I’m a big fan of Brad DeLong’s blog even when I don’t agree with him. But one of the things that’s bothered me is when he reprints posts in full. For bloggers, professional or amateur, links are currency. Reprinting the post in full means people won’t be inclined to click through to your site. When asked about this, DeLong had an interesting answer:
The answer is simple: Linkrot.
Go, say, to a webpage of mine from the first half of the 2000s at random… Let’s pick one: http://www.j-bradford-delong.net/movable_type/2003_archives/001202.html.
See how many of the links I include lead to “404 not found.”
Would you bet that the Washington Post will keep Ezra’s posts up and freely available in a decade? Or even five years?
If I want things I write to be readable in a decade, I need to quote extensively now.
So I went through some of my 2006 posts. Of the links that didn’t link to my blog, about twenty percent were dead. So DeLong has a point. On the other hand, I’ve always argued that the best way to gain more readers is to convince widely-read bloggers to give you good links, so I’m not sure what to make of DeLong’s policy.
I’m not in it for the money (in a really good month I cover my cell phone and internet connection, and maybe have a pizza thrown in). But for other bloggers, it really does matter. Hell, even if you’re an amateur, you still want traffic at your site.