Jill Walker: Links and Power: The Political Economy of Linking on the Web, a very cool paper presented in June 2002 at the ACM Hypertext conference in Baltimore. The paper argues for a “political economy” of value created by links.
Whereas most valuation models for the web start from the advertising assumptions that impressions (views of the ad) are the basis for value, links to sites have value independent of the impression or even the clickthrough value. This is because of Google and other search engines that value the source and target pages of links through the link itself. Links are currency that may give value to giver and recipient: by linking to this article, I share some of my PageRank with it (and vice versa). This makes the article more visible in search engines and therefore more discoverable. How much is that worth???