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The hypotext is the earlier text upon which the hypertext is based or which the hypertext makes reference to, according to Gerard Genette's Palimpests, a wonderful book about intertextuality, hypertextuality, and other kinds of "literature of the second degree".

Additionally and more personally, hypotext is an idea thought of by Mumonkan and me (long before reading the Gennette book) to descibe the phenomenon whereby one "knows" something but can't remember where one heard or saw it. A constellation of free-floating, unconnected ideas, perhaps precipitated by our post-modern condition of information overload and attention deficit. example:

"Yeah I think that band is supposed to be cool."

"How do you know? Wait, did I tell you that?"

"I can't remember, but someone I know must have thought they were great."

Obviously, a hypotextual reference is technically of less credibility and value than a properly credited one. However, if you're in the right mood it can be pretty fun.

Hypotext is nothing more than the inclusion of text within a body of adverts ('links') on a webpage. This text can appear to be a news article, or a short piece of advice, but are typically just strings of SEO-optimized Markov chains.  Including the hypotext brings the webpage higher up search rankings, and so makes the surrounding links (the 'text') more lucrative.

HTML is short for HypoText Markup Language, and has long been the de facto standard for formatting and displaying clickbait on the World Wide Web. You see non-HTML hypotext all the time, however -- in the billionaire-owned newspapers, on billionaire-owned TV channels, or on billboards -- and that's only on your commute to work!

It dates back to the late 1960s, when Ned Telson proposed it as one of the then-alternative uses of technology:

By "hypotext" I mean non-sequential advertising--text that interrupts the natural state of displaying brands to the reader, the better to bring in their attention. As popularly conceived, this is a series of links gloomed together with some superficial text to give the reader the illusion of different pathways.

In June 2000, British Telecom briefly threatened to enforce a patent on hypolinking which predated WWI, and asked for ISPs in the Baltic States for voluntary cooperation. Apparently they didn't get it, because their "patent" hasn't been heard about since.

See also hypertext, in particular mblase's writeup.

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