You need a paper licence to link to the Royal Mail website
I can think of a way to save the Royal Mail some money - abolish their scheme for controlling who links to them, which involves being posted a paper licence to do so, a licence that it's impossible to obtain ...
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.
(The emphasis in the quotes below is mine).
Step 1: please write in
I wanted to link to the Royal Mail website last year. But as I revealed last year, their terms and conditions said not to link to them without permission:
You may not create a link to any page of this website without Royal Mail's prior written consent.
so I wrote to them last May, saying:
I am setting up a website at www.settingupyourbusiness.co.uk. I would like to provide a link on my site to this page: http://www.royalmail.com/portal/rm/content1?catId=84200739&mediaId=84200746.... Please, therefore, could you send me written confirmation that this is OK. Does this give me permission to link to any of your pages, or just the specific one I’ve mentioned here?
Step 2: they write back
They wrote back in, er, July:
I am following up on the letter you wrote regarding the potential to link to Royal Mail on your website.
We have a process which allows us to grant permission and grant you with a licence agreement to link to the site. This takes the form of an online request form, which I hope you don't mind filling out. The info on this form allows us to populate the licence agreement. The form can be found at www.royalmail.com/ip.
Once you have filled out the form, I will get the licence in the post to you. Please note that we only allow links to certain pages as we tend to move the other pages around. Details of this can be found when going to the online form - if you look for linking to our website.
They want to post me a paper licence to link to them! All because they can't be bothered to put some redirects in place on their site.
Step 3: Please email
I'm a bit confused - I was told I needed written permission. So I wrote.
Now they've told me to fill out an online form. But when I go to the URL in question, it says I have to email. So I emailed in August:
Hi, I wrote to you recently about permission (as required by your T&Cs) to link to this page: http://www.royalmail.com/portal/rm/content1?catId=84200739&mediaId=84200746 from my website here www.settingupyourbusiness.co.uk
Your letter back advised me to visit this page to get a licence to do so: www.royalmail.com/ip
Having been to that page, it says to email you to get your written agreement to link to any pages other than those shown in a list of 7 listed: "Any other type of hyperlink to our site requires written agreement from Royal Mail. Please contact us for further information at firstname.lastname@example.org"
As the page I want to link to isn't one of those 7, could you therefore let me have written permission to link to it, or confirm that I can't?
Step 4: A holding response
They emailed back in September:
I will just check with the digital team - who are out of the office today -and get back to you tomorrow with a response.
Hope that is OK
Step 5: Please don't link
They never actually replied. They've moved their terms and conditions around now. And I lost heart slightly and gave up on my attempt to link.
But they still have that /ip page, which says:
We're happy for you to link to our home page or other selected pages providing you comply with the Hyperlinking Terms and Conditions below. Although you do not need Royal Mail's specific approval for linking to these pages, once the link is on your page it signifies you do agree with our T&Cs.
When linking to the pages listed below, please use the following link names and respective URLs.
Then there are 7 allowed URLs, followed by:
We constantly change and update sections of our site, and want to ensure that you and your customers continue to get the latest information and services you need. Therefore, please don’t provide links to pages on our website other than those listed above...
Any other type of hyperlink to our site requires written agreement from Royal Mail. Please contact us for further information at email@example.com.
So if you want to know why the Post Office is losing money, there we have it. They have an entirely circular process designed to stop you linking to their pages.