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Thursday, August 13 Front Page >> Random Rants >> Deep Linking BS

Aug 23, 2002, 10:40am

Have you heard about companies who figure they own your right to link to them? Heard about "deep linking"? Deep linking is providing a link like instead of just .

Far too many companies now believe it is their right to tell you, me, and anyone else that you cannot link to them without permission, and woe is you if you deep link.

I say fuck them. If that's how they feel, then they need to get off the Internet. The whole core of the WWW is linking - where do they thing the word "web" comes from or relates to in terms of the world wide web?

Here's some notables. Note, by providing these links, in every case, I'm violating these webs sites' stated policies:
These doofuses not only demand you ask permission to link to them, but tell you that under no uncertain terms, you are NOT allowed to link deep. But they don't stop there. They demand that the address be spelled in the url (yikes), and that you put a rather poorly designed and pixelized large button on the page you are putting the link on. Get stuffed.
Oops, I just violated their policies. Twice. They expect people to get legal permission to link, and "absolutely" prohibit deep linking. Oops. SonicFoundry makes some okay software, but they too can get stuffed.
Nikon... Nikon. Sigh, you're starting to piss me off. Well guess what - by providing this link above, without permission of course, I'm breaking their rules. And this one's especially funny: if they grant me permission then revoke it... well. Here, you read it:

You may not create a link from your website or any other Internet location to NPI’s Website without the express written permission of NPI. If NPI grants you permission to link to this Website, NPI reserves the right to revoke such permission at any time. If such permission is revoked, you agree that your failure to sever such link immediately will cause NPI immediate and irreparable injury.

Immediate and irreparable injury??!!!? Hrm. I've damaged NPI!!! Or have they damaged themselves?!!!
Well, Texas Instruments doesn't say you must ask permission first, but they do say this: "Your site should not contain content that could be construed as distasteful, offensive or controversial."

I once saw a porn movie of a woman fucking a dog. Not that I'm into that kind of thing.


I like to pretend I'm in Britain while driving here in Vancouver, and I drive on the left side of the road.

Ooops (hey, it's "controversial").
Another website with way too much money for its lawyers. Get this - First, they say you need permision to use a deep link. Like this one.

Next, they say that by linking to their site, you've automatically agreed to their "Linking and Framing Terms and Conditions," which is a very anal list of restrictions that Bloomberg reserves the right to modify at any time. Guess what Bloomberg, I don't.

You know what's really ironic, in a sad way about this? Bloomberg is one of many sites that drops a lot of obtrusive tracking cookies on YOUR hard drive (including several from and other tracking advertising sites), as well as using obnoxious pop up ads to clutter YOUR computer's desktop.

Did Bloomberg ask your prior permission to do this? Did they send you a formal written request to clutter up your computer's desktop with pop behind ads, intrusive tracking cookies and GIF files, and the like? Of course not.

Now, before anyone calls me hypocritical, let me state - yes, many of my websites track your progress through the website. I don't ask you prior permission, I put it in the ToS on the websites stating that "by visiting this site, you agree to this. If you don't like it, don't come here..." yada yada.

There's several big differences here. First, I'm not making one set of rules for me and another for you - I'm not preventing you from linking to my site. In fact, I don't believe I have that right. It's the Internet. If I don't want people to link to my stuff, I shouldn't be on the Internet. It's like having your magazine up on a rack in a mag shop, and saying that only pre-authorized people have the right to view the cover, or open the inside. Others, turn your head.

Second, my tracking cookies serve one purpose - making your travel thru the websites easier. I don't use third party ad databases to track your clicks. I don't sell your viewing information. I don't use your viewing history as an income tool. Bloomberg does. They've assumed they have the right to do this without your express written permission (as do many websites that say you cannot link to them without permission), yet they want to restrict what is a "right" as far as the Internet goes.

Shame on them all.

4 comments | reply

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