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IDG's Blunt Instrument

By - September 07, 2004

Rear_View_MirrorNow granted, I might have my own rather biased reasons to beat a tired old horse, but really, Loosely Coupled nails it in this post about IDG’s deep linking policies. They are blunt, dumb, and tone deaf. I understand that there may be cases where others are making hay off your content and you have to respond (I deal with this from time to time at Boing Boing), but this policy is not the answer.

In short, IDG’s policy states: You may not link to our site if you sell ads on your site or you charge a subscription fee to use or access your site. So I just broke the policy by linking to them, I guess, now that I take AdSense. Loosley Coupled notes they’ve broken the policy about 1,000 times. In this world of personal media, its nothing short of ridiculous to ask folks to NOT link to your content. It’s suicide.

(Thanks, Dan)

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  • Ron

    I guess the question to ask is why did they (and others) do this? My guess is something happened. Some site did something that they didn’t like, or made them look bad, or more likely, opened them up to some liability and they had to respond. Even if it’s never enforced, it might be for their protection they needed (in some lawyers opinion, mind you) to do this.

    In the years I spent running a mid size company, I often had to do things that people saw as crazy or stupid, but there was always a reason, and in 20/20 hind site, it wasn’t always the best, but there was a reason.

    So, rather then just rant and rave, why don’t we investigate why sites are doing this. In the end, it might make some (twisted) sense.

  • http://battellemedia.com John Battelle

    Ron, that’s a fine idea, and I agree. I’ll ping Matt, who runs InfoWorld…

  • http://birdhouse.org/blog Scot Hacker

    If you ask me for permission to link to my content, I will respond that the permission is not mine to give. Even though the content is mine and the site is mine, it is not up to me who links to what on my site.

    If you are going to play on the internet, you are going to be part of it. And you can’t be part of it and also try to control incoming links. To attempt to control incoming links is to display a fundamental misunderstanding of what the internet is.

    cf. Tim Berners-Lee:
    http://www.openly.com/link.openly/etiquette.html

    Tim Berners-Lee, the “inventer” of the World-Wide Web, thinks that links are intrinsic to the fabric of the web. In a section of the W3C web site devoted to his personal notes about the architectecture and meaning of the web, he writes:

    There is no reason to have to ask before making a link to another site .

  • Joe

    I do think you have to understand and probe on the fundamental motives and metrics of the publisher.

    In my experience in the publishing world, the critical goals are to 1) look really hip; 2) be very conversant in business model buzzwordz; 3) arrange important meetings with Google, and 4) position yourself as the champion of the FUNDAMENTAL VALUE of your content. Said another way, it’s smartest to be the brazen young turk willing to implement policies that may *only* look smart to the enlightened publisher. The ultimate success criteria is for the executive office synopsis to go something like: “geez, this kid has all the vision and gonads that I admire about the RIAA”…