The link economy

by Jason Preston on August 7, 2009

Do you believe in the link economy? Chris Aheard, President of Media at Reuters says he does:

I believe in the link economy. Please feel free to link to our stories — it adds value to all producers of content. I believe you should play fair and encourage your readers to read-around to what others are producing if you use it and find it interesting.

I don’t believe you could or should charge others for simply linking to your content. Appropriate excerpting and referencing are not only acceptable, but encouraged. If someone wants to create a business on the back of others’ original content, the parties should have a business relationship that benefits both.

And he’s right.

That last sentence is very important, though: If someone wants to create a business on the back of others’ original content, the parties should have a business relationship that benefits both.

There’s a big difference between commercial and noncommercial use. This has been a clear line in the software industry for ages.

Of course there are some new rules to take into account, too. Did you know that TechCrunch content shows up under the WashingtonPost masthead on wahsingtonpost.com?

Who knows if either one is paying the other. But if I were TechCrunch, I’d consider that placement worth a LOT of money, because I’m benefiting every day from people who have no idea what TechCrunch is, but find me, and trust me, because I’m protected by the umbrella of the Washington Post brand.

You think Google would have happened like it did if they hadn’t been used as Yahoo! search early on?