New additions to the Finance Blog Resource Page and a comment on link sharing

I've added three sites to the Stock Market Blog Resource Page.  I'll list them and describe them in a minute.  But first, a comment about the funny business of linking to other web sites.

It's well known that if you own a web site the number of other sites that link to your site is crucial, as the number and quality of inbound links determine your ranking in the results of the leading search engines.  This has led to the proliferation of "link sharing", ie. "you link to me and I'll link to you" deals. 

The problem with link sharing, however, is that it adulterates one of the most useful aspects of the Web: carefully chosen links to contextually relevant topics.  Link-sharers not only allow the inclusion of any and every link, but often allow the authors of the linked-to sites to choose and describe the links themselves.  If linking is an integral part of Web content and editorial value, then link-sharing debases that content and value.

I had a graphic experience of this a couple of days ago.  The proprietor of "Internet trading" sent me an email that said he had linked to Seeking Alpha.  How wonderful!  But his email then contained the following:

I would appreciate if [sic] you placed a link back to my site.  Your link will move up higher on my link pages when you link back to me... Please email me to let me know the exact URL that you place a link back to my website on.  I will review the links on your site within 10 days to see if you have linked back to me.  Thank you for posting a link to 

And when I checked where he had linked to Seeking Alpha, I found that it was in the collection of "general investing" links on his site.  I was grouped on the same page as... a link to a vendor of electronic publishing software and a web site that offers pictures of birds, nature and wildlife.  Well, I guess investing is a broad field.

Perhaps most perplexing is the way links are presented.  "Internet trading tips" seems to be a blatant offender, since the site actually claims that the links are selected and recommended:

This page offer [sic] some valuable resources for investment related websites. We have literally spent thousands of hours scouring the web for the top investment resources. If you would like to add a link to your website Click Here to see our guidelines for submitting your site. We recommend these web sites:

Many other sites also seem to engage in link trading without revealing that to their readers. 

In contrast, the goal of the Stock Market Blogs Resource Page, the ETF Resource Page and the Market Resource Page is to provide (a) links that are genuinely useful, (b) a comment or description that tells you something helpful about the sites being linked to, and (c) careful selection and categorization of links that saves you from sifting though every web page that appears in response to a search engine query.  For that reason, I don't participate in link-sharing arrangements.

Now on to the newly added blogs.  All three are excellent:

The Big Picture is described by author Barry Ritholz as "Macro perspectives on the Capital Markets, Economy, and Geopolitics (with a dash of film & music)".  It focuses on issues that affect the overall market, and is particularly strong on the impact of higher oil prices and accelerated depreciation allowances.  Ritholz also reviews financial books, and has a good selection on the blog.  One gripe: all the finance oriented pieces are lumped into a single category ("finance"), making it harder to find what you're looking for.

Brad DeLong is Professor of Economics at the University of California at Berkely.  He writes frequently (twice daily?) on topics including the business cycle, labor economics, monetary and fiscal policy, health care, the Internet, employment and unemployment and development economics.  His posts are often lengthy and detailed.

The Capital Spectator, written by James Picerno, describes its focus as "Money, oil, economics and the search for the bottom line".  Postings are freqent (often daily), detailed and well written, and the blog has an outstanding set of categorized links.