Internet Aggregation Etiquette
In the Internet space, there are no competitors. Publishers have realized that to best serve their audiences online they must aggregate their own content, as well as the content of others, including their competitors. However, one rule of thumb remains, if youâ€™re going to aggregate someone elseâ€™s content, you must link back to the story youâ€™re citing.
Letâ€™s face it. None of us want to drive traffic off our sites. However, if readers come to know our Web sites as the place where they can get all of the news and information theyâ€™re looking for, theyâ€™ll visit us daily AND hit the backspace key after reading the articles we link to.
I bring this up because a couple of weeks ago Folio: ran a story in its newsletter that received a lot of pick-up from bloggers and news Web sites â€“ for this weâ€™re grateful. However, one site referenced our story, gave us credit, but didnâ€™t link to the story itself.
To me, this does both a disservice to the siteâ€™s readers, as well as to the news organization (in this case us) that wrote the story. Look at it this way, if they had linked to the story, the reader could have hit the link, read the story and then gone back to the news aggregatorâ€™s site. Instead, if they wanted to read the story, they had to physically leave the aggregatorâ€™s site and go on to Foliomag.com. If anything, the aggregator probably hurt themselves by neglecting to link to the story.
The other day I picked up a story from a competitor (Iâ€™m a former newspaper reporter so it pains me to do this) and I linked to the story. Itâ€™s common courtesy. We got scooped. It happens. But it would have been a disservice to our readers had we not shared the news with them. Publishers: Keep aggregating. Itâ€™s clearly the best way to keep your readership informed. But when you do it, give credit where credit is due.