Submitting to the link economy

I’ve never understood why this idea has taken so long to cut through. It’s the web, right? Everything is only a click away, and keeping users on site is critical. So why wouldn’t online publishers link to the best of the web as a service to their users?

Because they assume that sending users away to read content on other sites is a bad thing.

But as Scott Karp at Publishing 2.0 puts it, “linking drives content distribution and allocates attention and advertising wealth”. The New York Times is even making the leap:

“Embracing the hyperlink ethos of the Web to a degree not seen before, news organizations are becoming more comfortable linking to competitors — acting in effect like aggregators.”

This has been an on-again off-again argument at most Australian online news sites. But the logic in favour of it is compelling so we need to get over the fear of losing readers and instead focus on delivering the best user experience.

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