10 Apr 2005
Linking With Confidence
There are surprisingly few sites that everyone’s happy to link to for authoritative information. If you mention a movie you point at IMDb, and for general information it’s now usually Wikipedia, but beyond that I’m struggling for clear examples. Maybe Wiktionary or Dictionary.com for words, and Snopes for hoaxes/urban legends?
It seems that such link-worthy sites need to…
- …be focussed on the information rather than just commercial aspects.
- …use URLs that never change.
- …offer sufficient breadth of coverage.
- …have sufficient detail.
- …be kept up-to-date.
- …seem trustworthy.
Although it can be tricky to balance commercialism against the needs of the ‘community’, it’s puzzling that relatively few companies try to address those issues and reap the benefits. For example, by fully embracing the web the iTunes Music Store (which currently only offers minimal information and a way to direct the iTunes application to a part of the store) could possibly create an authoritative source of music information, which could gradually raise its profile even further and surely increase sales (particularly via the affiliate programme).
Feeds and web service APIs rightfully get a lot of coverage on tech blogs as a way for sites to make themselves indispensable, but becoming an integral part of the web by encouraging simple linking can be an accessible, powerful approach.