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Is Linking to Yourself the Future of the Web?

Tim O’Reilly:

At the time, I noted the way that more and more information that was once delivered by independent web sites was now being delivered directly by search engines, and that rather than linking out to others, there were strong signs of a trend towards keeping the link flow to themselves.

This thought re-surfaced when TechCrunch launched CrunchBase. Now, rather than linking directly to companies covered in its stories, TechCrunch links to one of its own properties to provide additional information about them. I noticed the same behavior the other day on the New York Times, when I followed a link, and was taken to a search result for articles on the subject at the Times (with lots of ads, even if there were few results).

This is the natural tendency for any site using an ad model where page views are directly correlated to revenue. This is why news sites break up stories over multiple pages, too. It’s a crummy practice, and in the long run, sites that succumb to this temptation are doing so at the expense of their credibility. Readers learn, remember, and resent when links on a certain site tend to be a waste of their time.

Monday, 18 August 2008