Internet Bookmarking is Flawed and Dated

The feature that has always existed since the first web browsers is the ability to save a page so you can return later. This is very important because we can continue our work knowing that we can retrieve those links later. The benefits of bookmarking are: saving online documents for further research, sharing, and even reading later. The more we use the web, the more bookmarks or “favorites” we have accumulated.

There is a fundamental flaw in the bookmarking feature of the browser: it saves only a link to a page. Therefore, websites will disappear or remove pages which means we have a collection of dead links stored in our browser. I can challenge you to visit all your bookmarks, and you will discover that a large number will return 404 errors or the website is completely gone.

I might be one of the few people that care about bookmarks. But, as a developer and designer, I like to save links to resources and news to use when I have time or need them. Furthermore, as an instructor, I share what I consider important links and resources with my students for further reading and learning. But in most cases, some of the links are dead between semesters.

Another issue is that a lot of those bookmarks are never visited by users after they are saved. In fact, even the posts you save on major social platforms are never visited again unless somebody shares them. Maybe it is time to let those links go and only use a search engine that will return relevant and available information when needed.

We know of several apps that are supposed to be a replacement for having bookmarks in the browser. But they have the same problem I mentioned earlier. The only website that I use and not on a daily basis is Pinterest because I can search online for inspiration and use the app with multiple mood boards. In addition, most services will also die in the end. We can see examples with Delicious which was killed after being so popular.

I think that if web browsers at least save a timestamp of the moment of creating the bookmark, an extension could be developed that if the link returns a 404 or any other error, it could be redirected to the Internet Archive (WayBackMachine) to find the page stored on the date of the timestamp. Thus, even when the link or the entire website is dead, people won’t have those dead links stored in the browser. But, a rethink of this feature must happen because it would be a good idea to also have a great interface where you can search and get daily suggestions of the links stored within the browser. Finally, an option to automatically delete those dead links should be included within the browser without having to install any plugin.

Teylor Feliz
Teylor Feliz

Teylor is a seasoned generalist that enjoys learning new things. He has over 20 years of experience wearing different hats that include software developer, UX designer, full-stack developer, web designer, data analyst, database administrator, and others. He is the founder of Haketi, a small firm that provide services in design, development, and consulting.

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