Thinking of Linking

Michael Gerber
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After writing this post on how to defray some of the costs of running Dullblog (keep lobbing over your preferences in the comments!), I’ve started very tentatively adding Amazon Affiliate links to songs, LPs, and movies. I mean, we all probably have every Beatles song and movie in several permutations, but… [Another way I could do this is have every post sport a little kicker at the end, something like “Media mentioned in this post.” The benefit of this is that it doesn’t distract the reader in the middle of the text. Better? Worse?]

I’m also occasionally linking to older Dullblog posts; do you guys read back into the site? You should; our lineup of contributors slowly shifts over time and some very interesting folks with very interesting opinions have appeared here over the decade. At this point, we’ve got over 700 posts, and I’m always wondering how best to have readers dig into them.

BTW, I didn’t say this and you didn’t read it and what was that weird squeaky noise but if we generate monies over and above hosting, I might consider paying for posts. Paying writers and artists is my life’s great pleasure and hoo boy would I love to start reaching out to the famous and infamous in the publishing game for Beatles stuff. That will have to wait to see what happens next.

This is what I think of people who don’t know who I am.”

But here’s my real question: One of the things that I’m noticing is that our posts often refer to historical events and personages—Timothy Leary, for example. Now I’m 50, and I know who Timmy Leary is, but a lot of our readers are from a different generation, and this is only going to get more so as the years pass. Would it be helpful to occasionally link to the Wikipedia pages of these people?

As a writer, I don’t want to muck up the flow of our posts with a lot of links. But I also am interested in this site’s potential to introduce fans of the Beatles to a bunch of interesting historical information (like CND). The Mike Gerber of Earth-2 is an historian specializing in the 60s and 70s, and he comes out to play here…even as Earth-1 Mike Gerber is loudly bitching about the limitations of conventional historiography.

Any opinions on this? My goal here is to make the discussions as rich as possible.

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  1. Avatar Mike Taylor wrote:

    There is no downside to including any of the kinds of links you mention here: links in the text don’t break the flow. You should go ahead (and hopefully bring in a bit of money).

  2. Avatar Rob Geurtsen wrote:

    Links to commercial sites are fine with me, links to other sources even better. If they are indistinguishable, there is a credibility problem. In that case I would even try the links.
    “do you guys read back into the site?” Of course, the site is a brilliant mix of well written well-thought-out opinions and wild fan fantasies. The former is interesting for my own thinking about The Beatles, the rest is relevant for any historian with an interest in current Beatles historiography, which I am.
    I would advise against links to Wikipedia, even though I love the concept and I check it regularly. I never check the wiki-text, but I use and check the source materials.
    To me, the strength of Hey Dullblog is that it doesn’t want to believe and accept common knowledge, but dares to look beyond, into the darkness of human fantasy to reconsider reality. Hope this explains why the past on Hey Dullblog is a fascinating resource.

  3. Michael Bleicher Michael Bleicher wrote:

    I’m of two minds. I think links to more esoteric concepts (for example, when HD becomes the addiction therapy blog) would be useful to readers. On the other, I like that HD isn’t like the rest of the internet: it’s a place for long-form prose without the clutter of links or the peanut gallery of angry, uninformed people; I think 90% or more of readers know people we mention or are curious enough to look up the ones they’ve never heard of

  4. Nancy Carr Nancy Carr wrote:

    I think occasional “Beatle People” posts could be interesting. I’m rather intrigued by Magic Alex, for instance. Not saying I’m doing a post on him anytime soon, “just saying” (as we put it in Chicago).
    Which “Beatle People” would readers like to learn more about? I’d like to hear candidates.

    • Michael Bleicher Michael Bleicher wrote:

      Magic Alex is a great one. Maureen Cleave is also very interesting to me, as is the Alma Cogan/John Lennon connection. (That might be a separate post though. Speculative history: what if John has left Cynthia for Maureen in 1966, instead of for Yoko in 1968?)

    • Avatar Tasmin wrote:

      Freda Kelly, Brian’s and The Beatles secretary.

  5. Avatar Justin McCann wrote:

    Regarding Wikipedia links, I agree with M.B. that people who are curious enough will take the time to do a Google search of their own, and that the site’s current look is pleasingly similar to a long-form journal.
    Regarding monetisation I say go for it! “Media mentioned” at the end of a post sounds ideal to me.

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