Weblogs have revolutionized web publishing. The act of blogging itself isn’t all that revolutionary. But blog software developers have put powerful weapons in the hands of ordinary citizens. The Pentagon calls this asymmetrical warfare.
One unnoticed aspect of the revolution is that anybody can have searchable archives on their site. As soon as a story is published, it has a permanent URL and it keeps that URL even after it is moved off the home page. Users can follow offsite links to the story, or search the archives to find it on the site. In other words, the site is the archive.
Newspapers make a false distinction between their site and their archive. After a couple of weeks, they remove stories not only from their home page, but from their Web site. The original URL is broken, and readers who followed a link to the story are invited to search the paper’s archives for it and pay money to get a look at it.
Newspapers don’t even understand what URL’s are for. Many of them actively oppose “deep linking” to stories, or tacitly support the link-to-my-homepage-or-don’t-link-to-my-site element by their silence. After all, who even thought we needed a term for “deep linking”? It should be called linking.
They don’t understand that links from interested outsiders add even more value to their news by creating dense and useful meta-information that they couldn’t buy even if they wanted to.
Bloggers add value to old news with commentary, context, community, links, inbound traffic, and Google cred. With online advertising (especially search-related advertising) growing explosively, the value of having stories permanently accessible on your site far outweighs the trivial incremental revenue that comes from selling your archives.