July 7th, 2012
Matthew Ingram wrote a good piece entitled Why links matter: Linking is the lifeblood of the web for Gigaom. First, about giving credit:
In the days when newspapers ruled the world of information, giving credit to other outlets was (and often still is) discouraged. Rewriting or “matching” a story that someone else broke — or taking wire-service reports and rewriting them a little — was standard practice, and code words such as “one report” were often used so a newspaper wouldn’t have to mention a competitor’s news story.
And, about burying links to the original source or credit:
One reason people often give for the failure to link (or the “hiding” of links at the bottom of an article, for which some have criticized outlets like The Verge) is that the financial model for digital media — that is, advertising — relies on page views, and one of the ways to juice those numbers is to pretend you broke a story.
This is yet more confirmation on my decision to finally bite the bullet and use Daring Fireball style links here on my blog. This blog only makes a few dollars on a few sparse articles that, for some reason or another, have hundreds of thousands of pageviews due to Google search results. I do not care about or even track those pageviews very often so making the link to other websites as prominent and easy to find as possible does not conflict with my blog’s “business model”.
The Verge’s model of putting the source and via links at the very bottom of the post could probably be improved on. I remember when their site first launched I had a heck of a time finding the links at all. I think they should work the links into the main content of the post. They can afford to do the right thing.
/via Shawn Blanc who has a great point about pageviews:
Metrics like pageviews and subscriber counts are a cheap and dying metric.
The web is getting too big for these numbers to matter as much as they used to.