Link Bingo and the NNI Member hypocrisy

While it might be bemusing to some, this awkward fumbling while trying to get to grips with the internet is actually expensive and problematic. Remember when the BBC sued the internet because it had invented the hyperlink back in 2000?

Are you a print journalist or own a newspaper? Enjoy our handy guide to Google and how the internet works

Lets take a look at the ridiculous statements being made. The Irish Times are now claiming that they don’t want to be aggregated. That they love links and won’t charge people for linking to them. This is similar to the noise coming from the continent.

Myth 1: Google runs ads based on your content

There are no ads. Yes, there are ads in Google Web Search (or ‘Search’) but this is where Google thinks that a particular news result might be what the user is looking for. Here’s a hint: Google doesn’t get paid for these ads. Google gets paid when someone clicks on the ad. If somebody clicks on your news article – you get a visitor and your ad impressions go up and you make money. If Google didn’t send you visitors (4 billion in France a month!) – then you wont have those readers. And if you look at any of the social sharing count icons on websites you’ll notice that sites like twitter and Facebook rarely refer more than a few hundred. You need Gooogle.

I just did a search for “Microsoft” and this is my Google results screen:

Google Microsoft
Google search for Microsoft on

This is interesting. Microsoft have an AdWord for Microsoft directing me to their store. This makes sense. Google isn’t sure though if I’m looking to visit Microsoft or if I want to know about Microsoft, so it’s opted to show me their Google Local + Wikipedia + Zagat information. And a telephone number. So I don’t have to click on anything. Also, it turns out Microsoft is in the news. Clever of and Bloomberg to have “created” Microsoft to create news about them. If I click on Bloomberg – I get taken to, where, interestingly they sell advertising while writing a story that includes Microsoft. Epic.

And Google does this for FREE!

If I click on the ad though – no visit to the post but Microsoft will pay Google. Clever Google.

Myth 2: Links are copyright infringement

This is such nonsense – I cannot deal with this

Myth 3: Its a good idea to charge for links

This is going to be hugely problematic. No links = No traffic. This has dangerous soundings for the whole web. But mostly for newspapers. Because, even if the claim is based on “Commercial Links”, then they’re creating a problem.

It turns out that the Irish Times has 8,000 outbound links to OTHER sites. Based on the NNI Tarriff structure, this could incur a maximum bill of over €2,5 million. Now – if you’re a website owner or a blogger- you must be wondering how many links you have and if any are from an NNI member.

Link Bingo - it could be you!
Link Bingo – it could be you!

Myth 4: The Idea of Commercial links

Of course the Irish Times and the rest want links. It’s the commercial ones that should pay. This sort of perverted GNU/Open Source licensing idea is bad. Its nonsense. If you use code or photographs, the owner may allow them for private or non-commercial use.  When somebody follows a link, they leave the page and open a new page where your content is published on your site. It’s like saying a shop makes money from stacking your news on their shelf.

Myth 5: They cannot exclude themselves

This is the biggest Myth. Because far from wanting to exclude themselves, they actively chase Google Rankings. Most journalists understand link bait and enjoy writing rants about Social Media or SEO (e.g. “SEO is Dead”).  What they haven’t figured out, is how to make money from it online. Because people don’t have to buy their opinion, don’t value it and because we read now read blogs and news directly from source. Sorry.

Well, actually you can. And it’s really simple. Almost all, without exception, of the NNI members who have an online presence, understand a bit about search. They all have Page Titles and seem to be familiar with Meta Data

How to exclude yourself from Google:

Method 1: Build a robots.txt file and put in the following text:

User-agent: *
Disallow: /

Method 2: Place the following HTML into WordPress or your Content Management system so that it shows on all of your pages or the ones you want excluded

nofollow" />

Curiously, instead of the above, the Irish Times have this statement on their NNI response article, instructing Search engines to Index ALL of their news content

<meta name="robots" content="all">

They want to be indexed

Of course they want to be Indexed. They’re actually quite good at SEO. Turns out that the Irish Times has multiple sitemaps (which they aggregated in a standard /sitemap.xml file). XML Sitemaps are pretty much exclusively for Search Engines. This isn’t an RSS feed for subscription. This is for Search. Well done lads – you’ve certainly done your homework.

IT Sitemap

Google is big when it comes to send visitors to online Publishers. Thanks to @anniecushing for this




Essential background reading (no, we’re not paying for these links either):


More Posts

SEO and PPC jobs and trends in NYC

I shared a view of Google Trends this week on Twitter and Reddit, where I looked at the search trends/interest levels for “Search Engine Optimization”