Taunting Those Who Say Don't Link To Us

from the taunting-is-good-for-the-soul dept

Ah, those silly lawyers. First put together a bunch of lawyers who don’t understand the web, and you’re sure to get policies on websites that forbid linking to them. We’ve spoken about this before. But, along comes a lawyer who understands this is stupid, and he sets up a site specifically to link to sites that forbid it, just to show how stupid anti-linking policies are. Go directly to dontlink.com and see for yourself who you’re not allowed to link to (and click on the links a few times).

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Comments on “Taunting Those Who Say Don't Link To Us”

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Phibian (user link) says:

Deep Linking as it relates to spam

I’ve been thinking a great deal lately about the “rights” of spammers to send me unsolicited email (among other unsolicited correspondance), and it struck me when reading this article that there are some disturbing parallels.

One opinion often expressed on this site is “If they [people] don’t want people linking to them they should get off the web”. I agree with this – In fact, I’d say that it is not reasonable to expect information published to the web to be private (and thus controllable) unless the information is protected in some tangible manner.

Ie, if the site is password protected, but I can deeplink to information behind the password (and thus bypass it), while the security is flawed etc etc, it would be morally wrong (imo) to deep link to that info, even though it is technically possible.

I’ve always taken the position that anyone should be able to link to anyone – regardless of what the site policy is.

Yet. I’ve been annoyed lately by our volume of spam (who hasn’t) – not that it is landing in my inbox (our spam filtering is excellent) – but we do keep track of our volume (via graphs etc ) and I have a list of repeat/identifiable offenders + contact information that is automatically gathered for me.

We’ve lately been experimenting with various ways of getting the repeat offenders to quit their useless bombardment. Among the most effective (albeit not orginal) strategies has been taking the position that our Internet connection and servers etc are valuable resources (which they are), and that in order to be “allowed” to send us unsolicited email (ie email of a promotional nature from a sender with whom we have no prior business relationship), senders must pay a per message fee.

In a nutshell, I’m saying that people do not have the “right” to use my resources to send me junk email. So now I’m wondering if it’s a bit inconsistent to say that I can use someone else’s resources (linking) without permission, for any purpose – but others can’t use my resources without permission to send me junk mail.

Help me out. What are the differences between the two cases? Are there differences? Do you agree/disagree with my position that I should have the “right” to choose whether I receive certain email or not?

Mike (profile) says:

Re: Deep Linking as it relates to spam

Interesting ideas.

Here’s a quick stab at it, though, I’ll probably think about it some more, and may or may not follow up with more thoughts (depending on where my thinking leads me).

There are a few differences, that I can think of.

The big difference that I see, is that spam mail is a direct intrusion on a person’s time. As such, that person has the right to not be bothered by the spam. In the linking situation, it’s not an intrusion on anyone’s time. In fact, it’s not even an intrusion on the server’s time (until someone clicks through). It’s just a pointer saying “hey, look what’s there”. A spam is a proactive message directed specifically at *you* and thus *you* should have the right to tell the spammer to go away.

The second difference is a webpage that is published to the web and not protected, is put up there with the knowledge that it is a public document, meant to be shared. An email address is private, and only shared at your decision. It’s more of a trust system, where you should (in theory) only reveal the address to people you trust. The problem is that spammers blatantly ran over any early trust on the internet and have made it impossible to keep most email addresses spam free.

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