, 2009 at 11:53 AM

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20

Matthew,

Yes, you can still submit articles if you have articles in problem status. I would however, strongly recommend either editing and making the corrections on those articles, or deleting them if they cannot be fixed.

Comment provided July 28, 2009 at 12:37 PM

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21
Matthew writes:

Thanks Penny,

I’ve amended the articles, but the content has been picked up by other sites, and the problem articles are currently published without attributing me as the author.

I’ve contacted the sites concerned and asked them to remedy the situation, and am waiting for this to happen.

Thanks again.

Matthew

Comment provided July 29, 2009 at 5:02 AM

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22
Andy Barber writes:

Well, I’m not impressed with EzineArticle’s invalid link detection system. Recently I received notification that 60 of my articles had invalid links. When editing them, I discovered that some additional HTML code had been added to my link *after* submission. Example: The first link is what I put in my resource box and when I originally submitted the article:

Cookbook Publishers

This is what shows up in the box when I opened it up for editing after being notified that the links were bad:

Cookbook Publishers

The ‘target=”_new”‘ has been mysteriously added. I didn’t put it in there.

To compound the problem, I edited all the articles and re-submitted them, only to have them kicked back to me again…all with the same ‘target=”_new” ‘ added back in.

Wait…it gets even worse. As an experiment, I did a Google search on the title of one of the articles with supposedly invalid links. I found the article, clicked on the links and they went directly to the correct page! I tried it on a second article and got the same results. They are apparently NOT invalid, yet they EzineArticles says they are.

I’m in the process of re-editing all 60 articles, but if they get tossed back to me again I’m thinking of abandoning EzineArticles until I can get this straightened out. I’ve written several notes to EzineArticles about the problem, but to date haven’t received a reply. I imagine they are simply very busy.

If someone has the answer to my predicament, I’d appreciate some help. I don’t have the time to spend several hours a day editing articles.

Comment provided November 21, 2009 at 8:32 AM

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The addition of Target=”_new” has been a defacto add-on by our system since 2004. It’s not a new process.

Not sure why you care about the target=”_new”?

As for the Invalid links being valid… We have a very specific process within your Article Diagnostic Center where you can tell us that the link is Valid and a human on our team will investigate…if found to be true, will release the link from being questioned by our dead-link spider.

Keep in mind that we’re still tuning our dead link spider and even though it’s pretty advanced, we continue to tweak and improve it daily.

You do NOT have to edit articles that we say have bad links if in fact the links are not dead. Just confirm the links are valid within your Article Diagnostic Center and give the process a day or two.

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Andy Barber writes:

Oops. I should have dug a bit deeper I guess. I finally figured it out and resolved the problem. Sorry ’bout that. I apologize.

What distressed me was that I was told my links were bad, and when I looked at them I found the additional HTML. I just assumed that was the reason they were marked as invalid. I went in and edited all 60 articles (long process) and “poof!” it came back right away. Now I know.

“I get more stupid every day. I learn one thing, and find out there are two more things I don’t know.”

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