New York Times Keeps Links to Themselves

By Michael Dorausch, D.C.

What’s the deal with colossal websites, like the New York Times, keeping all their links to themselves? Not that there’s any law that says they can’t do so, I just think it goes against what most other websites and blogs are doing.

I noticed a story today in the Times related to Virgil Griffith and his WikiScanner. In the Times article, there are lots of internal links to other Times content, but no outbound links for Virgil. I find that interesting and this is why…

virgil imageLast week news broke out online regarding Virgil Griffith’s WikiScanner. Beginning first on Wired News, the topic moved through social media sites (Digg, Reddit) like a firestorm.

Within hours of the news spreading, Virgil posted some information for the press (media ppl are required read this before asking questions), which he placed as a bold link at the top of the WikiScanner page.

On that page, the very first topic Virgil addresses…
How should I link to your homepage?
Link to me with <a href=””>Virgil</a>. Thanks.

Next topic…
I represent the media. Will you talk to me?
Yes, I will talk to you. But as I’m on a quest to become the #1 hit on google for query ‘virgil’, I ask that on your website you put a link to with the anchor ‘virgil’ as described above.

Third topic…
Why did you create WikiScanner?
To improve ‘s Google pagerank for the query ‘ virgil ‘

It’s not until after Virgil makes those three requests that he addresses other reasons why he created the WikiScanner. “To create minor public relations disasters for companies and organizations I dislike.”

I’ve been following this story very closely since I first wrote about it Tuesday morning in planet chiropractic news. After making my post, I did a Google search for the term “virgil” to see where he was at in his quest to become #1. Not good.

I decided to do a WikiScanner follow-up article in which I explained Virgil’s quest to be at the top of search results. Since then, I’ve been watching various online news web sites and social networking sites, to see if Virgil was getting his links, and getting closer to his goal. This whole WikiScanner issue created a great opportunity for me to see how long it would take for someone’s web site to appear in Google natural search results.

When I saw the WikiScanner article in this morning’s New York Times, I thought maybe Virgil had hit pay dirt with a mega-link. That was not the case.

In the Times coverage of the WikiScanner, I counted 15 internal links from the New York Times article to other articles on the same website. The New York Times had zero outbound links. No links to Virgil, no links to WikiScanner, no links to Wikipedia, and no links to Wired News, who broke the story first (the Times did mention that).

I’m sure there’s some sort of bureaucratic corporate policy that keeps New York Times authors from linking to other sites. It just sucks, in my opinion, that they are so free in giving internal inbound links to themselves, and they share no link juice with others.

I mean, here is a major website that relies on open source software (Much of The New York Times runs on WordPress) on the back end, but they don’t share that same open source free giving spirit when it comes to links. Nothing against the writers at the New York Times, just pointing out my observations.

Either way, Virgil is getting tons of traffic, and he is getting links from thousands. As a result, “virgil” is on an ascent to the top. I checked the position for the search term “virgil” in Google, the day the story broke. Virgil.GR was appearing around position number 30 in a Google search.

This morning, his homepage comes up in position (lucky number) 7 and I’m betting he’ll hit position #1 within a week from today. What this self-proclaimed mad scientist and disruptive technologist will do after that, no one knows.