Yale Blog Study: Linking to Rivals Can Benefit Businesses

Researchers at the Yale School of Management say a business can potentially increase its market share by referring customers to competitors via blogs and other social media tools.

In their study, "Link to Success: How Blogs Build an Audience by Promoting Rivals" researchers Dina Mayzlin and Hema Yoganarasimhan says linking to rival sites can signal to visitors that they can obtain useful information at the site regardless of its location, such as when Amazon.com provides links to books sold by other sites.

In this way, the blog becomes a “destination” site, the researchers said.  "From the consumer's perspective, linking increases the attractiveness of the blogosphere since links enable readers to locate information," said Mayzlin, an assistant professor of marketing at the Yale School of Management. Co-author Yoganarasimhan is a Ph.D. candidate at Yale SOM. The authors propose that a byproduct of the desire to link is a self-sustaining system of quality monitoring between different blogs.

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Paul McCloskey is contributing editor of Syllabus.

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