Why news publishers shouldn’t be spamming communities like reddit

Jun 14, 2012   //   by admin   //   Media blog  //  No Comments

by David Silverberg

Every news outlet wants pageviews to grow every month. But that hunt can end up bruising publishers deeper than they expect, thanks to being ignorant to online linking etiquette.

Yesterday, online community reddit – which attracts two billion pageviews monthly – announced several prominent websites are now banned from linking to their content. A new sub-reddit (a page on the site) lists the banned domains, which include Businessweek.com, GlobalPost.com, Sciencedaily.com and phys.org.

reddit admins explain the “banhammer” by writing, “Some domains are not allowed on any part of reddit because they are spammy, malicious, or involved in cheating shenanigans.”

reddit general manager Erik Martin confirms the ban is temporary but it’s unclear for how long.

Previously, reddit banned URLs coming from The Village Voice due to writers consistently submitting their links to the site, in a manner reddit considered “cheating.”

The Daily Dot explains how self-promotion is serious business on Reddit, “but it’s also a tricky game. The site doesn’t explicitly forbid posting your own content, but it does warn that doing so puts you on ‘thin ice.’”

Publishers should know better. They should recognize how savvy users on reddit or other communities can be, especially when they sniff a cheater in their midst. Continuosly linking to your own site is not why communities such as reddit were created; readers crave honest truthful content, not something that just wants to boost pageviews and SEO value.

When the ban is lifted on these over-linking news outlets, they should learn from their slaps on the wrist. Brand trust will only be hurt by violating linking etiquette on social communities, so if they want to polish their credibility they need to play by the rules. It can be frustrating to editors who only care about exposing their content to more eyeballs, but the resulting negative publicity from these abuses will only reveal how little they know a crucial lesson about online conduct: yes, promote yourself when appropriate but pick and choose your moments carefully.

No one likes a kid who just brags about their own toys.

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