Performancing Metrics

Mainstream Media Now Practicing Cross-Linking

The practice of linking to other websites is traditionally the domain of blogs. In efforts to provide adequate citations, bloggers oft link to, and even quote, external sources, and this may include competing sites or blogs. However, it seems that mainstream media (MSM) outfits are now adopting this.

From the NY Times:

The Washington Post, The New York Sun and The Daily Oklahoman, in Oklahoma City, have contracted with an online news aggregator,, to scan hundreds of news and blog sites and deliver content related to articles appearing on their Web sites, regardless of who published those articles. Links to those articles will appear in a box beside the site’s original article or within the text of the story.

Newspaper Web sites, which commonly post articles from sister publications, wire services and even blogs, have typically stopped short of providing generous doses of news from competitors. The move made by these papers is not a result of cooperation across the industry as it is a counterattack by publishers against Google and Yahoo, which have stolen readers and advertisers from newspapers in recent years, both with their search engines and their own news aggregation services.

Great. MSM is learning from bloggers (or at least apparently so). But they probably haven’t learned enough, as there are existing free online tools that help aggregate related stories and track inbound linkages, such as Technorati.

However, one design/usability issue that hit me is their practice of launching new windows to open external links.

These links did not whisk readers away to another site. They instead opened a new window in the browser with the new story so readers could keep their original NewsOK page up.

From an end-user and (wannabe) designer’s perspective, this is a no-no.

Categories: Blogging News

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  1. Mike Sigers says: 8/1/2006

    Why is that a no-no ?

    I personally don’t want to leave a story just because I click a link. I always right click and open a new window, so I can read the extra content when I finish my current page.

    I hate it when a link doesn’t open a new window.


  2. Deep Keel says: 8/2/2006

    I agree with Mike completely.
    I use Firefox to browse and I open a new tab if I am forced to in order to avoid being sidetracked. I have my tab options set up so that links that open new windows open in a new tab.I consider sites that open links in new windows/tabs as doing me a service because I can keep on reading at their site and view the related source link at my leisure, with no additional effort on my part.I set up links to open new windows on my sites, and when I started doing it personal friends of mine mentioned without asking that they preferred it as well.


  3. J. Angelo Racoma says: 8/3/2006

    For one, it’s not XHTML compliant, at least with strict. And advanced users would rather open in new tabs or windows, anyway.

    Personally I just middle-click or Ctrl-click (on PC) or Command-Click (on Mac) to open links in a new tab. It’s against usability principles to force a user to open a new window when clicking links, IMHO.