I did a post on in March about how Russ Freeman's great twilight front shoot helped Russ's listing agent customer make a quick sale of a San Clemente home. Russ told me yesterday that the Wall Street Journal was running his photo of this San Clemente home as the center piece of an article on luxury homes.
Russ gave the WSJ permission to run the photo as long as he got "credit". Seeing the way the Wall Street Journal "gave him credit" really gets me worked up! Come on! On a web site just putting Russ's name in text is like no credit at all. Does just a name "Russ Freeman" by itself mean anything. No, how difficult is it to link to Russ's web site? It's trivial, and a link from a page rank 8 web site like WSJ.com is worth hundreds, maybe thousands of dollars in traffic, referrals and potential business.
This really pisses me off! This is the same WSJ.com owned by News Corp who's CEO Rupert Murdock doesn't want Google indexing his sites and "stealing" his content. It works both way's Rupert! You are "stealing" people's content (photographs) without any payment of any kind. At least link to the photographer's site that created the content that you are using for free.
I happen to be extra sensitive about this issue of newspaper sites being adverse to linking to external sites in the text of their articles because my neighbor Burt and I have gotten some media coverage recently because we made our HOA back down on it's solar power restrictions. In the process, I've been battling my local newspaper site StatesmanJournal.com and the USAToday.com who both recently ran articles on our solar crusade but were reluctant to link to our neighborhood site where we promote our project. To get our local newspaper to link to our neighborhood site I had to argue with the digital editor of the paper and finally got her to put a link to our site, but it was NOT in the text of the article, it was external to the article and hard to find.
I was not as successful with the USAToday article that referred to our renewable energy efforts. Partially because I didn't know in advance that they were running the article and in large part because I had my permission and linking discussion with the reporter that wrote the story and not the digital editor. I also was not pushy enough. You have to really get in their face to get their attention. No link, no permission!
So here is the bottom line: Whenever you give a newspaper site, or other site for that matter, permission to use a photo or do a story about you or your business it is important that you get hold of the managing editor or digital editor and insist that permission for using your information is contingent on a link to your site in the text of the article. As I found out with USAToday, a discussion with the reporter is NOT enough. You have to make it clear that no link in the text, no permission! They are basically in the mind set to take advantage of you and use your photos and information for free, on their terms. And for some reason, which I don't totally understand, newspapers have and aversion to linking to anything but their own site. It's like they don't understand that hyperlinks are a form of payment. Newspapers are used to taking advantage of the fact that everyone wants their name or photograph in the paper. Don't let them get by with this nonsense!