BusinessWeek apparently doesn't need anyone to help it boost its Web traffic.
According to a blog post on Gawker, BusinessWeek not only asks people not to link to its site, it specifically directs them to its user agreement that prohibits the practice of "deep linking."
Gawker points to the example of SmugMug CEO Don MacAskill, who writes in his blog that after being interviewed for a feature story in BusinessWeek, he was expressly told not to link to the story. "Yes, that's right, an ad-driven publication doesn't want us to drive traffic to them," he says in his blog. In addition, he was urged to review the company's user agreement.
According to the user agreement on BusinessWeek's Web site, a user may not:
"use or attempt to use any 'deep-link,' 'scraper,' 'robot,' 'bot,' 'spider,' 'data mining,' 'computer code' or any other automated device, program, tool, algorithm, process or methodology or manual process having similar processes or functionality, to access, acquire, copy, or monitor any portion of BW.com, any data or content found on or accessed through BW.com, or any other BW.com information without prior express written consent of BW."
While some online publications have a policy on deep linking, it's pretty unusual to enforce it. Most sites obviously consider it a boon for page views and look on it favorably, as long as the content is credited to the correct source.
MacAskill speculates that BusinessWeek's stance is the result of corporate red tape, and not something that would be embraced by its reporters and editors. "To spend all of this time and energy on their articles, only to have the crazy business people make it impossible for people to read their work, must be incredibly trying," he says in his blog.