BBC Link Policy: We Want To Send A Lot Of Traffic To Other Sites

from the how-refreshing dept

We're so used to websites whose "link policies" are about what they want you to do to link to them, combined with the tendency for traditional media players to hate the external link, as if it were some sign of failure, that when someone anonymously submitted a link to the BBC News' "link policies," you'll have to forgive me for expecting the worst. Instead, the link policies were a bit of a revelation. They're all about how to link more to other sources. It all starts with a goal of sending more traffic elsewhere:
The BBC Strategy Review [1.40MB PDF] recently unveiled by director general Mark Thompson set as one of its goals a major increase in outbound links from the BBC website - a doubling of the number of "click-throughs" to external sites from 10 million to 20 million a month by 2013.
It then goes into a list of specific policies, which pretty much all focus on adding lots of external links to stories. Of course, given how UK newspapers are suddenly working hard to block links from others, you have to wonder if those same papers are going to start blocking the BBC as well...


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

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    Dean Landolt (profile), Mar 22nd, 2010 @ 2:42pm

    It never ceases to amaze me how forward-thinking the BBC has been of late -- from a public institution no less. Shame we don't see much of that on this side of the pond...

     

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    Johnny Canada, Mar 22nd, 2010 @ 3:25pm

    Good on the BBC,

    If you want on-line news just go the the BBC site. It will have all the links you need.

    Talk about how to make your site the one to go to first.

    Sort of like iGoogle

     

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    foobar, Mar 22nd, 2010 @ 3:26pm

    I find it rather amusing that you chide others for hating external links when most of the links in this story are right back to you.

     

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      Marcus Carab (profile), Mar 22nd, 2010 @ 3:44pm

      Re:

      Three of the five links are back to TechDirt, and all the linked posts contain at least one external link themselves.

       

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        Dark Helmet (profile), Mar 22nd, 2010 @ 4:07pm

        Re: Re:

        "Three of the five links are back to TechDirt, and all the linked posts contain at least one external link themselves."

        Well, yes, that's because of an unwritten law that dictates that only 60%, or three of every five links can be internal before you're considered in politeness breach.

        It's called the three-fifths compromise....

        What? Whaddya mean that's already been taken??!!!

         

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          Marcus Carab (profile), Mar 23rd, 2010 @ 6:25am

          Re: Re: Re:

          Dear me, I hope you don't think I was agreeing with foobar :S

           

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            Dark Helmet (profile), Mar 23rd, 2010 @ 6:40am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            "Dear me, I hope you don't think I was agreeing with foobar :S"

            If I remember correctly, you're Canadian, right? Which is why my reference to the 3/5 compromise might have been lost on you....

            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Three-fifths_compromise

            One of our over-glorified American founding fathers came up with the wonderful idea of counting slaves and indentured servants as only 3/5 of a person for the purposes of dispensing tax obligations.

            I love my country. I do. But sometimes I read parts of our history and wonder if anyone else here actually knows how dirty our history is....

             

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              Marcus Carab (profile), Mar 23rd, 2010 @ 10:52am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              Oh my...

              Yes, Canadian and yes, that one whooshed by me. I am fairly familiar with American historical dirt (and also with being historically dirty, what with being of mostly British descent) but that particular appalling detail had escaped my notice.

               

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      Mike Masnick (profile), Mar 22nd, 2010 @ 3:48pm

      Re:

      I find it rather amusing that you chide others for hating external links when most of the links in this story are right back to you.

      Nearly every single post we do links to outside sources.

      Not sure what your complaint is.

      Yes, we also link back to older stories for context, but to accuse us of not living up to linking to others is silly.

       

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        foobar, Mar 22nd, 2010 @ 4:13pm

        Re: Re: Onanistic links

        Not a complaint, it's just amusing.

        You're certainly not as bad as those that have just discovered linking, and then pepper every article with links to their own tag pages. There's a point where it ceases to be context and merely becomes click baiting. Where that point would be is, of course, subjective.

         

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          Anonymous Coward, Mar 22nd, 2010 @ 4:50pm

          Re: Re: Re: Onanistic links

          I know exactly what you mean. Massively.com is an example of a site that does this a lot. It's extremely annoying and over time it seems to encourage the editors to sink to the lowest common denominator of just linking to their own tag clouds and not paying attention to whether their links are relevant and add value.

          I don't read massively anymore. They've annoyed me too much.

           

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            Anonymous Coward, Mar 22nd, 2010 @ 7:34pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Onanistic links

            I like techdirt and I like how often it refers to older posts for the purpose of creating context. I don't want them to change that.

             

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              Anonymous Coward, Mar 22nd, 2010 @ 10:17pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Onanistic links

              I don't either. Mike is very responsible in ensuring that his links are contextually relevant and valuable, and balances internal and external ones too.

              Other sites (like massively) don't do nearly so well. They automagically generate 3-6 links to their tag cloud and call it good.

               

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      Anonymous Coward, Mar 22nd, 2010 @ 3:59pm

      Re:

      Out of 5 links, 2 are outbound, 3 are internal. THE HORROR!

       

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    Peet McKimmie (profile), Mar 22nd, 2010 @ 3:32pm

    I'm a regular BBC user...

    The problem is that the BBC are looking for excuses to shut down websites, particularly their messageboards. When, say, three or four years ago, a news story might point to a BBC messageboard for further discussion, now it'll point to Facebook or Twitter. Their long term goal is to shut down their messageboards and replace them with "Blogs" where only BBC employees can start a thread, so only things they officially sanction can be discussed.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Mar 22nd, 2010 @ 7:38pm

      Re: I'm a regular BBC user...

      There is probably some truth to this and it is certainly the case that mainstream media wants to turn the Internet into the same nonsense they have turned everything outside the Internet, thanks to broken laws, where only sanctioned discussions are permitted.

       

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    ECA (profile), Mar 22nd, 2010 @ 4:18pm

    BBC.UK

    Real nice of them..
    But have you USA person tried to watch any BBC shows?
    They have most at BBC.UK, but we cant run them, LEGALLY.
    The BBC.US site sucks.
    Its the total reverse of SYFY(sifi) network..where you can watch most shows online in the USA, but the UK site sucks.

    Is there any reason to do region restrictions?? SO WHAT I go to a site in another country, to see what they watch..But it wont let you watch/play anything because YOU ARNT from that country.

     

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    Ambrose, Mar 22nd, 2010 @ 4:34pm

    They key fact which you don't seem to have noticed is that the BBC has a charter obligation not to compete too much with the private sector, due to its unusual funding model.

    The BBC website has ALWAYS has an obligation to act as a portal/directory to the best of the web, and has been falling down on its obligation by providing too much of its own good and original content.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 22nd, 2010 @ 6:47pm

    the enlightened approach of a state agency sucking on the public teat. it is an easy decision when there is no bottom line to look at.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 22nd, 2010 @ 7:30pm

    I like BBC, they're actually a half decent mainstream media outlet, much better than most MSM outlets.

     

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    mike allen (profile), Mar 23rd, 2010 @ 2:30am

    dispite

    the fact i work in commercial radio i dont like the idea of the BBC shutting services internet or stations. to me commercial radio has become bland and corporate in the UK. and reading other sites worse in the USA.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 23rd, 2010 @ 5:23am

    BBC is a publicly financed news organization. Though the Brits need to pay for the BBC for each TV they buy, it does get em top quality news. Of course, in the United States ,the BBC would be called liberal communists (which doesnt make sense as communists are mostly ultranationalists). Thats why PBS is reviled by the Republicrats , because its a publicly funded network.

     

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    yuregininsesi, Jun 24th, 2010 @ 4:13pm

    They key fact which you don't seem to have noticed is that the BBC has a charter obligation not to compete too much with the private sector, due to its unusual funding model.

    The BBC website has ALWAYS has an obligation to act as a portal/directory to the best of the web, and has been falling down on its obligation by providing too much of its own good and original content.

     

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