A key property of the World Wide Web is the possibility for firms to place virtually costless links [...]to third-party content as a substitute or complement to their own content. This ability to hyperlink has enabled new types of players, such as search engines and content aggregators, to successfully enter content ecosystems, attracting traffic and revenue by hosting links to the content of others. This, in turn, has sparked a heated controversy between content producers and aggregators regarding the legitimacy and social costs/benefits of uninhibited free linking. This work is the first to model the implications of interrelated and strategic hyper-linking and content investments. Our results provide a nuanced view of the, so called, "link economy," highlighting both the beneficial consequences and the drawbacks of free hyperlinks and content aggregators for content producers and consumers.