Cyber Law: Differentiating Hyper Linking and Deep Linking
In computing, A Hyperlink connects two different documents as well as various sections or categories in same document. It is a unidirectional link in an electronic document that is moving or operational in a single direction. A text enhanced with hyperlinks is called a hypertext. User can use and follow by clicking and tapping. Hypertext system is a software used for viewing and creating a hypertext. A User tapping or following the hyperlinks is said to browse the hypertext. Source Document is the document containing hyperlinks. Hyperlinks are generally used to navigate the page and websites. It can point to webpages, websites, files, addresses and other location on same website or webpage. In some cases, hyperlink can be bidirectional that is both ends act as anchors and as targets. The World Wide Web (www.) hyperlinks cause the target document to replace the document being displayed, but some can cause the target document to open in a new window. Transclusion can be another possibility in which the link target is a document fragment that replaces the link anchor within the source document. A program that traverses the hypertext, following each hyperlink and collecting all the retrieved documents is known as a Web spider or crawler. The hyperlinks are executed using the HTML mark-up language to link webpages and other sources together. Hyperlinks are the base foundation of networked structure which enables the user to jump between different websites. There are various types of links such as inline, fat and anchor links. An inline links shows remote content without embedding the content. An anchor hyperlink is bound to a portion of document. A fat link leads to multiple endpoints or targets and it is also known as “multi-tailed link”.
Deep linking is a type of hyperlink that links to a specific searchable or indexed, piece of content on a website, rather than the website’s home page. The URL holds and carries all information needed to point to a particular item. In simple terms, it sends the user directly to an app instead of a website or a store which saves user’s time and energy for locating a particular page and most importantly improving the user experience. It produces a smooth user journey that reduces churn and increases the likelihood of an install. Also, it provides a better user experience by moving users onto your app in a single click. It creates an opportunity for easier incentivization. It’s easy to persuade people to try a new experience when an offer is sent to them through a retargeting campaign. It can significantly increase conversion rate and retention rate in an app. Deep linking campaigns can be tracked and monitored, and can provide extra data points on how the campaign performs.
Comparison Between Hyper-Linking and Deep-Linking:
Hyperlinks does not make the user or cyber surfer to type in the complete address of the website instead the user merely clicks on a highlighted string of text or on the image visible on the webpage that is currently viewed by the user. Therefore, hyperlinks are built and incorporated into webpages. When a user clicks the hyperlink, it is directly transferred to the home page of the website. The ECTA (Electronic Communication and Transports Act 25 of 2002) defines hyperlinks as “a reference from same point on one data message directing a browser or other technology or functionality to another data message or point therein to another place in the same data message”.
According to Brad Bolin,” Deep-link is a connection between the content of two different files. A link may lead to another file in the same website or to file on different computer located elsewhere on the Internet”. Deep- linking occurs when a website contains a links to another link. Deep linking differs from hyperlink, hyperlink- the user is transferred to another homepage, whereas in deep-link, the user is transferred to one of the internal pages of another or other websites. Therefore, the user surpasses the homepage for one of the internal webpages that are usually accessible from the homepage, otherwise by clicking on headings or headlines. Deep-links are used for footnotes, bibliography, etc.
Deep-linking differs from two aspects:
First point is that when user clicks, the screen display or page either changes completely and a new webpage is displayed in its stead or the user browser may create a new page or window in which the destination webpage is displayed by itself.
Secondly, the destination web address is correctly displayed by the user’s browser.
Therefore, Hyperlinks is a text within a file that a user can access to another document or image. It is found nearly in all webpages allowing the users to click their way from page to page. It is like a word that points to another location. They are the foundation and backbone of webpages. For example,” Computer Desire home page” is a hyperlink to main page of Computer Desire.
Whereas, Deep-link is a hypertext link to a page on a website other than homepage. It starts and ends with URI and URL. For example, computer desire.com/path/page rather than computer desire.com.
 https://heinonline.org/HOL/LandingPage?handle=hein.journals/jutbusil11&div=21&id=&page=/11 Juta’s Bus. L. 73 (2003) Hyperlinking and Deep-Linking/ Gerrie Ebersohn
Author Details: S. Aparna (Sastra University)