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AOP Launches Link Attribution Protocol

The Association of Online Publishers (AOP) yesterday announced the launch of a Link Attribution Protocol that aims to ensure publishers are suitably credited for the original content they produce, following feedback and discussions with several of AOP’s publisher members and audience development group.

AOP Launches Link Attribution Protocol
Richard Reeves: “Fair citation not only shows respect for the time, effort, and money invested in generating premium-level content, but is also vital for maintaining publishers’ visibility, traffic and ultimately, survival.” Photograph: JJ Ying on Unsplash.

In the absence of links to original sources, the significant impact on publishers’ traffic, and the associated revenues, are irrefutable, says AOP. To combat this, the new Protocol aims to raise awareness of fair link attribution and encourage best practice among the digital publishing community. Using attribution email addresses, publishers who have registered for the Protocol will be able to email other member publishers who have not referenced exclusive content correctly and ask for it to be updated.

With backing from its audience development steering group and commitment from several leading UK publishers already, AOP will now focus on driving more publishers and trade bodies to support the roll out of the Protocol.

Commenting on the Protocol, Carly Steven, Head of SEO at The Sun, said: “We believe that fair attribution for original reporting is vital to maintaining a healthy and diverse digital ecosystem. Our exclusives are the lifeblood of our brand, and it is clearly in the best interests of both publishers and readers to promote and reward the energy, passion and investment they represent. We fully support AOP's new link policy and look forward to working more closely with all publishers to make this vision a reality.”

Steven Wilson-Beales, Head of Editorial and SEO at Global, added: “Crediting original journalism ensuring both attribution and website traffic is vitally important to digital publishers. It enhances consumer trust and helps the reader to understand the value of quality content and editorial teams so as such we’re very supportive of the Link Attribution Protocol.”

Ian Betteridge, Director of Content and Audience Development at Bauer Xcel Media, commented: “As a premium publisher, Bauer believes in fair attribution for original content, including the many exclusives which we create. That's why we are supporting the AOP link attribution campaign, which we believe will be beneficial both to ourselves and all publishers, large and small, who work hard to create articles, videos and other content."

Richard Reeves, Managing Director at AOP, said: “Fair citation not only shows respect for the time, effort, and money invested in generating premium-level content, but is also vital for maintaining publishers’ visibility, traffic and ultimately, survival. We are extremely grateful for the feedback from our members which brought greater attention to this pertinent issue. As publishers have come through the last 18 months of disruption thanks to their sheer determination and resilience, it is only right they receive the recognition they deserve for producing high-quality, engaging content. With this Protocol, we are one step closer towards a fairer, more transparent digital ecosystem.”

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