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It's funny.  Laugh.

You May Not Link This Web Site 648

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the you-can't-make-this-stuff-up dept.
Ganon34 sent us a funny story about a company requiring permission to link their website. The company in question is KPMG, a financial and legal advisory company, and the article itself is an entertaining read about the aftermath of them sending demands that someone remove a link to their public web site. It's a pretty funny piece -- especially the part about KPMG's theme song. Also references the old ticketmaster vs ticet.com case that held up deep linking. It's all funny 'cuz its true. Their page could also use some testing since it doesn't render in my browser.
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You May Not Link This Web Site

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  • Freedom of the Press (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Renraku (518261) on Thursday December 06, 2001 @04:19PM (#2667173) Homepage
    Wouldn't this be like hindering freedom of the press or something? That's like saying, "If you use our name in daily conversation, we'll sue you." Its almost as bad as companies trying to sue people because they give their products a bad review.
  • Re:Works in mine (Score:2, Interesting)

    by d-e-w (173678) on Thursday December 06, 2001 @04:26PM (#2667236)
    *shrug* I've tried every browser under the (Windows) sun on their site over the past couple of months, and even with the "required" plugins, still can't get the bedamned thing to load properly. Since they're in our industry, they are on my boss's to-watch list--and every time I send her a report it says "broken site." Can't get past the intro screen, which usually causes my computer to yak.

    Once upon a time, the site did work ...
  • by fjordboy (169716) on Thursday December 06, 2001 @04:32PM (#2667292) Homepage
    even google breaks the rules! google's [google.com] simple search brings up many different links to kpmg [kpmg.com]
  • by Soko (17987) on Thursday December 06, 2001 @04:32PM (#2667294) Homepage
    Errr... you seem to have hit upon an interesting conumdrum - is this like limiting freedom of the press or limiting free speech? I'm not sure if the two are actually separate or inexorably linked, but there is a difference.

    When you publish a web page, should you be able to say that you are a member of the "Press" and afforded the same privileges, or do you get just plain old free speech rights (such as they are)?

    Probrably not an earth shaking issue, but it may make any legal arguments interesting...

    Soko
  • by Slur (61510) on Thursday December 06, 2001 @04:40PM (#2667379) Homepage Journal
    I have a friend who used to work for the same company as myself. He had links to their web-site and to the sites of clients for whom he had done stellar design work as part of his online resume. The company demanded that he remove these links.

    Why? Ostensibly because "too many hits are coming from your page, buddy!" But perhaps it's really because his personal page advocates veganism, or perhaps because he's a photographer who had done some same-sex weddings. Who knows?

    The point is, telling people not to link to your site is just plain stupid and unreasonable, and frankly borders on unethical. May they drown in their stupid-karma!
  • by Cy Guy (56083) on Thursday December 06, 2001 @04:44PM (#2667427) Homepage Journal
    As did the WIRED story [wired.com].

    My question is search engines. Does KPMG expect every search engine to "execute an agreement" in order to include: [kpmg.com] results in their database and subsequently provide the results to their users?

    It seems that if, [kpmg.com] is actually intent on enforcing this policy, then they should require a userid and password to access every page, and then only provide the passwords to websites that have "executed" agreements. Personally, it looks to me like () [kpmg.com] is doing a good job of executing themeselves.

    BTW, if you would like to know more about , [kpmg.com] take a look at the excellent front page story the Washington Post did yesterday on How the Big 5 CPA Firms let their clients get away with multi-million dollar mistatements on their financial data [washingtonpost.com] resulting in masses losses for investors in those companies including many people whose pensions have been squandered. Here is what they have to say about KPMG:
    Rite Aid [amazon.com] shareholders alleged that consulting fees figured in KPMG's relationship with the drugstore chain, according to their class-action lawsuit against the accounting firm.

    Rite Aid [amazon.com] acknowledged last year that it had overstated earnings by more than $1 billion over two years. Audit fees were less than 20 percent of what Rite Aid [amazon.com] paid KPMG over a 2 1/2-year period in the late 1990s, the suit alleged.

    At one point, the suit alleged, Rite Aid's then-chairman, Martin L. Grass, awarded KPMG consulting engagements worth more than $1.5 million "as a sweetener and to ensure the accounting firm's continued cooperation."

    An attorney for Grass said the allegations were "wrong" and "grossly unfair." KPMG was given a contract to address weaknesses in Rite Aid's [amazon.com] inventory-tracking system, not to ensure cooperation, lawyer Andrew Weissman said.

    KPMG said that it was "victimized by company management" and that the consulting it did for Rite Aid [amazon.com] was "insignificant to the overall professional relationship."
  • by Restil (31903) on Thursday December 06, 2001 @04:56PM (#2667516) Homepage
    Don't want people linking to your site? Fine. Then don't let them. When the webserver gets an HTTP GET request, check the referrer address. If its not coming from a "proper" link, then simply refuse to serve the page. No need to fuss about improper links. They simply won't work. And you'll be MORE than capable of keeping all those potential customers OFF your website. Who really wants customers anyways? All they do is provide you with more work to do. :)

    -Restil
  • KPMG theme (Score:3, Interesting)

    by kilgore_47 (262118) <kilgore_47@ya h o o . c om> on Thursday December 06, 2001 @04:59PM (#2667541) Homepage Journal
    As the articles points out, KPMG has only gotten themselves into this embarrassing situation because they were unhappy about people making fun of another embarrassing situation: The KPMG Theme Song! It explains their power, strength, and global strategy (which must include really bad music).

    (heres the akamai link to the mp3 [akamai.net])
  • Re:Suprise, suprise (Score:2, Interesting)

    by nolife (233813) on Thursday December 06, 2001 @05:22PM (#2667700) Homepage Journal
    I am sure they have studies that prove a higher GPA = better candidate, I would agree for the most part but its probably a marketing ploy. Maybe this is something they use as a tool to fool their non-technical based customers, "We only higher with a GPA of x.xx", like "We only higher A+, MCSE, CNE, etc.. qualified technicians". Doesnt matter that they have worked at Joe's Pizza Shack for the past 10 years and just finished the exam yesterday. It attempts to clear the FUD of highering just anybody.

    Theory to practice applies to more then IT.
    I went through the Navy Nuclear Power training pipeline a few years ago. It is three seperate schools, each about 7 months long. The first one is electronics (50% failure rate), second is nuclear power theory (25% failure rate) and last is an actual operating power plant (less then 10% failure rate). In this pipeline with me were two very bright guys that practically walked through the first two schools, while I busted my ass 90+ hours a week just to get by ("2.5 to stay alive" was the quote I believe). Both of these guys bombed out at the end of the operational part of the training. Turned out they had no ability to apply what they had learned and could not actually control a nuclear power plant.
  • Re:Ugly Flash (Score:3, Interesting)

    by SanLouBlues (245548) on Thursday December 06, 2001 @05:22PM (#2667702) Journal
    It's quite possible that they were the submittors, the submittor [slashdot.org] doesn't even exist on slashdot.
  • Slashdot Theme Song! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by AwwShazbot (541649) on Thursday December 06, 2001 @05:39PM (#2667778)
    Hey, whats the Slashdot theme song?
  • by thebabelfish (213456) on Thursday December 06, 2001 @05:46PM (#2667821) Homepage

    ...there are 2,800 sites [google.com] that link to www.kpmg.com [kpmg.com].

    Jeez. That's a lot of contracts...

  • Javascript links (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 06, 2001 @05:49PM (#2667847)
    I'd like to know what legal ground you would stand on if you claimed you didn't have a javascript-capable browser, or had disabled scripting (this isn't a rare thing - 12% of users according to thecounter [thecounter.com]), and therefore could not read their disclaimer page. A lot of websites use scripted popups to open such legal things (and more important ones too than this garbage).
  • by Lawmune (260527) on Thursday December 06, 2001 @05:53PM (#2667879) Homepage
    Does this issue pertain to all the websites out there that are "not link free". I did a google search for "not link free", and came up with 465 hits [google.com]. Maybe it's just my imagination, but a large number of those seem to be Japanese sites. Any idea why?
  • by hawk (1151) <hawk@eyry.org> on Thursday December 06, 2001 @06:04PM (#2667946) Journal
    . . . that slashdot's been trolled . . .


    THink about it. It you want massive hits to your website, can you think of any better way than to get slashdot to say you forbid links--with the inevitable "defiant" link? . . .


    hawk

  • Seen it before (Score:2, Interesting)

    by SLi (132609) on Thursday December 06, 2001 @06:45PM (#2668173)
    In a somewhat comical incident, the same thing happened in Finland when the police forces [poliisi.fi] sent a cease-and-desist letter to an association for linking to their main page (and with probably as much foundation in law as in this case).
  • by kindbud (90044) on Thursday December 06, 2001 @07:37PM (#2668403) Homepage

    lynx -useragent='Mozilla/4.0 (lynx; faked; hahahaha)' http://www.kpmg.com/


    After accepting or rejecting the five cookies they offer (one for the initial connection, one for having seen the flash, one for a session id, and some others for who knows what), the page appears, and looks like it was written especially for Lynx! All the images have alt tags, the text formats nicely, it's easy to read..

    So now what was all that .asp redirection/browser-detection/eat-my-cookie BS for in the first place? When it comes down to it, they have a perfectly useable and readable site if they'd just dump all the fancy crap (which Lynx does for you quite nicely).
  • by Tony Shepps (333) on Thursday December 06, 2001 @08:25PM (#2668587) Homepage
    If you're an IE user and want to see how other browsers manage kpmg.com:

    How kpmg.com renders in Mozilla [cellar.org]

  • Re:Suprise, suprise (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 06, 2001 @08:28PM (#2668595)
    All of the major consulting companies, Bain, McKinsey, PWC, et al, they won't even interview you if your SAT scores, GPA, and College aren't "top notch."

    Bullshit. I work for one of the companies mentioned above and both my GPA and college were decidely NOT top notch. :) My SATs were decent, but still, not elite scores there either. Oh! You mean what they require to interview a new college grad!? Maybe so, I don't know -- I had ~12 years of experience before interviewing for the job. They never even asked about SAT, college, GPA.
  • Re:Ugly Flash (Score:2, Interesting)

    by ez76 (322080) <[slashdot] [at] [e76.us]> on Thursday December 06, 2001 @08:45PM (#2668651) Homepage
    Jesus...KPMG has really won haven't they. With one stupid letter they managed to get more free advertising and even active links than X10 has purchased during its entire lifetime. Given the way modern search enginges work this probably boosts it up to the top of the heap in search results as well.
    I know what you mean. I, for one, am chomping at the bit to patronize KPMG's business financial consulting services, all as a result of this thread.

    Now all I need is a business and finances.
  • by Skapare (16644) on Thursday December 06, 2001 @08:46PM (#2668654) Homepage

    If KPMG [kpmg.com] can enforce their policy [kpmg.com] easily enough by simply not delivering content when the HTTP request comes in asking for their site [kpmg.com]. They [kpmg.com] say they are "e-business savvy", so they [kpmg.com] should have no trouble setting this up in just a few minutes.

    The web is about linking. That's why they call it "The Web". If KPMG [kpmg.com] doesn't want to join in, then they [kpmg.com] should just stay out. And there are many ways to do that, including still having a site [kpmg.com] served by HTTP to send content to whoever types their name [kpmg.com] in manually, or links [kpmg.com] from sites they [kpmg.com] approve [kpmg.com] of. They [kpmg.com] should just do it and prove their competence in running their site [kpmg.com] their way [kpmg.com].

    But why the hell would I want to link to their site [kpmg.com] anyway. It sucks! The whole damn thing is a morass of lame Javascript. They [kpmg.com] can't even put plain HTML in and have to have Javascript generate it. It's clear to me that they [kpmg.com] don't know how to do things on the server side.

  • by frantzdb (22281) on Thursday December 06, 2001 @09:26PM (#2668774) Homepage
    According to KPMG's disclaimer page [kpmg.com]:
    Third Party Links are provided as a convenience to our users. KPMG does not control and is not responsible for any of these sites or their content. KPMG is obligated to protect its reputation and trademarks and KPMG reserves the right to
    request [emphasis mine] removal of any link to our website.

    Explicit permission is required to use the KPMG logo. To request this written approval, contact the Webmaster or send an e-mail under "Contact Us." The following web link activities are explicitly prohibited by KPMG and may present trademark and copyright infringement issues:

    • Links that involve unauthorized use of our logo
    • Framing, inline links or metatags
    • Hyperlinks or a form of link that disguises the URL and bypass the homepage
    It sounds like harassing this guy with lawyers is beyond what they say they'll do.

    Silly company.

    --Ben

  • by jvance (416133) <slashdot.t.jvance@spamgourmet.com> on Friday December 07, 2001 @02:39AM (#2669618)
    Suppose I send a plain ol' text message, in which I mention http://www.kpmg.com in plain text, but the recipient's email client renders the url as a link. Who needs to get a link agreement - me, the recipient, or the company that wrote the email client?

Mathemeticians stand on each other's shoulders while computer scientists stand on each other's toes. -- Richard Hamming

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