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Yale study : Blogs build an audience by outgoing links and promoting rivals

Blogs build an audience by promoting rivals and outgoing links finds a Yale School of Management study.

The study was performed by the Yale Center for Customer Insights and authored by Dina Mayzlin, an assistant professor of marketing at Yale and Hema Yoganarasimhan, a Ph.D. candidate at Yale.

Findings of the study include:

  • Posting a one-way link to a potential competitor may seem risky strategy since it may lose readers to the linked blog. However, that linking can build an audience because it signals to readers that the blog is skilled at locating useful information, making it more likely that the reader will visit again.
  • From the consumer’s perspective, linking increases the attractiveness of the blogosphere since links enable readers to locate information.
  • There are two dimensions of blogs. One the ability to break the news and two, the ability to find news in other blogs.
  • The incentive to link is maximized in a time period when the blogger is not able to generate news-breaking content on her own.
  • Impressing readers is a big issue for bloggers. If a blogger is not able to ‘get the scoop,’ it is in her best interest to direct readers to a rival that has new information.
  • A byproduct of this incentive to link is a self- sustaining system of quality monitoring between different blogs. Blogs that more reliably produce information are more likely to have more incoming links and hence receive more visitors.
  • Though advertisers typically place a lot of value on blogs that produce original content and have a high number of incoming links, the number of outgoing links may also provide useful information on blog quality.

I’ve noticed some interesting stuff coming out of Yale on the blog front. First on the law side with their blog supplementing the Yale Law Review and a possible Law meme. Now this coming from the business school. Harvard may have gotten earlier buzz from their blog work, but Yale looks to be a player.

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