Salon Wants To Get Everyone Together

from the let's-all-be-happy-and-sing-songs dept

Salon’s chief David Talbot spoke on Tuesday of the need to have different online media properties build a community together. The idea being that instead of competing with each other they would exchange links and all be one happy family. Sounds something like collusion, but that’s another matter altogether. I actually think it’s a pretty good idea, but then again, this whole site is based on sharing links and pointing to other people’s stories. I do think that sites that refuse to link to the outside world are only kidding themselves. Come on, people know there are other web sites out there, and they’re going to find them. If they like what you’ve got they’ll come back. There’s no reason to try to isolate yourself.

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Comments on “Salon Wants To Get Everyone Together”

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mhh5 says:


I think there actually is value in having ‘isolated’ news sources that have unique perspectives or strong areas of expertise. I’m not saying ‘primary’ news sites shouldn’t link to each other, but why should they when Techdirt, MyYahooNews, etc. can do it (better?) and/or I can customize my own news? And if these ‘primary’ news sites extensively link to each other, then how can you tell them apart? I think they actually just need to syndicate their stories “better” to 3rd parties rather than trying to _eliminate_ or _compete_with_ the 3rd parties by becoming just like them. But that’s probably where ‘primary’ news sites are really losing the “click-thru’s” and ad money…. (Mike, they’re really just trying to get rid of Techdirt b/c you’re stealing their potential ad revenue! Even though you’re not *doing* anything with it….)

This just seems like a cry for help. What they really need to do is simplify their sites, concentrate on their specialties, and realize that news-aggregating sites can actually increase their traffic if they promote themselves well thru these 3rd parties. (eg. if they asked Mike to plug Salon or Wired or Inside *every* time he linked them.) My opinion is that some ‘primary’ news sites are starting to suffer from ‘feature creep’ and crowded pages. Cross-promotion only makes these problems worse. And how does it benefit them again?

Basically, I don’t want ‘primary’ news sites to become ‘aggegating’ news sites. The two have very different purposes, and if all news sites became ‘aggregating’ news sites, I think the quality of news overall would diminish. (That whole collusion thing…)

Wow. For an article that I didn’t really find that interesting, I certainly took long enough to disagree with it. Someone else please agree with me! Mike?

Mike (profile) says:


Heh heh… time for a flame war on Techdirt? Just kidding…

Okay, let me clarify. I am *not* talking about turning every site into an aggregator site. However, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with admitting that there are good sites outside of your own, that occasionally post other interesting stories that you didn’t get to. Both and Wired post links to stories outside of their site (only a few) but I find those links very useful as they find only the best stories to link to. I don’t think it diminishes from the reporting that and Wired do themselves.

I also link to some similar sites to Techdirt, such as Wonko, Geekpress, Zebulun, and NerdPerfect because I like what all of those sites do, and even if we repeat certain stories, I think we sometimes take different perspectives on them, and all of us miss some stories that our readers might find interesting.

What I disagree with are sites that seem to think that if someone goes to another website they’ll never come back. I go to and Wired partly because of their own stories and also because I like what they post when they show the links to other sites.

It’s the difference between being an “aggregator” and a “filter”. They’re acting as very good filters (as, I hope, is Techdirt) I think linking to other sites that support, or show a different side, of an issue that you are (or have been) covering adds a lot of value, and makes the reader a lot more informed. Especially in cases where it’s a different viewpoint, or an issue that you haven’t had time to cover fully yourself.

The web was made to link to more information, and I find it very useful. Their are plenty of news sites out there that won’t even link to another website that they’re talking about in the fear that “oh my!” the reader might leave and never come back. That’s treating the reader like a stupid little child. If you respect and trust your readers and give them the info they find useful and interesting… they’ll come back.

All that said, I do agree that this might just be a desperation play by Salon. However, I do think the concept is sound. The execution… well… we’ll have to see about that.

mhh5 says:


Ok, well, that’s not exactly what I meant either. I didn’t say it’s ‘wrong’ to link to other sites. I think it’s great when a news story puts an _unobtrusive_ section that links to other related stories. I’m not disagreeing with that.

But I can understand why a site would want to isolate themselves a bit. It makes them more distinct. I agree that they should not be afraid to have people surf away from their site, but I’m not sure linking *other news services* is the best way to show that courage.

It really comes down to implementation, as you said. I just interpreted that article to mean that Salon wanted to go link-crazy in an attempt to increase their traffic –I didn’t detect that their intentions were to increase their journalistic quality. Especially when they said they want to form “a kind of business cooperative.” That means to me that they’re scared of aggregator sites, and if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em.

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