Netiquette and the art of referrals


Maybe it’s just that I don’t understand the proper method of sourcing articles seen on other web sites. I’m seeing a phenomenon on web sites with greater frequency than I used to and I’m wondering if I don’t get the proper way to mention sources of information. It’s happening a lot, particularly on blogs but even some of the major web sites are guilty of it from time to time. It seems to me that if an author writes an original article on his or her web site then other web sites who like the article and mention it on their web sites should make sure they give proper credit to the original author or web site. That doesn’t seem like it would be hard to do but apparently it is.This is the scenario I’m talking about:Bob writes a nice article about a widgets. Maybe it’s witty or maybe it’s well written but that’s not important. David sees the article on the Bob’s web site and really likes it, so he writes a little blurb on his (Dave’s) web site saying “hey, Bob wrote a great article, be sure and check it out”. And Dave follows proper Netiquette and duly credits Bob with a link back to Bob’s web site so everyone can see what he likes about the article. So far, everything’s good and everyone’s happy. Then, along comes Frank who sees the article on Dave’s web site that mentions the original article by Bob, and Frank really likes it too. Now here’s where it gets cloudy. Since Frank wants to also put a blurb on his web site he mentions he saw an article mentioned on Dave’s web site (not the original article) which is really cool and he links to Dave’s web site. Nothing wrong with that as proper Netiquette calls for a link to the place you saw the article. But Frank NEVER links to the original article by Bob. The proper source for all the attention doesn’t get linked. In fact visitors to Frank’s web site who read the blurb and say “hey, I’d like to read Bob’s article” can’t get there from Frank’s web site because he only linked to Dave’s web site who links to Bob’s web site, the actual author of the article.You still with me? I’m seeing this happen all the time and it’s aggravating to say the least. So, writers for the Web please take note- if you see an interesting article NO MATTER WHO HELPED YOU DISCOVER IT and you mention it on your web site please make sure you at least include a link to the ORIGINAL ARTICLE.


Kipland Iles

Im beginning to see a rash of referral headers sent out from folks websites that do nothing more that add a referral to their site. There are no reciprocal links involved here. This seems to be done just to help drive up their search rankings since they appear to be referred to from many other sites. This is bogus and IMHO not proper Netiquette.

On some of my sites I even provide a public list of the Latest Referrers so that folks can see who is linking back. These bogus referrals are a bad idea and result if folks going off to these sites for no reason.


I’m about to reference your article on the the application translation software at Brighthand.

It’s too good of an article not to share with the good folks over there.

Of course, I will reference you. :)


:) Actually, what I’m talking about is not plagiarism so much as someone not realizing they didn’t link to the original article that is the sole reason the chain of posts exists in the first place. Referring to other people’s work is what makes the whole blog thing work. While it’s nice to recognize the website that called your attention to some interesting article it’s just rude to not also link to the interesting article.


Plagarism…the bane of the Internet.

I’d like to fault Al Gore, but he’s already done enough to hurt himself without my assistance.

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