I was listening to an audio post by Robert Scoble on Cinch about how increasingly sites are either not using external links at all or are hiding them. This is done in an effort to keep the reader within the website, and increase page hits. As he said this is how the internet was prior to the advent of blogging, when the internet was dominated by a few major websites or walled gardens as they are often called. The introduction of blogs which quickly realized that linking was one way to rise up Google‘s ranks broke these old walled gardens down. Unfortunately, new walled gardens are being recreated often by the same blogs who once torn the original ones down.
Without proper linking it is next to impossible to find and read the original article. As a reader I find this trend troubling, since it makes it difficult if not impossible to find where information originated from. I occasionally will find that the original article doesn’t say what is being attributed to it. It is misquoted or important information from it is left out. This often happens with controversial subjects, where the author is trying to make a specific point. If there are no links then I have to assume that the information given has not been altered to change the meaning. Even if you are being true to the meaning of the originating post, the author of that post deserves to be recognize for their effort. How would you feel if you spent the time and effort to research and write an article only to find the content being used else where without any acknowledgment to your work.
Almost as troubling as having no links, is having a link that goes to a site or article that is behind a pay wall or one where I have to register. I realize that sometimes it impossible to avoid this problem, but I do wish it was. This is of course one of the many problems that the use of a pay wall creates for both those who create content on the web and those who consume it.
I understand that sometimes it is easy to forget to link, especially when you are in a hurry to post something that is time sensitive. I have been guilty of this myself in the past and it is something that I have to watch. Before posting check to make sure you have linked where appropriate, also check to make sure the links go to where they are supposed to.