Anthony J. Pennings, PhD


The Link Economy?

Posted on | January 4, 2010 | No Comments

Links are clickable words, numbers, graphics or images that redirect a person to another webpage, website or a specific file like a pdf or a YouTube video. They contain code that connects the user to specific pages or other resources, thus the more official term URL (Uniform Resource Locator). Link code contains the address of the desired resource whether it is on the same website or another one located on a computer server in a different city or country. Links give the Internet extraordinary interactivity and fluidity, thus giving rise to the term web “surfing”.

As e-commerce continues to grow and become a dominant part of what Jeff Jarvis and others are calling the “link economy”, questions are being raised about its dynamics and the way it operates.

One issue is the power of search engines and complications involved in getting specific links to show up high in the rankings for a particular search. The ultimate matchmaker, search engines connect the searcher with a search result. But whose results get listed first?

Another is the power of affiliation, the partnerships that have developed to refer business to each other through the power of linking. Affiliation marketing is not a new concept but one that works particularly well in a link environment.

Yet another is syndication, making web feeds available that provide summaries and links to their content. RSS feeds aggregate selected content for readers but challenge publishers who provide an array of content. This has played havoc with the news industry whose decision makers see no choice but to allow others to link to their content.

What does the power of the link mean for the analysis of their economic impact? Part of it is as obvious as the growth of the Internet, but we haven’t really seen the full deployment of the link technology throughout the global society.



AnthonybwAnthony J. Pennings, PhD is the Professor of Global Media at Hannam University in South Korea. Previously, he taught at St. Edwards University in Austin, Texas and was on the faculty of New York University from 2002-2012. He also taught at Victoria University in Wellington, New Zealand and was a Fellow at the East-West Center in Hawaii in the 1990s.


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    Professor and Associate Chair at State University of New York (SUNY) Korea. Recently taught at Hannam University in Daejeon, South Korea. Moved to Austin, Texas in August 2012 to join the Digital Media Management program at St. Edwards University. Spent the previous decade on the faculty at New York University teaching and researching information systems, media economics, and strategic communications.

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