And traditional media outlets wonder why they're struggling?

Can you imagine a media outlet, which lives and dies by readership and distribution of its articles, prohibiting you from linking to pages within its website??? I couldn't imagine it either, but it's true.

BusinessWeek.com has a user agreement which prohibits readers from "deep-linking," which essentially means you are not supposed to post a link to a specific article. You can post a link to the home page, businessweek.com. But if you find a specific story that you'd like to write about or promote, it's a no-go. You can't like to that specific page. From the user agreement: "In addition, User may not:.... 2. use or attempt to use any "deep-link,"..."

In an age when traditional media outlets are struggling to survive, you'd think they would be encouraging readers to link to stories. Nope. You're not allowed to do it, according to their agreement. Now I don't know if it's even possible to enforce such a clause, as people freely link to other sites and pages all the time.

But just the very idea of this demonstrates part of the reason why traditional media is faltering – they're not keeping up with the times and creating user-friendly services and sites that engage readers.

Tracy L. Coenen, CPA, MBA, CFE performs fraud examinations and financial investigations for her company Sequence Inc. Forensic Accounting, and is the author of Essentials of Corporate Fraud.

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