The World Wide Web is written in a language called HTML (HyperText Markup Language).
The defining characteristic of HTML is the hyperlink. The HyperLink is what differentiates the web from other forms of writing.
For that matter, the links to and from a web site matter almost as much as the content. There are massive new fields in which people study the topology of the hyperlink.
For example, Social Media is all about people linking with other people.
In many ways, linking is more important than content. Twitter is a program that uses 140 character posts and is primarily about linking.
Needless to say, there is an economic component to linking.
Good links on popular sites makes your site popular.
Google is a massive fortune 100 company that has made billions selling paid links.
Google is the dominant search engine. In October, Google announced that they will punish anyone who buys paid links.
I repeat. Google is a company that makes billions selling paid links. In October, Google announced that they will punish any company that engages in business with a competitor.
The hypocrisy aside. Google's direct attack on engaging in link development is attack on the fundamentals of the Internet.
Anyway, I was developing a collection of community directories under the brand "Community Color." It costs about $150 to host the collection of sites. To help offset the cost, I asked people who submit to the directory to pay a listing fee of $12.00.
Needless to say, after Google's announcement that they will punish anyone who does business with competitor, and the directories are now effectively insolvent.
I had started building community directories in 1999. I started up north with a collection of directories I gave away (Missoula.ws is the only site left from the original experiment.) The idea behind the project was that linking is fundamental and that, for small independent web sites to survive they have to engage in active link development.
The best place to start is the local community.
If people do not link with each other, then large evil companies like Google will dominate and we will lose the independent web.