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Link to Many

By - August 19, 2008

Tim brings up a very good point here. In short, he’s worried about the second click issue, write large (yep, I just linked to myself).

I’d like to put out two guidelines for anyone adopting this “link to myself” strategy:

1. Ensure that no more than 50% of the links on any page are to yourself. (Even this number may be too high.)

2. Ensure that the pages you create at those destinations are truly more valuable to your readers than any other external link you might provide.

The web is a great example of a system that works because most sites create more value than they capture. Maybe the tragedy of the commons in its future can be averted. Maybe not. It’s up to each of us.


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7 thoughts on “Link to Many

  1. is doing that can result in a definite ban?

  2. Michael Martinez wrote an excellent counterpoint to this article. http://tinyurl.com/5vp3sq Definitely worth reading and considering too.

  3. Simon says:

    Agreed – do the pennies accrued for an extra click really compensate for a sub-prime user experience?

  4. Simon says:

    Apologies – I should clarify that I am not advocating following a 50% rule, but instead linking to what one thinks is truly the most relevant source of information – whether it is internal or external. While subjective, I believe that honesty will be appreciated by the user

  5. nmw says:

    I am not sure what I think of this (yet) — my gut feeling is that it’s stuck in the sort of “intellectual property” paradigm that has been outdated (at the very latest) since John Perry Barlow’s “A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace” ( http://homes.eff.org/~barlow/Declaration-Final.html )

    The web is vast — but language is larger (sounds like a good title for an upcoming article — I’ll put it on my “to do” list for gaggle.info ;). You cannot force people to type in “google.com” (or “gaggle.info” ;) — neither can you prevent them from doing so. Having some kind of “policeman” decide whether a link is “permissible” or not seems to deny basic freedoms that are part and parcel of a free press. Pretty soon people will be saying that the good thing about the Internet is that no one knows that you’re a rhinoceros! ;P

    People are (IMHO) obviously placing too much value on links. The uncertain value of such references has been documented for decades already (in the circles of information science). If other people are not aware of these observations, then that is due to their own lack of an appropriately interdisciplinary approach — because the data was there long before the Internet. Is it possible that someone might get too focused on their own point of view, such that other points of view are overlooked? Certainly! And that is, IMHO, what has happened with this “irrational exuberance” WRT the value of links (and/or clicks).

  6. The problem stems from human greed and I haven’t seen mankind been able to successfully combat this internal desire through the ages. So it would be the same in times to come, may even get worse.

  7. Fiyat says:

    Apologies – I should clarify that I am not advocating following a 50% rule, but instead linking to what one thinks is truly the most relevant source of information – whether it is internal or external. While subjective, I believe that honesty will be appreciated by the user..