Linking to other's pages

Subject: Linking to other's pages
From: "Walker, Arlen P" <Arlen -dot- P -dot- Walker -at- JCI -dot- COM>
Date: Thu, 22 May 1997 11:38:14 -0500

A while ago we had a discussion on the ethics and consequences of linking
to other's pages without permission. There's an interesting dispute going
on right now which may lead to some better information on this topic.

Microsoft's "Seattle Sidewalk" contains links to Ticketmaster's on-line
ticket ordering site for specific concerts. Ticketmaster has a site with
information about the concerts it sells tickets for. Ticketmaster didn't
like the fact that people were getting their concert information from MS.
(At a guess, I'd say it might be because of lost advertising revenue, but
I'm not fully aware of the circumstances here, so I could be wrong.)

Ticketmaster wanted MS to pay them a royalty for the privilege of linking
into their service. MS declined. So now Ticketmaster is feeding the
referring page reference through a filter on its end and rerouting all
referrals from "Seattle Sidewalk" to a page explaining their position on
this matter, telling the user essentially "you can't get here from there."
(I believe the phrase they're using is "the sidewalk has come to a dead

It's an interesting issue, but whether you agree with Ticketmaster's
position is not the question. Even if you think they're behaving like
morons, they have a right to behave like morons. The idea we should take
away from this story is this: it's time to recognize that it's a Good Thing
to get permission for those links after all. The technology is there to
greatly inconvenience your audience (and harm your site's image and
utility) if you don't. And as more sites become ad-supported, this
phenomena may soon become the norm, rather than an aberration. Ticketmaster
has given the tube a good squeeze; the toothpaste won't go back in readily.

Just a "heads up." (Wall Street Journal 15 May, via EDUPAGE)

Have fun,
Chief Managing Director In Charge, Department of Redundancy Department
DNRC 224

Arlen -dot- P -dot- Walker -at- JCI -dot- Com
In God we trust; all others must provide data.
Opinions expressed are mine and mine alone.
If JCI had an opinion on this, they'd hire someone else to deliver it.

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