Links are one of the largest untracked forms of online currency, and as soon as the IRS discovers this they will try to find a way to tax them. Every link is an indication of an exchange of real value, even if the parties are linking naively.
Here is one example where an innocent link exchange with no money changing hands is increasing the value of a site:
Site A finds a cool image they want to use on site B. Site A copies the image and gives credit to site B via a link. In this example, a link has replaced payment for usage of the image. This is a basic barter deal and no search engine can complain about the link exchange.
Here Maile Ohye, Developer Programs Tech Lead at Google talks about outbound links, but forgets to mention it is a multi million dollar business.
Relevant outbound links can help your visitors
- Provide your readers in-depth information about similar topics
- Offer readers your unique commentary on existing resources
Thoughtful outbound links can help your credibility.
- Show that you’ve done your research and have expertise in the subject manner
- Make visitors want to come back for more analysis on future topics
- Build relationships with other domain experts (e.g. sending visitors can get you on the radar of other successful bloggers and begin a business relationship)
Read more about how Google tries to downplay the global linking cartel.
In another twist of irony, this article is published as a subdomain on blogspot.com which is the number 1 source of link spam and autogenerated content online.
The formal article shows google clearly denying the link economy they created.