Glastonbury Links on the BBC Homepage

 by Martin Belam, 17 June 2005

If you are looking for a 5 day weather forecast for Glastonbury please follow this link - BBC Weather

Today the BBC homepage was running a promotion for the acres of coverage the television and radio networks will be devoting to Glastonbury next weekend, which included a link to the official Glastonbury site. An external link on the homepage is very rare, but it shows how far we've moved forward with our high profile external linking that, had there not been a flurry of activity surrounding the tracking codes on the link as I left the office, I wouldn't have noticed.

I was first involved in discussions about external links on the homepage last summer, when it was mooted for our coverage of the Athens Olympics. In the end the fact that the internet coverage rights were fraught with difficulty and restriction, and that the IOC themselves put up a strange legalese set of Terms and Conditions governing links to their site, made it too risky, too full of discussions with lawyers, and too much like hard work.

We revisited the idea when the BBC was involved in the DEC appeal for aid following the tsunami that struck Asia over the Christmas holiday. We carried a prominent link to the external DEC site, but even this was a slow decision to get made. Eventually we did it with an interstitial page that made it clear the user was leaving the BBC site, and that the official disclaimer - The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites - got flashed in front of the user.

Later this year we included an external link to the official Red Nose Day site. Again this was situated in the 'semi-permanent panel' that we use for features beneath the main promo, but this time we dispensed with the interstitial. It was still an extraordinary editorial decision - in the true sense of the word, it was out of the ordinary for us.

But today, there was an external link happily nestling in the main promotional space alongside four BBC links. The BBC's linking policy was criticised in the Graf Report into the BBC's Online activities, but we are gradually getting to relax it, as today shows.

BBC Homepage Glastonbury Promo

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