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Don’t link to us: part two

March 12, 2009 14 Comments

So having uncovered all those newspapers ordering you not to link to them, who else is there ...? (Update Fri 13th: Apple added).

It would seem websites with terms and conditions forbidding you linking to them are common - including the Association of Online Publishers (see below). What with them and all the sites that don't link out fairly, it's a surprise there is any 'net' in the internet ...

Royal Mail: written consent keeps them in business?

Royal mail: write us a letter to link to us on the web.

Royal mail: write us a letter to link to us on the web.

"You may not create a link to any page of this website without Royal Mail's prior written consent."

Association of Online Publishers: Sure the name is right?!?

"You are not entitled to ... link ... or deep link [the site] in any other Website without the express written permission of AOP."

Apple: Et tu? You can't even bookmark ...

"BY USING THE SITE, YOU AGREE TO THESE TERMS OF USE; IF YOU DO NOT AGREE, DO NOT USE THE SITE. You may not use any “deep-link” or other automatic device, program ... or methodology ... to access ... or monitor any portion of the Site or any Content". No links. And no bookmarks by the sound of it ...

Channel home page only

"links to the Site must be direct to the or homepage"

Manchester united: Red card to links

"You agree not to ... establish a link to this website from any other website, intranet or extranet site without the Club's prior written consent" (Not really a UK club either, says Google) no links

UK's no 1 property search: "You must not include links to this Site in any other website without our prior written consent."

BBC Active: no links

"Users are not entitled to ...  deep-link ... without  express permission"

Money Saving Expert: keep away

"Any site or service that links to our site ... may link only to our homepage unless we have given you our prior written consent"

EDF Energy: Out, out damned link

"You are not entitled to ...  deep-link [this website] on any other website without the express written permission of EDF Energy."

Vodafone: keep away

"You  ... are not allowed to ... include or create links (including deep-links) to or from the Content and/or the Service"

Ticketweb: no links

"You also agree not to deep-link to the Site for any purpose, unless specifically authorised by TicketWeb to do so."

MTV: 'fraid not

"The information and materials must not be used for any other purpose without our express written permission. For example, you are not allowed ... to deep-link ... without our prior written consent. "

Talk Talk: Uh huh

"TalkTalk gives no authority (whether implied or express) to deep link to ... any of the content ... without the express agreement of TalkTalk." Nope

"you must not create a link to any part of our website other than the home pages at and unless you have obtained prior written permission from the editor of Which? Online" (that used to me by the way ... I hope I didn't sign these off!)

Barclays Premier League: Links are yellow carded

"You may provide links to the Website provided they go to the home page only."

I found those with a couple of google searches. Andy Mabbett found a good list here. Anyone got any more?!?

You might also like
  1. 15 more sites that forbid you from linking to them
  2. Newspaper sites: don’t read or link to us …
  3. 10 more sites that stupidly try to ban you from linking to them
  4. You need a paper licence to link to the Royal Mail website
  5. 10 sites that say it’s OK to print their pages – but not photocopy them

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  • Hi Malcolm,
    I can understand that newspapers don't want people to grab their content and publish it elsewhere on the web. But why don't they like (deep) links to their sites? I don't get it... do you?!

  • Kristine says:

    Great work. I must admit I failed to see it was you an not Paul who'd written the first post on this over at Onlinejournalismblog, and error which sneaked into my blog post about the issue but has now been amended. Good to see this being put on the agenda.

  • [...] it seems newspapers aren’t alone - there are more sites with similar conditions such as these large companies and these public sector [...]

  • Peter Nichol says:

    Wow, I had no idea that companies have it in their Terms and Conditions not to link to them.

    I'd of thought that any link gets the company more visibility and so in theory has the potential of giving them more traffic - It's not like they're linking to us and giving away their link juice.

    Deep site links I understand as it's quite often that a website may remove a page, and so then the old links are brining up a 404 error and resulting in the website having broken links.

  • Dantiumpro says:

    The "written consent" bit is actually in the Business Link Website Terms and Conditions template, so plenty of small businesses may have this on their site by default.
    Someone queried it on, I decided to keep it, and went on to explain why in a blog post.
    All the Share / Save buttons etc. serve as "written consent" to link and, although it doesn't look too friendly, it's a legal deterent to hot-linkers or illegal sites that might want to associate themselves with your name and your content.
    I love sharing but it's still in the T&Cs like a firewall - locked down by default, opened up to trusted applications. Just the world we live in, although there's plenty of room for "Share this" buttons. I don't think the companies in your post are doing it to be menacing - ok, I can't say for sure, but I know I'm not!
    Glad you posted though, gave me extra pause for thought and let me know I'm not alone - even Which? Online has it! Keep up the good work.

  • Is this even legally enforceable? Surely fair usage policies allow such practices?

    This is entirely forgetting the fact that links to their site, no matter what pages) is a good thing and improves their ranking in search engines.

    It just sounds like the sites are run by people who are still living in the 90's, where site admins liked to force people through a landing page, often containing some stupid intro animation/graphic or advert.

    I'm fairly sure that plenty of people link to these sites, and aren't even aware of the draconian terms and conditions, and I've not heard of anyone getting into trouble over it (that's the sort of thing that would spread fairly quickly online!)

  • [...] on, more than a year after I revealed that most newspapers banned deep links, as did brands like Apple, Royal Mail, Channel 4 and, er, the Association of Online Publishers (which  culminated in the hilarity of my attempts to get the Royal Mail to post me the paper [...]

  • [...] 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 [...]

  • Marc Crouch says:


    I just want to pick up on the deeplinking issue, which you don't seem to fully understand. "Deep linking" basically means linking directly to content (such as images) hosted on the parent site and then including the content directly on your own site; for example, using an image tag to display an image on your page but the src (location) of the image is on another site. There is a very good reason for not allowing this, as it eats up your bandwidth meaning that you end up paying for other people to use your own content on their site. It also opens doors to all kinds of copyright issues so this is a justifiable demand.

    The sites that prevent any kind of external link to your homepage though... that's simply not the spirit of the internet (and furthermore is counterproductive from an SEO point of view).

  • Forbidding deep-linking is perfectly understandable, as it is essentially stealing bandwidth. However, a large proportion of the examples in the original post don't make the distinction and want to prevent any sort of linking without permission.

    My question about whether this was legally enforceable was more about whether it's actually legal to prevent links to the site (I'm not talking about deep links here) Surely freedom of speech allows links to be made to another site? This aside from a strong suspicion I have that the media-based websites in the list would probably have no hesitation linking to other sites and sources of information.

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