Tag Archives: links

Are UK newspapers and journalists selling links?

That’s the question posed by David Naylor, who says he was told by a “UK Search Marketer” that

“they’d been offered (and had paid for) links from the website of a major UK newspaper. At £15,000 it was an expensive buy, but with the national newspaper sites being such huge authority hubs they felt it was worth the money.”

Naylor’s post doesn’t identify the newspaper or the source, but he does identify some links on a different newspaper’s site – The Telegraph – that:

“go via affiliate networks such as Tradedoubler & Affiliate Window, which will pay a commission on sales. I’m no expert but I think that’s sailing pretty close to the wind in terms of journalistic integrity, and I believe the NUJ’s code of conduct would agree with me.” 

The comments are as interesting as the post itself. Kyle, for instance, points out:

“Given that one of the links actually has ‘telegraph’ as the affiliate id through Buy.at (http://mands.at/telegraph) I would say that this isnt a rogue staffer, and in fact an active business push . And fair play to them too – we all know how much newspapers have suffered recently and that the key to their survival lies in their ability to generate revenue from their online assets. Finally wiseing up to the affiliate business model will be very good for them.”

While Daniel Mcskelly points out: “Anthony also found the same aff code in use on another site that clearly isn’t a telegraph property so I do wonder.”

I’m waiting for a response from the Telegraph. Comments invited.

UPDATE: The Telegraph have responded quite quickly. A spokesperson tells me:

“The articles you have highlighted do contain some affiliate links. This is an accepted means by which online publishers monetise their content.

“The key point is that Telegraph Media Group’s editorial teams have no involvement in the commercial side of the operation. The links that you refer to are added post-publication by our commercial department.  The use of an intermediary to track links has no impact on which websites our journalists select and this does not affect our editorial standards in any way. Our journalists are free to write whatever they like about any products, as you would expect. In this respect it is no different from the traditional journalist / advertiser relationship.”

External links: the 8 stages of linking out denial

Do you have a link problem? You can handle linking. It’s just one post/article/page without a link. You can link whenever you want to. Or can you?

Where are you on this scale …? (Originally posted here.)

1 Don’t link to anyone

Link to other sites? But people will leave my site. They won’t click on my ads. They won’t read other pages. I’ll leak page rank. No way.

2 Add URLs but don’t make them hyperlinks

OK, that’s a bit ridiculous. If I’m talking about other organisations, I can’t pretend they don’t have a website. I know, I’ll put web addresses in. But i won’t make them hyperlinks. Brilliant, yes?

3 Add an ‘external links’ box

Even I’m finding that no hyperlink thing annoying when I go back to an old page and have to copy and paste the damn things.

I suppose I should have some links on my page. I’ll put them in a box. Over there (down a bit …). I’m going to use some sort of internal redirect or annoying javascript, though, to make sure I don’t pass any page rank. Mwah, hah hah.

4 Put some links in the copy

I don’t seem to be getting many inbound links. I guess I’m not playing fair. I know, I’ll sort out my workflow so that it’s possible to add links easily inside the actual copy. But I’m still not passing any pagerank. I’m going to put “rel=nofollow” on every link.

5 Give my users some google juice

Commenters seem thin on the ground. Maybe I’ll let them link to their own sites. I’ll use some annoying javascript to hide the links from google though. Most of my commenters are probably spammers, and I can’t trust them to police their own community, after all.

6 Link when I have to. And remove nofollow and any other annoying tricks

That seemed to make everyone happier. There are a few proper links on my pages. And people seem to want to link to me now that I’m playing fair with my links.

7 Acknowledge my sources

Oops. Spoke to soon. Been outed as pinching someone else’s idea and not attributing it. From now on, I’m going to make sure I always link to everyone I should.

8 Enlightenment: Make linking part & parcel of what I do

Internet. Inter as in inter-connected. Net as in network.

I get it now. I’m going to become a trusted source for information and advice, AND of what else people should read elsewhere on the internet. Blimey, more and more people are visiting my site and linking to it. Continue reading

Linking – within the story or after?

Here’s a real poser: when writing for the web do you think you should include links within an article, or leave it till afterwards? I used to teach students to link within an article if they mentioned a specific report or piece; but to leave more general links (e.g. organisations, topics, explanations, etc.) at the end.

Do links in an article interrupt the flow – or add scannability?
Also, if you work online, what is your own organisation’s policy about links?