I have been working on a big social media project for one of my clients for the last few weeks, we were going live yesterday but were stopped at the last minute from the clients lawyers “I’m sorry you cannot go live before you have checked that you are allowed to link out to all of these sites”, What the F@~!£??? Seriously, I thought, who in their right mind would prevent someone linking to their site. This is the internet, free speech = free linking, surely!? Or is it?
So, I quite confidenentaly wrote an email to the lawyers saying in essence (although I put it slightly more eloquently of course) “you got to be kidding and don’t be silly there is no UK company that would have a no linking policy”, BOY was I wrong. After a quick question round on twitter, asking my followers whether they had heard of such “no linking policy” for any UK websites, I was shocked to find out there are LOADS of website doing this.
(A big thanks to @rishil @chappers @wiep @nicholastott @mattuk @harrybailey @theEdword and @tomsmith1984 for your quick replies to my tweet). And most of all thanks to @malcolmcoles who has spent significant time looking into all of these instances of UK “no linking policies”.
Malcolm’s most recent blogpost is a must read, giving you a list of examples of UK websites that has such “no linking polices”. These are all BIG UK businesses that have decided for one reason or another to prevent people from linking to their site. Malcolm has written several blogpost on this subject, the first one being a list of UK newspapers which has this no linking policy, then the second blogpost gives another list of major UK companies including the AOP (Association of Online Publishers) permitting websites to link to them without permission. Now I find this particularly funny as AOP is of course all about “online publishing”, pah!! (EDIT: After publishing this blogpost it was brought to my attention that the AOP no longer have a “no linking policy” in their T&Cs.