Links are the New Currency

chain-1There’s a new idea in publishing: link, don’t pay. If a company wants your online content, they just┬álink to it. That way, it’s argued, even though you don’t get a check for supplying editorial, you get a bump in traffic.

And isn’t that what we all want? More traffic?

Well yes. More traffic makes us feel superior when we see rising numbers of unique visitors. It leads to more income from ads, and potentially, more links. But more traffic alone doesn’t pay the mortgage.

One of my students mentioned talking to the Meredith Corporation about providing content to a new site. They want to download the entire content of her blog, and all they’ll give her is a link. She was struggling with whether to agree. Is it worth it? Why would anyone go to her blog if it’s all on Meredith’s site?

The New York Times launched a Bay Area website, and listed several excellent food blogs in its Eating & Drinking blogroll. Everybody wins, it seems, except for the freelancer who could have created original content. The paper lowered its budget, the bloggers are honored and thrilled [Read more…]