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You can search for this phrase on Google/Bing 'Hypertext or other links to this website are prohibited without the consent of …' and you'll see a very long list of companies that state the same about hyperlinks in their terms of use.

What is the reasoning/purpose behind this method, why do companies state this on their websites, and can they enforce it?

It's one question really - why is this done?

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    One word. Laywers. Gotta give them something to do or they will run a muck and go berserk writing all sorts of HR rules and regulations about potty times and etiquette and all manner of stuff that no one gives a royal rats patootie about - what am I going too far? Yeah. It is legaleze that allows legal action for perceived abuses to the site. Seems ridiculous unless you are a lawyer. – closetnoc Jun 23 '16 at 21:55
  • "a very long list of companies" - one of those is even a (small) web design agency (obviously I can't link to them because their T&Cs say so!) - a mistake surely?! – DocRoot Jun 23 '16 at 22:18
  • Have you asked any of them? Sure, anyone that knows the answer will give you much to read and correspondingly it is unlikely you will get a good, short answer here either. If there is anything valid then they will hide it among pages of scary threats. The burden of legal fees is likely enough to scare off most people even if they could win in the end. They might not be able to afford winning. Anyone that wants to take them on should have deep pockets. – user34660 Jul 2 '16 at 8:42
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This is done by websites who really don't have idea how the web works and why are them online.

That practice has no sense at all. It can't be enforced technically and I highly doubt it would be valid legally.

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It allows them to issue cease-and-desist (or similar) letters to site owners/content-creators who link to their sites in a defamatory way.

I doubt Google/etc. have approached them all and gained consent to link to their pages, however the lack of no-index meta tags or robots would probably indicate implied consent for the search engines to do so as these are the standard technical ways to discourage linking.

There's no technical way to stop someone linking to a page, but you can do things to then handle the user differently depending on whether they came from a page on your site (via session cookies for example, or checking the referer) as opposed to an external source - think of pay-walls on newspaper sites.

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