Now This Log

Sunday, 3 February 2002 : "Better Business Bureau link policy"

The Council of Better Business Bureaus doesn't like for their site to be linked to except by very specific kinds of people or unless they 'consider and approve' one's 'link request', as outlined in their Web Use Terms & Conditions.

This reminds me of KPMG's attitude towards people linking to its site (see Big Stink Over a Simple Link [Wired]).

In both cases, the organizations simply fail to understand the fundamental nature of the web. No one's holding a gun to their head saying they have to have a website, and once the site is on the web, it's fair game to be linked to.

If you want control over whether certain content within your site can be linked to, there are technical ways to make sure that anyone who follows a link to your site will be taken to your home page instead of to content deep inside your site. Technical fixes are cheap compared to legal fixes, and have the added advantage of working against everyone, not just against the one party you choose to sue. That works, for content other than your home page.

But to say that only certain people can even link to your home page without a prior agreement? Pull the other one. Or get off the web.

And for the Better Business Bureau to get this wrong is, frankly, sadder than some puffed-up consulting firm getting it wrong. They should know better.

Links, exploration and
synthesis from
Steve Bogart

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