At work here is what is called, variously, “social syndication” or “traffic exchange,” a technique increasingly in vogue among publishers looking to get their articles and brands in front of other readers. Publishers are measured by how many unique readers they can pull in, so working with a site that has a similar but not completely overlapping audience can help them extend the reach of their content. This is key now that Facebook is making it harder for publishers to reach readers organically. Publishers also say the deals help them fill in the gaps in their own social programming with stories that they didn’t or couldn’t write themselves, which is good for readers.
So, basically, publishers are returning to that old link economy model that made the blogosphere what it was but with a new name and, it seems, without trackbacks. I’d call this progress and a happy side effect for the open Web. It looks like the industry has also found religion with some old-fashioned sensibilities about audiences:
“That fiefdom-like thinking that ‘we own this audience and it’s ours only’ is very old media. It’s like people saying, ‘I only subscribe to The Wall Street Journal or The New York Times,’” said Daily Dot CEO Nick White. “It’s just not the right model anymore.”
Long live the Link Economy?
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