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My developer tells me that my widget will be created in an I frame, and that the text link back to my site will be "outside" the I frame when placed on a site.
I asked my developer -- what if the other site just removes my backlink? Answer -- this could be partially controlled by writing some Java script so that the widget is disabled if the link is removed.
Question: Is this the only way to "protect" my link back? Even the java script could be disabled. If I create a widget to give me link backs, is there any way to ensure my link stays in place on the widget when it's put on another site?
Some people may modify the code, remove a link, etc.
If you design your widget in a way where the link isn't obtrusive and the widget is useful I bet the majority won't remove the link.
If your widget is highly successful you can have tens or hundreds of thousands of people that grab it. If 5% of those users removed the link would it really matter? Probably not.
It is helpful to know that I'm not missing some obvious workaround.
I think the developer's workaround is perfectly valid. Presumably the widget does something that needs processing power on your site.
So the first thing it does is check if there is referrer data. If there isn't, fair enough, but most people using the the widget (and certainly enough to make it worse than useless to the person installing the widget) will have referrer data. That means your script can verify that your link is on the widget users' page and display less than helpful output when it isn't. (Like widget code is not installed - tell the web owner to stick to the spirit of the deal).
A stronger method would be to give each person taking the widget code a unique URL for the iframe bit (with some kind of checksum) and use the iframe URL to identify the widget's original web page and check its validity. To do this, every person using the widget on theor site would need to say the web page they are installing the widget on, before using it - which will reduce the number of people that could be bothered to use the widget. So I'd just go with the developers' idea.
P.S. An iframe is also not the only way to add a widget.