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RevLink -- Reverse Hypertext Link


If you are the author of a web page, you can choose to add links from your page to other pages -- including pages you didn't write. But what if you would like to provide a link from a page you didn't write to yours? RevLink is a method of providing this kind of reverse link.

How a RevLink works

A conventional, forward web link is very simple: a page contains the link, which your browser knows about; clicking on the link takes you to another page.

A reverse link can't work that way, though, since you can't add a link to a page you don't own. So, it's a little more complicated: a RevLink involves your browser, the from page (which you didn't write), your page (the to page), and a search engine. Here's how it works:

1. In your (to) page, you insert a RevLink META tag, pointing to the from page, like this:

<META revlink="http://www.TheirSite/TheirPage.html">

2. You register your page with search engines that provide RevLink support.

3. When a RevLink-savvy browser finishes loading a page, it makes a query to the search engine, asking whether it knows about any RevLink META tags pointing to that page. The search engine responds with a list (containing your to page and any other RevLinks), which the browser presents. From that point, a RevLink works just like a regular link: you click on it, you go somewhere else.

Uses of RevLinks

Just like a conventional, forward link, a RevLink has many possible uses. For example:

RevLink does not exist

As of this writing, 1998jun24, RevLink does not exist. Stephen Malinowski thought up RevLink on 1998jun22. Probably a lot of other people have thought of it, too. If you want RevLink to exist, tell people about it. It'd be simple to implement (it might even be possible to implement it completely in a browser, and not require any new behavior from search engines), and it would be fun and useful. Or maybe you don't think so? Let me know