BusinessWeek: Don’t Link to Us!
Oh my oh my oh my. I don’t even know where to begin, so I’ll just say it outloud.
BusinessWeek are stupid!
Not the journalists or editors working there though, but the knucklehead that thought it was a good idea to tell users not to link to pages on the site, and put it in a user agreement (the only link to BusinessWeek you’ll find in this piece) at that, and then follow it up by telling you not to link should you do it, well, s/he’s stupid.
Web 2.0, oh yes.
I thought old media (this is ancient media really) had gotten a bit further than that, and an overall pretty good site/mag like BusinessWeek should be getting it, right? Well, obviously they’re not, as SmugMug CEO Don MacAskill found out, after wanting to link to an interview with him from his blog. My, my, very smooth.
What happens next? Well, Gawker picked it up, along with CNET’s News Blog, and I’m guessing this’ll make even more rings on the water.
So stupid. Really, it is stupid. Why would you say no to free traffic? Traffic brings ad dollars! Making it hard for bloggers and well-meaning sites like this makes them pissed up, and you end up on The Blog Herald with a cranky editor whining about your policies!
What do you think? How stupid is this?
Thord Daniel Hedengren is a designer, writer, and blogger, and also the former editor of The Blog Herald. He used to be a hotshot in the gaming industry in Sweden, but sold everything and went International. Most recently he wrote a book called Smashing WordPress: Beyond the Blog, and does loads of kickass design.
It is indeed pretty stupid, but not new. I remember a similar popular site which this happened to just a few months ago and I heard about it on the Buzz Out Loud podcast. It dealt with the same exact issue which makes me think that BusinessWeek and some other companies/sites went through the same legal service to prepare their user agreements.
In fact, there was an entire website devoted to these stupid YOU CAN’T LINK TO US orders. Check it out here http://www.dontlink.com/ it hasn’t been updated in years, I think it’s time it came out of hibernation
About as stupid as the subject-verb disagreement in your fourth sentence.
Can’t link? Perhaps BusinessWeek hasn’t yet digested the scope and definition of “online presence.”
This is the medium where we read, comment, and share. It’s okay if an entity doesn’t want to participate. Just don’t be here.
Been like that for as long as I can remember – http://racoma.com.ph/archives/on-linking-policies
Stupid. Coincidentally, I just helped someone who’s writing an article for them with about a dozen really savvy links.
So maybe next time… yeah. I think it’s the legal wonks again – lawyers are to the Blogosphere what Napalm was to Vietnamese civilians.
I’ve dugg it – Digg it up folks: http://httv.biz/bizweak/
Heh, well, just to show that things CAN get a great deal worse, let me tell you about my experience with a local regional newspaper, quite a big one actually (most small newspapers belong to conglomerates) but here’s what happened: I had a Google News RSS feed in the sidebar of a small local community website (dozens of member! ;) and I get a phonecall threatening legal action if I don’t desist in using their headlines! Excuse me?
You see, she didn’t know that Google scans ‘news’ sites and offers the results for syndication. “That’s going to STOP!” she proclaimed and I said OK, you stop them, you’ll no longer see your precious news headlines on my site. I even gave her the precise link to google’s opt-out form.
For a long time, I saw no headlines from them, but I’m starting to see some now. No doubt they found “the problem” and fired the bitch.
One of my blogs is an office/business type blog and I link to them fairly often. Or did I guess. This is a really lame decision. Especially since many bloggers provide both links, i.e. read (this article) that’s at (blah website). That’s basic etiquette I tend to follow, but I’m not sending my readers on some treasure hunt. Like; “once you get to BW, click on news, then December, then scroll down the page…” I mean really; how lame.
1) I don’t see where BW said that people cannot link to their website. Admittedly I skimmed and searched for the word “link.”
2) Off the top of my head, I don’t think BW has any way to legally enforce their request that people not link to their site (if that is in fact what they are doing). Copyright law has always permitted people to quote small portions of a written text and paraphrase for the purpose of commenting on it. Yet the BW user agreement says, “The User may not commingle any portion of BW.com with any other information and shall not edit, modify, or alter any portion.” I don’t see how BW would be able to get around the First Amendment by extending their copyright as far as they are attempting to do.
I’m not an expert in this area of law, and I would be surprised if any court has had the opportunity to analyze First Amendment rights, copyright law and contract law under these cricumstances…but my two cents is that they are beyond the bounds of their legal rights.
Please delete this comment, I just forgot to check the “Notify me of followup comments via e-mail” box. BTW, do you guys have a comments RSS feed? If not, why not?!