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Hiding a link

in large easily-copied data table

     
9:06 pm on Apr 13, 2005 (gmt 0)

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I am working on a website that displays a large amount of statistical information in tables, page after page of tables, which are of interest to a small group of web users. The data itself is in the public domain, but I have done a lot of work arranging it into nicely CSS-formatted, easy-to-read tables.

Now that they are on the web, it would be an easy thing for a competitor to copy and paste the <table> . . . </table> source code and put it on their own website.

So I am thinking I would like to embed a few links to my website's homepage deep in the middle of each table. I want them to be invisible, but I want them to be functioning links that a search engine would follow. That way, if someone rips me off there would be links to my site from his site.

Because I want the links to be invisible even when they are placed on another website, I am guessing I should use something like

<span style=" . . . ">
<a href="mysite">mysite</a>
</span>

but what is the best CSS to put in the style? or is there some better way? or is this not a good idea at all?

9:55 pm on Apr 13, 2005 (gmt 0)

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In your link html, just set the text-decoration to "none" and also set your link color to the same as surrounding text. Do this at the link level, not at the top of the page to be sure it gets copied.

Including a small spacer gif hard-linked back to your site will help you spot thieves.

10:00 pm on Apr 13, 2005 (gmt 0)

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just set the text-decoration to "none" and also set your link color to the same as surrounding text. Do this at the link level, not at the top of the page to be sure it gets copied.

But . . . different parts of the tables have different background colors. And these are controlled in a separate CSS stylesheet. So, if I set the link text color to match, that will make the link invisible on my website. But if the table code is copied and pasted into another website (without the separate stylesheet), the links will suddenly be visible, right?

Is there some way to make the link text transparent?

10:30 pm on Apr 13, 2005 (gmt 0)

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display: none;

This will make the browser not display the item at all even though the item will be available as SE food and still in the source code.

10:53 pm on Apr 13, 2005 (gmt 0)

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Also, check out the visibility property. I was crusing through w3c last night and ran across how you can use it to take a row or column out of the display.