Should You Link to a Competitor’s Site ?

no-dead-linksI was asked to remove a link on a client’s blog this week. I’d written a news item merely announcing that a senior member of staff was moving onto another job after eight successful years at the organization. The company the member of staff was going to had also posted an interview with her about her new position and I’d linked the two articles together so anyone interested in the community could get a more nuanced picture of events. After all, this was pretty big news for both communities.

Neither the client article or linked article was critical; in fact, both were very positive and looked to the future development of each organization.

Still, I was told to “delete the link” by the powers that be because they felt it was tantamount to an “advert”, I was told, for the other organziation.

My Initial Reaction

I found the incident dismaying and actually strategically naive.

To remove a link from a post that had been up for two weeks smacks of paranoia. Moreover, linking information together is one of the ways that we as content publishers contribute to the free flow of information.

What’s more, it can be incredibly useful to share link love with businesses or organizations that could be regarded as competitors.

For example, I am a podcaster. I wrote a podcast ebook. But that doesn’t mean that I won’t recommend the likes of Dave Jackson over at the School of Podcasting or Ray Ortega’s Podcasters Studio to other podcasters. Both Ray and Dave provide outstanding content and I am sure their consulting services are similarly outstanding.

A Strategic Reaction to Linking to Competitors

In the past I’ve retweeted links to so-called competitors because I could see the value in the content they were sharing. As I’ve said numerous times before, I don’t need a bazillion customers. I only need a certain amount of customers each month. If I can help others in the industry I am happy to do so. Amazingly, others are happy to share my work too.

I love the work of Jamie Wallace, Scott & Michelle Quillin and Jayme Soulati and what many others are doing. Am I naive to have them on my podcast and interview them ? Am I stupid to be promoting them ?

No ! These people are the kind of people I love exchanging ideas with and I’d be delighted if I did something to help them be successful.

The Bit I Decided Not to Publish

Okay, so maybe I shouldn’t be talking about this in public.

Fair enough.

But it’s a risk I’m prepared to take because I believe in putting my site where my mouth is. Also, sometimes you have to nail your colours to the mast and take a position.

What do you think ?