I currently have several sites which link externally to tens of thousands of selected sites directly (who have sent their link requests to me directly). Fortunately we receive many excellent inbound links.
My questions is, would it be better to use an asp.net or a .php script redirect page to count clicks when invoking external sites (sometimes with a 0 pagerank due to newness on their part, not lack of quality) as opposed to just direct linking via the href?
I am not clear about the penalties for linking to too many external sites, particularly when as a portal site that is part of the inherent nature of the service you offer; by filtering out sites you are performing an editing service.
Occasionally I regretably pause to wonder whether I should link to low Pagerank sites due to the usual advice concerning "bleeding pagerank" when linking to too many external sites.
Currently my sites have very high Pageranks for many pages, but I wonder if they might be higher across-the-board if I were to use a redirect script? Do the major search engines know how to parse basic redirects to centralized scripts which count clicks and then pass the link as a parameter on to the external site?
Is this a stupid question in that direct or straight-forward redirects amount to the same thing?
Thank you in advance for any advice. I only wish to be honest and do justice to the many valuable smaller or newer sites (without necessarily seeking any form of link exchange).