Changing a Link Target in 3rd Party Content

link targetWe are often asked whether it is possible to change the link target for links in feeds. This article explains why we do not allow link targets to be changed using our interface.

When a feed is published by a 3rd party (for example Reuters, BBC News or even a Facebook feed), there will be in nearly every case, a “Terms and Conditions of Use associated with that feed. For example a Facebook feed will contain images owned by either Facebook or by the user who published that page.

Copyright law applies to a link target

While you can disable these links, you cannot (legally, for copyright and “terms of use”  reasons) change the link target to another site. i.e. your image links cannot be redirected to a different website. This will be in direct contravention of the terms of use of the RSS feed publisher in 90% of cases.

In all cases, directing the photo to another link is also in contravention of copyright as under those laws, you are not permitted to change content for your own gain unless you have explicit permission from the owner. Neither can you change an outgoing  link from an image as it would be deemed usage of that image for gain, which copyright law does not accommodate unless agreement with the owner is obtained, or royalty paid for usage. Owner consent is usually still mandatory regardless. It does depend on which part of the world you are in as to what copyright laws apply. At FeedWind we generally err on the side of copyright law in the US and Europe.

Why we don’t offer a link editing feature

If we enabled a feature whereby users could change the link target, then although we would not be committing a crime, it is a feature that would enable others to do so. We have to respect the rights of content owners to reproduce their content without tampering or altering the content, or making it convenient for their content to be used for gain without appropriate permission. Quite likely, if we were to be seen to be doing so, we would not be popular with RSS feed publishers and content owners.

Disabling links is acceptable

It is possible however to disable links as this is an acceptable form of modification. Many webmasters may like to display 3rd party content but may not want their users to click-thru and leave their site. This can be achieved by using a custom CSS which includes “pointer-events:none” for feed item titles and links in the description.


References

https://www.worldlaw.eu/article/3331/rss-feeds-copyright-law.html

https://www.out-law.com/page-7843

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fair_use

https://www.rightsdirect.com/international-copyright-basics/


Increase widget load speed

Your widget loading (and page loading speed) can be negatively affected by a number of factors, but there are also ways to increase widget load speed. We aim to provide the fastest RSS widget available, but there are limiting circumstances which are out of our control. We do apply caching of your widget and refresh your widget cache every 15 minutes.

Some of the parameters used in the FeedWind setup screen can affect widget/page-loading performance and are detailed below.


Number of feed items

The more feed items you specify in your widget setup, the longer it will take to load the widget as our server has to make more calls to the source feed server in order to obtain your content.

The default setting is 15 feed items but you can increase this up to 99; please note however, that there is a proportional increase in load time for widget content as the number of items increases.


Text/Thumb/HTML Styles

The fastest load performance is achieved using the Text-only widget style. The Thumbnail option is next-fastest, with the HTML style loading slowest. Obviously the more media within the content, the slower a widget will load too.


Number of Characters in the Titles & Content

The greater number of characters allowed in the content, the slower your widget performance will be as more data must be transferred. However, this is a minor influence on the widget load speed.


Feed URLs

The more feed URLs you aggregate the slower your widget will load. To increase widget load speed, please limit the number of URLs you use in a widget.  Our system limits the number of feed URLs to 15 at present.

When choosing feeds from third parties, it is important to choose those from sources whose servers can offer the same approximate response times. If you have a single feed in your multiple feeds list whose server is slow to respond, your widget will also be slow to refresh.


Custom CSS

Loading a custom CSS requires an external server call to wherever the CSS file is stored. This means that he widget cannot load until the server hosting the CSS responds and delivers the requested CSS data. This means that storing the CSS on the same server (preferably within the same directory structure of your site files). Caching the CSS file is also recommended.


Page Caching (plugins & extensions)

These can vastly improve widget loading times as HTML, CSS and .js all of which are used with the FeedWind RSS widget. You must be careful not to set the cache refresh to more than 15 minutes however, otherwise users may not get the widget content refreshed during the FeedWind 15 minute refresh cycle.


 

Using Dropbox to host CSS files

How to host css stylesheets on Dropbox

It’s easy to host CSS stylesheets on Dropbox where you can store a CSS file for a custom Feedwind widget without having to store a CSS file on your own server. This is particularly useful where you are using an online platform such as Wix or Weebly to build your site. Platforms like these do not have the facility for storing CSS files, so Dropbox is a great solution.

First you need to create your custom CSS file. Depending on what sort of widget you a building (RSS widget, Facebook page widget or Google Calendar widget). You can use any code editor or plain text editor to create your CSS as explained in the relevant support documents for CSS.

Once you have created your stylesheet and saved it as a .css file, you can then upload it to Dropbox for later use.

Get the URL for your .css file

On an Apple Mac

On an Apple Mac, Open your dropbox, and locate your .css file. Right-click on the file and select “Copy Public Link.” This will copy the publicly available URL for your .css file to your clipboard.

host css with dropbox

In a windows-based browser

In a windows browser, Dropbox display things a little differently from the Apple Mac version or the Dropbox app. Below are example screenshots for the Windows browser:

dropbox can host css files

Grab the custom .css file link for use in Feedwind by clicking on the “Share” button alongside your .css file in the Dropbox file list. The following modal will appear:

use dropbox for css

The URL will look something like this:

https://www.dropbox.com/s/j0vdhe8owoolgh5/custom98.css?dl=0

To use this URL in FeedWind you will need to make a small adjustment to the URL by changing the www. In the URL to dl.

e.g. www.dropbox.com/../ becomes https://dl.dropbox.com/../

When you have your new URL e.g.

https://dl.dropbox.com/s/j0vdhe8owoolgh5/custom98.css?dl=0

You can then use this .css URL in your RSS, Google Calendar or Facebook page widget setup screens