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You May Not Link This Web Site 648

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 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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  • Text vs Images (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Smirks ( 115113 ) on Thursday December 06, 2001 @05:15PM (#2667137) Homepage
    I'd understand if people were linking images via img src and clogging up their bandwidth, but simple text links to their site that don't waste any of their bw seems quite stupid.
  • jez (Score:4, Insightful)

    by British ( 51765 ) <> on Thursday December 06, 2001 @05:18PM (#2667171) Homepage Journal
    If they don't want people linking to their website, just block all referrers. Mind you, it might be a bit difficult to get to their website, but rules are rules!
  • by CMiYC ( 6473 ) on Thursday December 06, 2001 @05:20PM (#2667185) Homepage
    Okay... so here's what I don't get... the company's policy clearly says "KPMG is obligated to protect its reputation and trademarks and KPMG reserves the right to request removal of any link to our website."

    So what do they think? EVERYONE that they request to remove a link is going too. If they want to try to use this stupid policy to "enforce" something (what, I'm still not quite sure) then at least word it properly. In the form of "we request the right to force you to remove a link to our site." Not that either policy actually means anything.

    I reserve the right to request you to remove any silver type jewerly while visitng my website.
  • I Call Troll (Score:3, Insightful)

    by puckhead ( 241973 ) on Thursday December 06, 2001 @05:22PM (#2667199) Homepage Journal
    This is a brilliant bit of viral marketing. Never heard of them 3 days ago and now they've been on FCompany [] and Slashdot. They are number 2 on the blogdex [].
  • Opinion Piece (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Tackhead ( 54550 ) on Thursday December 06, 2001 @05:22PM (#2667205)
    Boy, is KPMG []'s theme song lame.

    If my boss gave me the choice between singing that song and sodomizing myself with a baseball bat dipped in a paste of ground glass and 5-minute epoxy, I'd ask him for a map to the nearest Home Depot.

  • by GreyyGuy ( 91753 ) on Thursday December 06, 2001 @05:25PM (#2667227)
    I read this earlier today in Wired and had to wonder if this wasn't all a means of advertising through reverse psychology. Tell some geeks they can't do something that obviously anyone can do and they will do exactly the opposite.

    And in the process this company gets a huge number of free links from just about everywhere. How many companies would not like to have their website linked everywhere?
  • Re:Old news (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Canadria ( 531239 ) <devon&europa,shacknet,nu> on Thursday December 06, 2001 @05:30PM (#2667272) Homepage
    So /. is recycling news from wired who recycles it from

    I would like to point out that 99% of /. stories are posted elsewhere. Since ./ doesn't employ reporters (at least that I know of), its really hard to go out and find news that isn't from somewhere else or that wasn't published first.
  • I wonder... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by BarefootClown ( 267581 ) on Thursday December 06, 2001 @05:30PM (#2667275) Homepage

    if they have written agreements with Google, Altavista, and the other search engines. If not, perhaps their name should be removed from the engine.

    Same with the phone books...

  • Slippery Slope (Score:3, Insightful)

    by tiltowait ( 306189 ) on Thursday December 06, 2001 @05:33PM (#2667305) Homepage Journal

    This will not be a laughing matter in five years. The 2600 DeCSS linking case ruled it is illegal to even link to illegal sites. It's only a matter of time before KPMG's attitudes become de facto.

    [begin obligatory slashdot rant] This is truly a bizarre turn of evens as this ruling raises some fundamental questions about intellectual property rights and free speech on the Internet. You would think it is legal to link to a page against the author's permission. You would also think the likes of Madonna and Julia Roberts couldn't steal registered domains containing their names. All of these have been called into doubt as we descend down this slippery slope.

    The corporate chokehold on individual freedoms needs greater vigilance. If you asked someone twenty years ago what they thought of random drug testing, stealth eavesdropping techniques, etc., you would probably get a much more appalled response than you would today. What are we in danger of not being appalled about twenty years from now?

    More sites [] on this topic, esp. 46-49 of this ruling [].

  • Re:Ugly Flash (Score:5, Insightful)

    by logicnazi ( 169418 ) <logicnazi@ g m a> on Thursday December 06, 2001 @05:35PM (#2667327) 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.
  • by conan_albrecht ( 446296 ) on Thursday December 06, 2001 @05:35PM (#2667340)
    If this were a small little startup company, I would be the first to say that it's a wonderful little advertising trick.

    But this is one of the largest accounting/consulting firms in the world. They don't need tricks like this to advertise. The negative press they're going to get off of it is much worse because it discredits them. Despite this stupid move, KPMG is actually very reputable and is great company to work for.

    Advertising and quality of company issues aside, I'm trying to determine whether which is funnier, this request about links or the silly legal statement they append to every e-mail sent from kpmg mail servers:

    The information in this email is confidential and may be legally privileged. It is intended solely for the addressee. Access to this email by anyone else is unauthorized.

    If you are not the intended recipient, any disclosure, copying, distribution or any action taken or omitted to be taken in reliance on it, is prohibited and may be unlawful. When addressed to our clients any opinions or advice contained in this email are subject to the terms and conditions expressed in the governing KPMG client engagement letter.

  • Re:Ugly Flash (Score:3, Insightful)

    by fjordboy ( 169716 ) on Thursday December 06, 2001 @05:37PM (#2667352) Homepage
    Whoa! someone got hit with the clue stick! ouch! that bit of enlightenment must have hurt. :)

    tis the truth, but who cares? It was freaking effective. :)

    I'm about to do the same thing for [] to add a little bit more traffic. :)
  • IANAL but... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by sheetsda ( 230887 ) <> on Thursday December 06, 2001 @05:43PM (#2667404)
    please be aware such links require that a formal Agreement exist between our two parties, as mandated by our organization's Web Link Policy."

    So its their policy, so what? It's not a contract, what binds anyone to abide by it? They can't do anything about it if he links to them, not to mention the free speech implications. This was just a lame attempt to shut off some bad press and ironically they're getting tons of attention for doing it. Perhaps that affect is the intention.

  • by Sierpinski ( 266120 ) on Thursday December 06, 2001 @06:07PM (#2667601)
    After seeing this story here on /., I wanted to check out their site, [] to see more about their company. I was immediately taken to this page [] which said that the browser I was using (Netscape 6.1) was incompatible, and that I could go to the Netscape or IE site to "download the latest browser". Apparently KPMG isn't aware that I HAVE already downloaded the latest browser.

    (NOTE: Others not using Netscape 6.1 might not see the error message I saw when they click on the above link. I haven't tested it, and am not sure how they have their site setup.)

    I tend to be a bit technological-oriented when I look at a company, and how well their website is done gives me a good impression of:
    • How much they care about their website
    • How web-saavy their tech people are
    • The ability of the people in charge to think critically
    • Whether or not I would want to do business with them

    It's bad enough they won't want people linking to their site. God forbid it should get them some new business! Watch out, nobody better send them a letter in the mail, or they might come and getcha!
  • by D_Gr8_BoB ( 136268 ) on Thursday December 06, 2001 @06:21PM (#2667693)
    Here's a link [] to their actual disclaimer page. By posting this, I'm violating both their "no linking without permission" policy and their "no links that bypass the homepage" policy.

    If they really cared, couldn't they just block all pages but their index for all browsers who don't send a referer header indicating they came from another page on their site? If you're going to make up stupid rules, you might as well enforce them when it's that easy to do.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 06, 2001 @06:23PM (#2667708)
    But George Ledwith, a KPMG spokesman, insisted the company wasn't trying to harass anyone, and was just "protecting its brand."

    If they want to "protect their brand", I would suggest that they start by firing Mr. Ledwith and the lawyers who sent out the threatening letters, as they are obviously sullying KPMG's reputation as a 'internet-savvy' company.
  • Re:Ugly Flash (Score:5, Insightful)

    by CaseyB ( 1105 ) on Thursday December 06, 2001 @06:35PM (#2667764)
    I don't know if the "any publicity is good publicity" rule holds for consulting firms. It's a bad thing to get a reputation as a company that Doesn't Get It, when your whole business is based on the perception that you Get It.
  • Re:Ugly Flash (Score:5, Insightful)

    by nomadic ( 141991 ) <.moc.liamg. .ta. .dlrowcidamon.> on Thursday December 06, 2001 @07:00PM (#2667918) Homepage
    KPMG is one of the Big Five accounting firms; just about anyone who would need their services already knows they exist. I think this just makes them look kind of dumb...
  • Living Standards (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 06, 2001 @07:04PM (#2667945)
    People in the dotcom era made more than their parents and at a younger age. But what was that money able to buy them relative to the times? In the not too distant past, ordinary people with ordinary jobs had the ability to raise, clothe, shelter, and feed their families in decent neighborhoods with decent schools and still have a little left over to save for their children's college and their own retirement. Life wasn't glamorous, but it was very livable.

    Today, we have a criminal concentration of wealth in the hands of the few and a government of the highest bidder, that can pass a billion dollar bailout of the airlines in a heartbeat while it takes untold weeks to begin debate on economic stimulus for the heart of this nation, the regular, tax-paying working person. We have crippling consumer debt indenturing a generation of people and their children to the wealthy because the jobs available, both blue and increasing 'white' collar, pay so poorly that they barely cover the basic necessities. We used to build fine and beautiful public schools of brick and brass and now all we can afford are claptrap trailers and ancient textbooks. War profiteering... It would be very easy to go on and on...
  • by CitznFish ( 222446 ) on Thursday December 06, 2001 @07:05PM (#2667955) Homepage Journal
    Did anyone actually read the entire article? I have pasted the most important paragraph below: [i]The policy he refers to -- posted on the company's website -- states, "KPMG is obligated to protect its reputation and trademarks and KPMG reserves the right to request removal of any link to our website." [/i] The key word is [b]request[/b]. They are not demanding the links be removed without the agreement signed. A homeless man can request a dollar from me. I can say 'No'. So really, what's all the hub-bub about?
  • KPMG Policy (Score:2, Insightful)

    by anonymous_wombat ( 532191 ) on Thursday December 06, 2001 @07:42PM (#2668159)
    Interestingly, according to the disclaimer on their website, you do not require permission to link to their site. You may not:
    • Use their logo
    • Use frames
    • disguise the real address in the url
    They do claim that, "KPMG reserves the right to request removal of any link to our website" but do not claim that you are required to honor their request. So, it appears that they have not read their own policy statement.
  • by clare-ents ( 153285 ) on Friday December 07, 2001 @07:29AM (#2670042) Homepage
    I suspect they've learnt that the probability of getting a decent person from the pool of people with good GPA and college is much higher than the pool of people without a good GPA or college.

    This also probably ensures that all the people who work for them are fairly smart and well educated which is exactly the impression they wish to put over.

    As a Cambridge University graduate [UK] I've discovered that whilst there are many people who are smart who didn't go to university, the density of smart people is much higher at a good university and consequently is one of the first places I'd look if I wanted to employ smart people.

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