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March 02, 2005



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I think those three rules are perfect. I will take care of the advice for my new blog that is in construction. Thanx


Hi all,
In my observation, people here are using a lot of words to say what others have already said,
is that a blog deviation?
Although I like the original Linking Policy Post,
Thanks Jennifer,

Jim Durbin


It's only natural that we would want to build influence, whether for personal or business reasons. This blog itself is about building a brand, and in the blogosphere, your name and your writing and your comment sections and your links are your brand.

The very point of a link is to tell the world that you enjoy the site on the end of that link, and you personally recommend it. With too many links, you tell the world that you link to people you don't regularly read, either out of a desire to generate traffic or out a of sense of kindness for someone who links you.

And bloggers, well, there aren't many people who write online who don't enjoy a little attention.


It is entirely unsurprising that corporate types fail to understand the concept of linking in anything but the most commercial terms. BTW - this is why their blogs suck ass ... (i.e., conservative, consumerist, boring, uncreative, dreck).

I came across your blog while surfing corporate/marketing blogs. When I started reading blogs I began with the very best of them - Rebecca Blood, Joi Ito, Editor, myself, KOS, b0ing b0ing, Danah Boyd, Shirky, etc and got most of my sense of blogging ethics and integrity from reading their stuff. It was simply understood that links are something earned - not asked for. Asking somebody to link to you is like knocking on a strangers door and asking them to buy you a coffee. Or that's how it feels, at least. One thing I love about blogging is that it teaches people like this (they learn eventually) that inbound links and community are the product of merit.

"The more links you have, the less value of each link, as your ability to push traffic to new sites is diminished with each reciprocal link."

A comment like this really, really bothers me because it's the kind of attitude that accompanies the commodification of blogs. So far, all of the corporate blogs I've read have one thing in common: they're fucking boring. They lack the genuine heart and passion that you find in blogs that are not motivated by the desire for rank. Their naked sense of entitlement is there in everything they do - including their weird understanding of linking as a form of trade ...

Katherine Stone

What a great post, Jennifer! I feel exactly the same way, and it's exasperating when people get mad at you for not doing a reciprocal link. I will only add a blog to my blogroll if I actually read the blog myself, indicating that I think it is therefore worthwhile for Decent Marketers to read. Thanks for giving voice to what a lot of us were thinking.

Jim Durbin

You'd think that people reading a marketing blog would understand the principle of dilution.

The more links you have, the less value of each link, as your ability to push traffic to new sites is diminished with each reciprocal link.

Kudos to you for spelling it out.

On the other hand, if someone is looking to build traffic, massive amounts of reciprocal links is a very good way to build traffic.

Unfortunately, most new bloggers haven't had enough online seasoning to understand that links mean different things to different people. You will continue to get requests as new people join the blogging revolution and your post falls off the page.

Which gives rise to the point of my comment - the trend of the "Linking policy post."

Keep up the good work.

Alun John


Like many other bloggers I'm getting loads of these emails. Wherever possible I try to answer them back, even if it's to say sorry but I can't see the value in adding a link. However, I always make sure that I add my domain names into the signature - one for my Madrid site and the other for my Marketing site as you never know what may catch someone's attention!


Good stuff, Jennifer, and right on the mark. I thought your typo thing was a bit pedantic, but you clarified in your later comment and it made more sense.

Hope you can find the time to begin participating more fully again!

Wayne Hurlbert

Jennifer, this is some of the best and most helpful advice I've read in a long time about blogs and linking. Your concept of blog linking is sound, logical, and very reasonable. As usual, your ideas are well thought out and should be read by every new and already practicing blogger.

jennifer rice

Matt, you have a point... But IMO, "occasional" is the key word. Heck, I've caught a couple typos in my own blog! But I've visited sites where there are typos in almost every post. It's sloppy. If you're not a great speller, write your post in MS Word... it will catch your mistakes for you. This isn't rocket science. Typos in blogs is like going to a meeting without taking a shower or brushing your teeth. It shows disrespect to your readers. Feel free to spontaneously write without spell-checking, but don't expect a ton of inbound links.


The typo comment seems a bit silly to me--and I'm a copywriter! I see Seth Godin listed in your blogroll. He's got the best marketing blog out there, and he has typos from time to time. Will you be taking him off?

Blogs are meant to be emotional, opinionated and spontaneous. Passionate. The price of being the anti-corporate communications vehicle is less polish. And probably the occasional typo.

Dee Rambeau

Right as rain JR. As we discussed that night in Denver,
"have a voice."

Bruce DeBoer

J -

Any original content on your blog reflects in your brand: a very good point on your part. I launched a marketing - creativity - technology blog as part of our company site at Synthesis. Ours is self developed, not out of the box, so it's been even more of a learning exercise for us than it might have been otherwise (a work in progress).

My original thought was to share it in a similar way to most forums by allowing others to both post and comment. Jennifer, your passing comment was (if you remember), “are you sure that’s a good idea”? My response, “It’s an experiment, what is the worst that could happen”? OK – I bow to experience [arms overhead as I bend at the waist]. I took exactly one post from another for me to realize that it didn’t reflect the quality that our company maintains; Bring on the poorly written, crappy comments but posts reflect the owners point of view – no way to avoid it.

My point [ok, I have two points]. One is that you were right, and the second is that you are right.

Your welcome.


As a beginning blogger your post offers some interesting insights. You may want to consider being lenient on the typos though. Not everyone is a native english speaker. At least I am not...

Debbie Weil


Funny that you should write about this. Someone emailed me yesterday asking if I would "link" to their blog. Took a quick peek and realized I didn't want to. Yet I hate saying "no" to people who ask for a link. (So coward that I am I didn't say anything.) I feel exactly as you do. Links on my blog(s) define my brand. Thanks for writing out what a lot of us are thinking. BTW, we met in Seattle at the Blog Business Summit. Hope you're well!



and here i thought it was because i always type without caps or because my blog name was not pc. i am pretty sure that i am an accurate speller, so hopefully, i am only in the minor leagues of blogroll...not quite good enough to be called up to "the show", but still prettty good. i did get a message from johnny moore that he reads my blog and i have been mentioned in a post by the ceo of userland. so, i am getting my hacks in and with a few lucky breaks....i will be big time.

seriously, jennifer is right. to break through, a blogger has to be active and has to track back/comment frequently in order to get a second look. it took me a while to understand it, but trackback is the glue that holds the blogosphere together. it's like a crumb that an ant finds and takes back to the colony. if it's a good crumb, the ants will return to get more of that crumb flavor. along the way, they release pherenomes that other ants follow. in turn, these ants leave their own trails and the entire thing becomes intertwined....or something along those lines.

once you get that second look, you best be posting frequently and with something worth reading. what you had for dinner last night ain't interesting, but describing a dinner in a magnificent restaurant in exquisite detail is worth reading.

Lastly, and most importantly, you better love writing as your favorite form of communication. you don't have to be the best writer in the world, but you do have to have interesting content in that writing. blogging is about writing and if you don't like writing, it will become very apparent, very quickly.

so, like crash davis, i may never make it to the "show", but i keep performing in the minors because of my love for the game. being on a list someplace isn't why i do this and if that's the reason someone blogs, they won't be doing it very long.

let's play two, it's a beautiful day! blogger up!

Stephen Macklin

I have accepted invitations for reciprocal links on two occasions. And rejected several offers as well. I took the time to read through each site's main page and a few random posts in the archives. For the two I agreed to it came down to would I have linked them had I found them via another route? Those that got a yes got a link.

The time to put that kind of effort into it is hard to come by and as more link offers come in I will probably adopt a similar approach.

Especially since I need a few weeks to go through my site and make sure it is typo-free!

Darren Rowse

Great post Jennifer. As usual you got me thinking again in some creative ways and have inspired me to write a rather long post on 'why blogging is like raising a child'. Well at least I'm blaming you for it anyway!

Susan Getgood

Extremely well said. As a relatively new blogger, while I would love to be in the blogrolls of the blogs I like, I get a much bigger kick, and I expect, more readers, when one of those same blogs picks up on a trackback I've sent, from something I've written, and references it in a continuation of the conversation. YMMV but I truly believe that being in the content of a good blog is far more important than being on a list. So, as Jennifer says, it is incumbent on us to read, and build on the dialogues we find.

And full disclosure: I will probably include this Brand Mantra post on my blog sometime in the next couple of days :-)

jennifer rice

I should also add... if you have typos in your blog, you immediately disqualify it for links. Doesn't matter how original the content is.

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