The NYTimes.com’s strange linking practice

The other day, Scott Karp discussed the policies traditional media companies follow regarding inline links (links within the context of a story) to articles appearing on other websites. I’ll admit that I was confused by the post because I thought it strange that we are still in 2007 discussing the benefits to traditional media websites of out-bound links.

However, now that Scott has reminded me, I’m noticing how clueless such a stingy out-bound linking policy can appear — and how it is a disservice to readers and also has some negative SEO mojo also.

Here’s a classic example. In a NYTimes.com article today* about John Curley announcing his lay-off from the San Francisco Chronicle via his Flickr account, there is no link to Curley’s Flickr account or to the specific post where Curley made the announcement.

What’s with that? In this case, the story is about Curley’s use of Flickr. And still, there’s no link to the Flick post he used. I don’t understand a policy that prevents out-bound links to the actual object and focus of a story.