Want To Link To Royal Mail? You Better Not Be In A Hurry

from the we-don't-want-no-linkin'-promotion dept

If you ever read terms of use pages for websites, you know that they are mostly boilerplate. Unfortunately whatever template all these businesses seem to be sharing makes some ridiculous assertions, perhaps the worst of which is a provision against hyperlinking to the site without written permission.

Of course, to anyone who understands the internet at all, that term is clearly unenforceable. But these standardized terms show up all over the place, so I had always assumed that it was a bit of vestigial legal jargon, and that most businesses weren't even aware of it. UK blogger Malcolm Coles discovered otherwise when he obeyed the terms on the Royal Mail website and requested written permission to link to a page. This initiated a bureaucratic farce that lasted for four months with no resolution.

To get your licence posted to you:
  • You have to write a letter to find out the right web address for the application form.
  • The letter back gives you a web address
  • The web address tells you to email.
  • When you email they don't reply.
  • But they do give you the option to, er, write in again.

That's right: the post office in the UK wants you to send them a letter and an email before you link to their website — and even then they never get around to giving you permission. Oh, and the page Coles wanted to link to? It was Royal Mail's business start-up services, which he was trying to promote for free.



Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    icon
    The Infamous Joe (profile), Mar 15th, 2010 @ 10:06am

    Props.

    They are just trying to keep themselves in business by making you mail everything to them.

    Pay attention newspapers. Make all correspondences between you and your readers be only by paying for ad space to take out an ad with what you want to say. Problem solvedĀ”

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2.  
    identicon
    RD, Mar 15th, 2010 @ 10:12am

    This is what you get

    This is what you get when you put luddites in charge of anything. Those who govern should be aware of the modern world and how it works, or they shouldnt be allowed to govern those who know better.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3.  
    icon
    Reason2Bitch (profile), Mar 15th, 2010 @ 10:28am

    IMHO ditch urls. We should start using something like g{appropriate_search_word}

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4.  
    icon
    Reason2Bitch (profile), Mar 15th, 2010 @ 10:32am

    Re:

    it should have been g{appropriate_search_word}

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5.  
    icon
    Reason2Bitch (profile), Mar 15th, 2010 @ 10:34am

    Re: Re:

    oh come on!
    Preview did show the backslash before g.

    WYSI"N"WYG?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 15th, 2010 @ 11:48am

    Actually street addresses were pretty much invented by and for the benefit of the mail service so perhaps they have rights there also ..... better start emailing to the royal mail to get permission to use their address on a letter

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7.  
    identicon
    TSO, Mar 15th, 2010 @ 11:58am

    Or, for media content, tpb{appropirate_search_word}

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8.  
    icon
    Marcus Carab (profile), Mar 15th, 2010 @ 1:14pm

    Re:

    Interesting you should say that. Royal Mail recently claimed copyright on postal codes.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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