10 Reasons to Avoid Automated Blogging

I’ve recently come across so many misconceived notions (and outright lies) about automated blogging that I thought it best to share my white hat perspective on the subject.

So, what is automated blogging?

Also known as automatic blogging, autoblogging, splogging and scraping; automated blogging is the process of using software to “scrape” content from other blog feeds and repost it automatically to your own blog.

Sellers of automated blogging software and plugins scream the praises of the magic ‘set it and forget it’ phenomena — being able to set up a blog that self-generates content and requires no work, i.e. “If you can copy and paste, you can do this”. They claim that because Google loves regular infusions of content, your automated blog will get ranked high and you will make piles of money.

In other words, automated blogging software is the lazy blogger’s dream tool.

Proponents will argue that autoblogging is valid because:

  1. Grabbing content from an independent blog owner is no different than re-posting an article from EzineArticles or other article directory.
  2. Republishing a blog’s feed is entirely legitimate.
  3. It is a good SEO technique that brings HOARDS of traffic.
  4. “the whole point to syndication is the “fair exploitation” of information for the greater benefit of the reader without claiming ownership in exchange for being an authority and/or recompense oof some kind?!!”
  5. You can build a subscriber list.
  6. It makes money.
  7. The post benefits the original writer by linking back to the original post.
  8. Builds reputation as a ‘curator’.

All of the above statements / assumptions are SO very WRONG!

Here are 10 reasons why you should NEVER engage in autoblogging.

  1. It’s STEALING – Part 1

    Reposting other bloggers’ content without their permission is STEALING. If a blogger has a copyright notice posted on their blog, you may NOT simply copy their content. Read my DMCA notice for example.

    No part of this website may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, mechanical, electronic, or otherwise, including photocopying and recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, or transmitted by e-mail, or used in any other fashion without the express prior written permission of the website owner.

    That means NO One has permission to republish information from my site, feed or otherwise without my permission… and I DO give permission to those who request it… but certainly not to autobloggers.

    BTW, I find it entirely laughable that certain ‘gurus’ post the same copyright and DMCA notices on their autoblogs.

  2. Autoblogging creates duplicate content

    Read Matt Cutt’s post about search engine spam which states “we’re evaluating multiple changes that should help drive spam levels even lower, including one change that primarily affects sites that copy others’ content and sites with low levels of original content”.

  3. It’s STEALING – Part 2

    When you create duplicate content you are STEALING from the original poster.

    Here is a comment I received recently from Cynthia Carpenter, a REAL blogger, on the subject of duplicate content.

    I’ve had my stuff stolen and republished that cost me points with Google and far too much time in rewriting because of it.

    One article has been linked back several times but you couldn’t organically search it for awhile, I assume this is because of the number of times it was re-published (ie stolen) and not credited.

    It was originally made popular by Stumbleupon with over 4K hits and then dutifully stripped naked by thieves.
    Although it seems like I have been somewhat forgiven for the sin’s of others it still doesn’t rank like it should.

    You’d think this would have been a boon but it worked the opposite because the plagiarists claimed credit so I think I just got painted with the same brush and the ones that did credit me didn’t count. (the circle of doom)

    I too have had similar experiences, where the duplicate content has ranked higher than the original post.

    I do NOT blame Google – I blame the thief.

  4. Automated blogging is lousy SEO

    Google’s focus in 2010 / 2011 shifted to “content farms,” which are sites with shallow or low-quality content. In 2010, they launched two major algorithmic changes focused on low-quality sites (splogs, automated blogs) to reduce the likelihood they’d ever rank in the search engines.

  5. It’s STEALING – Part 3

    I BUY stock photography from iStockphoto that is used in my posts. When autoblogging software uses that photo in their post, that webmaster is stealing from iStockPhoto and the original photographer.

    For example, here is a screenshot of my High Comment Count = High Google Ranking post on Affaholic, which steals photos from me everytime I post. (They do NOT have my permission to repost my articles, BTW.)

  6. You Won’t Build a Brand or Reputation

    Ultimately, your goal as an internet marketer is to build a brand name with a good reputation.

    Autoblogging makes that impossible.

    Without adding YOUR own thoughts and comments, you become just another ‘traffic redirector’. You have no authority. No credibility. No one will ever visit your site again unless by some fluke they find your site in the engines… which of course, is NOT likely to happen.

  7. It’s STEALING – Part 4

    Reposting photos that link to the photo also steals BANDWIDTH from the original poster.

    BANDWIDTH is money.

    How do you feel when someone steals YOUR money?

    Remember how Affaholic was stealing my photos?

    Well here’s my antidote. I just replace the photo that they stole with a notice…

  8. Autoblogging will RUIN your Reputation

    A so-called ‘internet guru’ recently try to convince me that his autoblog (which stole content from my site) was in fact a ‘curation’ blog.

    This is a CURATION AUTOBLOG that gets content from other sources which allow content to be shared. That’s the whole purpose of content right, and why you’re also writing and optimizing them.

    He obviously doesn’t understand the term “curation”.

    Imagine a museum piled high in archeological artifacts with no explanation.

    Now enter the curator who categorizes, organizes and adds descriptions and now the presentation makes sense.

    REAL curation involves adding your own thoughts and commentary to the original poster’s article snippet.

    Doing anything less is being a lazy spam blogger.

  9. No traffic – No subscribers – No money

    When you read between the lines of an automated blogging software seller’s salespage, you’ll discover that each blog may make $1 – $2 per month – most likely with Adsense. You’d therefore need 100’s of these blogs to make a real income. If you use good hosting which costs $6.95 a month and an autoresponder service to build subscriber lists for each of these blogs, you’d be spending money.

  10. Waste of Money

    All of the reasons above should convince you that buying and using automated – scraper – autoblogging software is a complete WASTE of money and I’m quite sure that wasting money is NOT your ultimate goal for your internet marketing business.

Want to make money online over the long-term?

Don’t be fooled by scammers’ ‘easy, automated solutions’. There aren’t any. You gotta do it right and ‘doing it right’ means investing time and effort.

If you’re willing to do that, I’m willing to teach you how it’s worked for me over the past 15 years. And I didn’t have to scam a single soul out of a single dollar in the process.
.

Comments

  1. Ivan says

    299,000,000 pages of Topix states that you are sooooo…. wrong. As long as nobody is copying your whole article and is giving back a link from his website, is not called stealing. And by the way, all classifieds, directories and so on…have no original content whatsoever. Why are people so harsh on automated blogging ?

    • says

      Ivan,

      To answer your question – Why are people so harsh on automated blogging ?

      You don’t become known as an expert in your field if all you do is re-hash. You have to be original, if you want to be the go-to person who actually makes a living as a blogger.

      Cheers,
      Ros

  2. marilyn cada says

    hi rosalind. about purchasing photos, you may get free images to few sites without copyright infringing issues. you may check unprofound.com, openphoto.net, freedigitailphotos.net and morguefile.com. bloggers like us can save a few bucks 😉

    just a tip.

  3. says

    You’re right Ros! I myself got really annoyed against someone who steal my intellectual piece. Why do others really wanted the work to be easy while you spent so much time to make your own content original and perfect.

  4. says

    Automated blogging is not good in the eyes of search engine and peopl tend to hesitate to use such blogs. There are a lot of reasons because of which you should avoid and the most important of all the content duplication which should be avioded as after the Panda update Google has sacked all the Content farms. Good post and this will influence people to be Geniune bloggers like u.

  5. says

    Great info, as I love reading blogs and now a days i see so much duplicates from some blogs that is maybe hoping for a visit on their site. I did that sometime.. :)) because I have 2 blogs and I have not posted on the other one for sometime though

  6. says

    Very true! Auto blogs are crap. I remember reading an article about it about a year ago saying it will make you money. I will admit I was attracted to the auto blog at first then I started reading about it and found that it is not really blogging it is like you say stealing, though I did not think of it that way at first. Thought of it more of a lie and crap!!!

    Thanks for this great post. I have noticed some trackbacks from lots of blogs. When I check out the TB the site is full of this crap. It is no good and I do not like it one bit.

    I make money with my content from my many blogs. I work hard for my content and I do not want someone doing the same from “MY” content.

  7. says

    Hi Rosalind

    I enjoy reading your blogs and have followed this topic with particular interest. I am new to the world of blogging. I have a website with a series of articles offering tools and resources for those looking to start & grow their small business.

    I want to make sure what I am doing is not unethical here and hopefully it is different to what you describe in respect of autoblogging. On my Facebook page (www.facebook.com/smallbusinesswizardry) I generally make one post per day, sometimes my own articles and sometimes links to other articles that I find of interest.

    I never claim to be the owner of the content and am merely posting the link to the article with a brief comment of my own for the benefit of the community I have developed on my Facebook Page. Of course my own website is purely my own content but I thought I would ask and make sure that what I am doing is ethical. In my eyes linking to other interesting articles if anything potentially drives additional traffic & adds a backlink (hopefully relevant!!) to their blog.

    Put another way if someone else was linking to my articles on their Facebook Page I would be more than happy!

    I just wanted to check whether what I was doing was OK and specifically with your own blogs whether it is OK to link to them on my Facebook Page

    Kind regards

    Dane Pymble
    Founder – Small Business Wizardry

  8. Gunter says

    Hi Ros,

    Isobel already mentioned it above and I can only agree. It’s a great idea to replace the stolen photo like you did (7. It’s STEALING – Part 4). Are you willing to share HOW you did that? I’m sure not everybody knows how to do it. This could even be a complete new blog post or video ;-). I already have an idea for a blog post title: “Learn how to show the content thieves the middle finger right on their website”.

    Also thanks for sharing the link to the Private RSS PlugIn. Never thought about that one. Might be a good idea for some websites.

  9. says

    Rosalind,

    While I am very interested in affiliate marketing, blogging just doesn’t seem to be my thing. I don’t mind making a brand out of my website, but I prefer to keep my personal name inconspicuous. No, I do not have a criminal record, if I had a rap sheet, it would probably be cleaner than yours. I just prefer to stay in the background. As far as affiliate marketing goes, why can’t you just build a website, put a link on it for your favorite advertiser, and get a bunch of back links pointing to your site so the search engines can find it?

    Jim

  10. says

    Excellent idea Stephanie!

    I think people steal from blogs because they have been using “syndicated” content from article directories for so long. NOT the same! Many times I find my work from Article Directories posted on other sites with no reference box. It’s a shame. People who can’t write should hire people who can – not steal from professionals. Where will it all end!

  11. says

    I read your article about Leeches today (unfortunately (or maybe not 8=) comments are closed there). It really seems to have struck a nerve.

    But those who want to autoblog need to be aware of something. It’s called “Terms of Use” and most of the sources that you use will have them.

    Many do not allow you to use the RSS feed for commercial purposes. This includes EZine Articles, Google News and even IM News Watch. In otherwords, if the content is being used to pull traffic to ads or affiliate programs you can’t do it. Period.

    Others have a copyright notice that only allows you to use the content for your personal use — i.e. you can read, watch or listen. To share (which is encouraged) use social media or write an article that links to it. Don’t copy!

    Some feeds allow you to use the content in any way that you wish. But don’t assume that because it is there that you’re allowed to use it in this way.

    • says

      Hi Bill,

      Thanks very kindly for your contribution to the topic of thieves and leeches. :-)

      I especially appreciate that you mentioned that folks can’t use IM News Watch (the feed that was being used to repost my content on that other blog), Google News or EZine articles.

      GOOD point, thank you!

      Cheers,
      Ros

  12. says

    Excellent, Ros.

    I have extensive monitoring for key phrases built into my content that I set Google Alerts for. I also have warnings and advisories, etc on my main site at http://profitclinic.com/licensing/ which sets out the consequences of stealing my content and how to avoid them (essentially, don’t steal my content in the first place, because you WILL be detected and you WILL be sued).

    We usually send a notification and take-down order to offenders with a 72-hour deadline. Failure to comply means unleashing two terrifying individuals, nicknamed Ferret (forensic auditor) and Mad Dog (IP attorney), both with unblemished track records of success in pursuing offenders and inflicting horrendous consequences.

    I have very few problems, although they do occur from time to time. Here’s an example:

    My original site: http://gurusecrets.info

    Content thief’s site: http://stimulusguru.homestead.com/socialmedia_smallbusiness.html

    John

    • says

      Perhaps the most vexing case of theft of my content has been a leading US University’s business faculty, which reprinted pages and pages of my original, copyrighted content over the past 12-13 years and ignores our take-down demands without acknowledgement.

      Appalling behaviour for academics, and blatant plagiarism.

      This is about to finally be escalated to legal action after exhausting every possible amicable approach. As a former academic, I’m loathe to see university funds squandered on legal fees, court costs and fines and damages, but if the faculty involved can’t or won’t bring these individuals to heel, that’s their choice.

      John

    • says

      Hey John,

      Good to hear from you again! Can’t believe the audacity of that site to steal your header graphic. WTF? Then again, who knew homestead was still in biz? I doubt that site ever gets found.

      Cheers,
      Ros

      P.S. Thanks for sharing your warnings page. Very valuable. :-)

  13. says

    Excellent, Ros.

    I have extensive monitoring for key phrases built into my content that I set Google Alerts for. I also have warnings and advisories, etc on my main site at http://profitclinic.com/licensing/ which sets out the consequences of stealing my content and how to avoid them (essentially, don’t steal my content in the first place, because you WILL be detected and you WILL be sued).

    We usually send a notification and take-down order to offenders with a 72-hour deadline. Failure to comply means unleashing two terrifying individuals, nicknamed Ferret (forensic auditor) and Mad Dog (IP attorney), both with unblemished track records of success in pursuing offenders and inflicting horrendous consequences.

    I have very few problems. although they do occur from time to time. Here’s an example:

    My original site: http://gurusecrets.info

    Content thief’s site: http://stimulusguru.homestead.com/socialmedia_smallbusiness.html

    John

  14. Rajesh says

    Great article that addresses some of my long time questions on autoblogs.

    Regarding point 3, don’t you think Google must have techniques to detect original content from copied content and don’t let it rank higher than the original one. I will blame both Google and the thief if I am suffering as there is a problem with Google Search Engine Algorithm if they let the copied content rank higher than the original one.

    Any idea about WP Robot? Can this software or any other article writing software really produce natural human written articles/content which can rank in the search engines without getting caught? I am confused as there are testimonials that are in favor of it and other similar article writing/spinning software? Should one invest in article writing and article spinning software to save time (Don’t use the content produced by these SW as it is but edit it to make it look more genuine).

    Thanks for your great advice.

    • says

      Hi Rajesh,

      I wouldn’t blame Google. They’re good, not God. That’s why they rework their algo’s constantly.

      As to article spinners, you always need to rewrite what is written. Some of it looks so wonky and stupid that you might as well save time and money by writing it yourself, or getting a ghostwriter.

      Cheers,
      Ros

  15. joe blow says

    I love my autoblogger; AutoBlogSamurai by Paul Ponna

    It generates tons of ezine articles on ANY KEYWORD I WANT instantly plus click bank ads….

    then I just edit the articles, ad some relevant pics; ‘pics 4 clics’

    we live in a world of plagiarism and there is not a lot you can do about it…

    jb

  16. says

    This is another great post. I never thought about getting into auto blogging because I had already read so many warnings about it. It seems much better to have a few well done money making websites than to have to spend hundreds of dollars on domain names and hosting. I love the image you replaced that is really funny! Imagine the thieves looking at their website and seeing that!

  17. Lois says

    Hey Ros,

    Nice post!

    Let’s face it: Humans are by definition “lazy” and some people just show it more than others. Auto-blogging means easy content and easy money. Who cares about reputation?

    I’ve had articles from every single one of my web sites copied and reproduced (and my name stripped off from them) without my knowledge and/or permission over the past 8 years. It makes my blood boil when I think about it… The people stealing content do not care that you spent at least 3 hours crafting each article. They just want the content on their own blog, because it is valuable to them.

    Yes, my sites have been hit too due to duplicate content and yes, I have lost rankings. It is a losing battle, which is why I’m leaning more and more towards locking my content away and having people pay to get to it.

    I’ve already turned to writing books instead of freely publishing my content online in digital form. I’ve even gone as far as NOT release PDF versions of my books, because I’m 100% sure that they would be uploaded to one of those download sites.

    It’s a shame, really, that the Internet has gone down this route, but that is the price we pay for being part of the “Online Wild Wild West”.

  18. says

    Ros,
    This post came at the right time. Recently I’ve been receiving a lot of emails about a new program to create websites with auto blogging. I won’t mention the name, there are many posts on the warrior forum

  19. says

    “If you can copy and paste, you can do this”… a very familiar catchphrase without calling names… well done Ros 😈

    So called benefit 7. “The post benefits the original writer by linking back to the original post.”
    Why would anybody want crappy scrappyblogs pointing to their original site just showing a copy? That’s like getting approvals from every Tom, Dick and Harry, and every spamfilter just blacklists ‘dick’, so no benefit.

    Google does it outmost best to get rid of duplicated content, so if superguru has a program that fools Google for now, supergoogle wont take too long to kick the autoblog out. It’s a money making strategy that banks on hoping that Google won’t catch you.

    Like you say Ros, we prefer the “good original content forever” strategy :)

    FYI: the superguru of course will upsell hosting for all those 100 autoblogs the 1 buyer needs, and nothing makes more money than recurring income.

  20. says

    Hi Ros,

    Thanks so much for writing about this and for taking a stand! It’s refreshing to have one of the leaders in our industry speak the truth.

    With the popularity of blog curation and the sale of the “Huffington Post” for over $300 million it didn’t take long for some to bastardize and twist that term to trick folks into thinking auto blogging is the same thing.

    I’m also glad to read that you won’t shut down your RSS feed. Better to deal with these thieves by exposing them and sending them DMCA violation notices vs depriving legitimate subscribers who enjoy consuming content via RSS feed readers.

    That argument that it’s the RSS feed to blame is lame. Just because someone leaves their front door unlocked it doesn’t mean thieves can come in and steal your stuff.

  21. LAWRENCE says

    Curfews, nice idea but` over here we probably couldn’t impose them as they would more than likely be seen to impinge on their “human rights” as laid down by bureaucrats in Europe. LG. (Spelt my name correctly this time!)

  22. Niall says

    DO NOT apologize to anyone for your opinion Ros and I LOVE the image you replaced to give the guys at AffAholic a taste of their own medicine.

    It’s great to see somebody of your status call shennanigans when she sees them – if it looks like a thief, speaks like a thief and steals like a thief…well…it’s probably a thief. Autoblogging, content scraping, directory scraping – it’s all the same.

    There’s far too many “gurus” out there who are nothing more than con men and con women. It’s actually ruining the IM landscape for decent business people like you, me and hundreds of others who produce original content every day so I think you’re 100% right in calling it like it is.

    I tried explaining this years ago when Traffic Equalizer was huge – the fact that polluting the search engines for short term gain is doing nobody any good. It just means Google have to to tighten the reins even more so the “gurus” have to come up with another “system” etc etc etc

    I like the new outspoken Ros – keep it up :-)

    PS What I find most ironic are the Christian types who give you a “do not steal” speech in Church but then go and steal content online or do other equally shady stuff online. Because you’re being dishonest online doesn’t make it OK.

  23. LWRENCE says

    “If it’s not yours, don’t touch it without permission.”

    Mmm. Seems like a lot of people here in London have never been taught that valuable principle. Low life scum bags. LG.

  24. says

    Hey Roz,

    Right on with this article, agreed. When I was brand new, I looked at this auto-blogging nonsense and realized that it didn’t really pass the smell test…..if it seems to good to be true, etc. While we can never never stop the in and out thieves, scammers and downright lazy asses, good content will always win followers in the end. Let the others chase their tails with dreams of million dollar paydays with their auto-blogging foolishness.

    Best to you,
    Neal

  25. says

    Hi Ros,

    sobering stuff if you have ever had your content stolen. I don’t think that I have seen the argument put so well. Of cousre we all appreciate it when other refer to our posting but not downright theft there is more than enought material available to produce your own content.
    Keep it coming

    Rob

  26. says

    Oh, Oh, And I just bought an autoblogging program.
    Is there no way to divert the autoblog to myself instead directly to the blog, so I could check it out, or as Roundy says, “create value through careful content selection”

  27. says

    One thing i would add, this is always going to happen, especially if your posting great content – wespecially content that ranks on first page of Google for terms that are being searched for highly.

    I greatly despise of it as much as i despise of PLR – but thats a whole different comment

    One thing thats very Important From a SEO perspective

    Your Videos as long as your implementing appropriate VSEO

    Get scraped on sites that are only scarping videos – simply because videos when positioned right and the right YouTube Video Keyword Research will rank on the first page of Google

    You should be living in Your Google Webmaster Tool, not just to look at your Google Results CTR but your back links to your site

    I’m getting many back links to my pages causing 404’s because the scraper copy exactly what they see on the page of Your YouTube Video and obviously for long tail SEO – URLS maybe very long and cause the 404 errors

    So i would advise to check your Google Webmaster Tools daily – depending on the content your posting and implement a redirect for the URL that has been back linked from a scraper site.

    Also make sure you submit your posts to social bookmarking sites immediately and manually after you have published them as i have seen many not implement this and scraper sites rank higher for there content simply because Google has deemed the scraper site to of been the original poster – funny but for those in that position – not so funny – learn from mistakes and intentionally implement things on the internet whereby you cover this problem

    P.S

    UNIQUE CONTENT (With your keywords here and there) RULES – IT MAKES GOOGLE ROBOTS MELT AND WANT TO SLEEP ON YOUR PAGE LOL

  28. John Potts says

    A link to source attached to a teaser is a useful (essential, even) service to all players. Always worth politely checking with source, though, as some people do get irrational about fair use’s free publicity – even a couple of sentences can dislocate their reason.

    • says

      John, check out the definition of fair use and you’ll see that it requires that the copied text make up a small portion of the article that copies it. A teaser taken from the article and a link to the article doesn’t qualify as fair use.

      If you write an article about the topic, then copying a teaser and including a link is fair use. Just a collection of teasers and links is not. You need specific permission from each source to do that.

  29. says

    The excuses people make for stealing content from others’ websites always amaze me. That it’s wrong should be obvious, yet many claim to not have realized that. There’s plenty of content to be had legitimately from article sites; if they want to curate content, they can take them from there and have no fears of losing their hosting or AdSense account due to DMCA complaints. If they want to link to specific blog posts, take a relevant quote, link, and discuss the article. They’d have a chance of building a decent reputation that way if they’d bother.

    • says

      There is an entire generation (and a significant portion of the previous one) which doesn’t see anything wrong with copying stuff just because it is so simple to do. They don’t think it’s stealing because they haven’t taken the original.

      I’ve heard the reasoning that they wouldn’t have paid to buy it anyway, so the owner isn’t missing out by them copying it.

      But scraping is a level beyond just illegal copying. It is using the illegal copy for gain. As you point out, there is lots of stuff that can be used legitimately, so why don’t they stick with that?

  30. says

    Once you get on one of these “autoblogging” sites, it seems you get pounded by the scrapers.

    I just had to actually have the company I deal with for my internet servers put a permanent firewall block on one company that has been hammering away at several of my sites.

    Sure, the 1000% increase in traffic would be nice if it meant something!

    I don’t mind having people syndicate my content via RSS if it’s legit and credit is given, but there are just so many people out there doing this now to make some passive income from Adsense it’s terrible!

  31. says

    This is an enlightened for me. I’ve received so many offers in my email about this kind of software. I must admit that it does really catch my attention & gives me the urge to buy one. Who wouldn’t? It’s easier than writing your blog almost everyday & assuring you income. I’m just human to feel this way. But after reading your article, I can say i made the right decision of not getting one. I wouldn’t like my writing, my work to be stolen just like that. Thanks a lot!

  32. says

    Another great post, Ros. I agree with you when it comes to copyright theft. I don’t like it and it makes me angry. I used to be a magazine photographer way back in the 80s and I have found my work on tons of websites. Heck, one guy even used my photograph on the case cover of a DVD he was selling.

    These days, I find photos being hot-linked from my sites and my articles appearing verbatim on other sites (without the proper credit of course). I’m a peace and love kind of guy, but enough is enough and I’m getting cranky in my old age.

    My friends think I’m kind of uptight because I don’t copy movies or music CDs and pass them around. I don’t like people stealing my work, so I don’t steal the work of other people. How hard is that to understand? One of the greatest rules to live by is, “If it’s not yours, don’t touch it without permission.”

    OK, I’ve had my mini-rant now. I hope all is well in your world.

    As always, Ros, thanks for doing all that you do.

    All the best,

    Tim

    • says

      Tim,

      I love your idea of a ‘rant’ even if mini. Stick with me, I’ll show you how to really put on a good one. LOL

      I’m SO with you about “If it’s not yours, don’t touch it without permission” or as my daddy repeatedly stressed, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you”. Pretty basic good rule to live by.

      Cheers,
      Ros

      P.S. I hope you took the guy who stole your pic for the DVD cover down big time.

  33. says

    Hi Ros,

    People have sent a backlink to my site with the link of my article on their site. Is this still scraping and do I get them to remove it?

    Thanks, Ken

  34. says

    Wow, I had no idea automatic blogging existed. Thanks for the advice, I’ve just added the disclaimer on my blog. With all my photos and original ideas I would hate someone to steal my work.

    Thanks Again!

  35. Matthew says

    Your contents will never get old & outdated. It is always applicable and useful for many ages to come.

    With regards to your story above, I wonder if using a software to check whether people are stealing your contents is good to invest. Does it really work?

  36. says

    Rosalind,

    I’m with you on this! Full automation is great for manufacturing physical products that you want to be identical. But it’s a terrible way to generate anything (like blog content) where the value is based on original thought or expression.

    Of course, we call use tools to automate the “grunt work” parts of our brain work jobs (eg. we use WordPress to create pages for our blog posts, set up links between our pages, add our new posts to our RSS feeds, etc., and we use feed readers to automatically fetch the feeds that we read — perhaps for inspiration to help us come up with ideas to write about). Where people cross the line is when they hook their grunt work content consuming tools up to their grunt work publishing tools without any human intelligence (content selection, commenting…) in between.

    I do think that it’s possible for a curator to create value through careful content selection without necessarily adding their own commentary. Consider the success of sites like Slashdot, for example. However, you’ve got to be a really good curator to create a lot of value and build a following that way. There’s no way you could do that with full hands-off autoblogging tool.

    I used the “website” field above (ie. click my name) to link to an article I wrote a while back on this subject, talking about the continuum of content generation methods stretching from scraping and autoblogging on one end, through curation and “Blog Riffing”, to creating 100% original content on the other end. Hopefully that’ll help people get a clearer perspective on the issue.

  37. says

    Great post, Ros :) Re your point 1, my understanding is that you own the copyright to your original work even if you don’t have a notice such as yours posted on the site. Simply publishing the work creates the copyright.

    I love the way you replaced the stolen image :) I once saw someone do that with a picture of a steaming turd! LOL

  38. says

    As soon as you issue an RSS feed you’re just asking for trouble Ros. You can huff and puff all you like but an RSS feed is an open invitation to be ripped off.

    Yes, I know that’s not how they’re supposed to be used and I know you’ve never copied any CDs onto your ipod, or ripped a DVD to watch on your ipad…

    Everyone does it, so rather than ringing your hands just cut off the easiest ways to be plagiarised, namely the RSS feed. If everyone with a decent blog did that scraping and splogging would starve (and I don’t think traffic would drop either – visitors would just ‘visit’ instead of scanning through their RSS reader).

    • says

      Hey Chris,

      I know you’ve never copied any CDs onto your ipod, or ripped a DVD to watch on your ipad…

      Actually, you’d be right – so nope… NOT ‘everyone does it’.

      Maybe I should bend my arrow a bit, but as an author and publisher, I’m uber-sensitive to copyright. If I speak against copyright theft, it means I don’t engage in it either.

      Nor will I put a 20-foot high solid steel wall around my house to protect myself from thieves, which would also keep my friends out.

      If my friends want to read my work in a reader – they can do that. If the foes want to rip me off, I’ll expose ’em.

      Cheers,
      Ros

    • Lynn says

      On my sites, which are all self-hosted WordPress sites, I have the Reading settings under “For each article in a feed, show… ” set to “Summary” instead of “Full Text”

      I do not offer a RSS subscription, but it doesn’t stop my feed from being accessed anyway. Pretty much if you are on any website, the browser bar at the top offers the orange square “Subscribe to this page”.

    • says

      Hi Lynn,

      I think that’s the best way to set up your RSS feeds unless you are selling subscriptions on Amazon — then you must show full text.

      And you are exactly right — anyone can access an RSS feed unless it’s behind a membership site.

      Cheers,
      Ros

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