Linking and Framing

What is linking and framing?

Links are established when the web page or blog site owner  “links” a particular web address to his or her page. This can be done by programming a certain word to be hyperlinked to that particular web address. For example, a blog that is focused on selling computers can hyperlink the name and model of a computer to a website reviewing the computer that the web page is promoting.

Framing, on the other hand, is a more visual kind of linking where an actual shot of the webpage is displayed as a picture on a particular web page or blog. Framing can be done using the Print Screen option, copying what the user sees of another website.

What are the problems with linking and framing?

Linking and framing do only one thing— connect the particular URL or web page to the web page that is holding its picture or link. This kind of interconnectivity would only be fine for people who are trying to market and promote their products and services online. The simplicity of the operation has made it a widespread practice and one that has its attendant problems for website owners.  For one, the fact that everybody thinks that people can actually link and frame web pages at their will is providing web page owners particular problems to solve. There have been times where people will link and frame legitimate web pages to swindle and defraud people. For example, people may send emails framed with links to banking websites that ask for people’s banking details. In some cases, linking and framing also damages the image of the web pages that are being linked and framed because one website/company may not wish to be associated with another. If, for example, a link to a high quality watch manufacturer’s website featured on a shoddy, badly maintained website about gambling, the reputation of that watchmaker may be damaged by association. Sometimes, web readers may even be led to believe that a particular web page or official organization is connected to the website that has linked or framed it.

What should one do before linking or framing a site?

The general rule of thumb is to ask the facilitator of the web page for permission. This could be done by providing a formal letter of request to the contact details of the website concerned. Although emailing its webmaster would do, calling its office and inquiring about the steps you should take is still recommended. It may be wise to get permission set down in writing or put into a legally recognizable contract.

What is a linking agreement?

The person requesting to link the site or its web owner can provide a formal linking agreement that should be signed by both parties. The linking agreement is a written document that stipulates the terms of linking and framing for both parties involved. Depending on the rules of the website in the case, this kind of agreement may impose certain fees to be paid by the person requesting the link. In most cases, the agreement also includes the duration that the other party can use the link for.

What if asking for permission is very impractical?

Since the Internet has no boundaries, it might be too difficult or time consuming to seek for permission to link. However, these steps are advisable:

  • Making the goal of linking clear would provide respect to the owner or organization of the web page. This is applicable to web pages that link particular websites to provide their readers additional resources. As such, the line ‘For more information, see the website of ___’ would be most appropriate. This way, the intention behind linking or framing the web page is clearly stated.

  • Linking to the homepage is also considered more appropriate than linking particular parts of the websites. Although there are websites that are not opposed to this, it still pays to be safe. Homepages are better equipped with branding and advertising, so owners will often prefer it that any potential viewers are exposed to these pages.

  • Displaying the brand logo or brand name as the target link in one’s own website without permission could call for infringement cases, but in other cases, the brand owner may see it as a good form of promotion. In this regard, it is best to seek the written approval of the brand owner

  • A notice of removal or refusal from the web page owner being linked is more than enough reason to remove and delete the link in one’s site. In this area, the law is not clear, so playing it safe is often the best course of action.