Scott Rosenberg’s excellent defense of links begins by shredding the silly studies that purport to show that links cause brain damage. (If you meet someone who tells you that links impose cognitive overhead, keep an eye on your wallet.)
In part 2, Rosenberg does a nice job of explaining SEO-driven “corporate” linking, the sort of idiocy that newspaper and magazine sites indulge in order to grab more page views and cram more ads and Google juice into every inch.
It’s possible for links to make meaning and money at the same time; one doesn’t have to exclude the other. But when driven by the prospect of profit, bad links can begin to swamp good ones